She was “just” a women
Ok…The events over the past week have overwhelmed me and triggered me. I have taken part in quite a few online zoom events for international women’s day and was feeling empowered and fired up. I felt like change was coming.
The events since Sarah Everard’s body was found….everything seemed to escalate quickly. I’m glad. I think we needed it to be like this.
I watched the events play out on Saturday night at Clapham common whilst l on my phone sitting in a zoom meeting with some of the most influential women in terms of fighting against violence against women and girls in the UK.
I am from Clapham. I was born in the old Women’s hospital (that is now a Tesco’s I think) that faces Clapham Common. I have had some of the best times on that common. And some of the worst.
It has been triggering in many ways but there is one reason why I have not been able to write. Why my voice has been light the past few days. But if I don’t get it off my chest here…now…then I feel like I will never write a blog again. Because I have always used this platform in my truest voice. And I have to know. And I don’t know how it will be received.
I feel physically heavy. A weight that I don’t often feel is on me. I feel like I need to scream.
“She was just walking home” has headlined everywhere. Quite rightly people are outraged because that is what Sarah was doing, just walking home.
I know many women and girls that have been assaulted on Clapham common and in many different ways. From around 10 until …well…now… I have been aware of many different assaults, usually sexual, taking place on or around the common. If I am aware of it, then I would imagine that many people are.
I have also been subjected to 2 attacks on the common by males. And both attacks…. I was not walking home. One took place when I was drinking with people on the common and the other whilst with a group of people.
One was reported to professionals and one was not. Nothing happened in either case. No charges were brought, and no support was offered to me.
The only difference in the two was with the one that was reported to professionals I was asked questions. And the main question was “Why did you choose to go on the common at night”. When I explained that I had met up with some people and we had gone there in the day to drink and then this had continued until the evening and then the attack had taken place, the policeman and women who were interviewing me looked at each other and then the women rolled her eyes…. Like…right in front of me. They may have well said “well what do you expect, being drunk on the common at night, you fool”.
So, the line “She was just walking home” made me feel like I was to blame. Again. But like I say, that might be a “me” issue.
I was 14.
She was just walking home.
She was just going to the shop.
She was just getting a cab.
She was just coming home from a rave.
She was just getting drunk on the common
She was just walking home from school.
She was just walking at midnight in her underwear to a party.
She was just a woman.
She was just a woman.
By saying she was just walking home, for me, makes me want to put my head down a little bit. Because MY assault…I was not walking home. I was drinking…and laughing….and playing music. I was dressed in jean hot pants and a shirt tied around my bust. I was throwing my head back and laughing.
But ultimately, I was just a girl and that’s why I was attacked.
Sarah died because she was a woman. Nothing to with lighting, or the way she chooses to walk home.
She died because she was a woman.
Mandu Reid has said, like many others, that Male violence us a greater threat than terrorism. That we need to “Treat the danger that women face every day as urgently, seriously and systematically”. It pains me that we have to make these statements in 2021.
Women should be able to just walk home and not get murdered by men.
Women should also be able to walk to a party at midnight in her underwear and not get murdered.
She was just a woman. And that’s why she died
And that’s why tomorrow another women may die
Because we are “just” women.
And the country wonders why this shit is about to get radical.