Why I’m Another Angry Woman
To be a woman is to be angry. This isn’t a recent phenomenon either; women being angry stretches back as far through history as you’d care to look. Recently I’ve identified a dangerous emotion swirling amongst my feminine anger: hopelessness.
I’m angry at the way so many women still get treated, and at those who show this disrespect. The creeping hopelessness is fear that this situation is never going to change. Oh, it may get better, for some, perhaps even the majority. But will it ever completely stop? What’s your honest gut reaction to that question?
There you have it. Why I, as a woman, feel caught between anger and hopelessness most days.
Whilst many of the actions and attitudes I’m angry about may not happen to or be directed at me personally, I can and do still feel angry and hopeless because of the many women they do affect.
Allegations & Assaults
If you’ve heard any news recently, you won’t have been able to escape the tsunami of sexism, harassment and assault happenings and allegations.
- The Presidents Club debacle.
- Larry Nassar.
- Harvey Weinstein.
- All the other Hollywood types accused of harassment/assaults (Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Affleck, Steven Seagal and many more)
- Russell Simmons & Antonio ‘LA’ Reid, from the music industry
- #45. I’ve written about Trump in a separate article, so I’ll spare you that torrent here. The ironically-titled ‘leader of the free world’ – stifles combination of incredulous laughter and bitter, racking sobs – has been outed on numerous occasions as being an abuser, a gaslighter, a misogynist, a person with flagrant and unapologetic disregard for women, their bodies and their rights.
- Reid Mihalko from the sex industry… No, not even an industry which should be dedicated to both raising awareness of the importance of active consent, and abiding by those principles, is exempt from these types. Read Kelly Shibari’s statement here.
And he’s far from the only one in this industry. I’ve personally had negative experiences while working in the sex industry, ranging from hands-on harassment in the office and at work events from colleagues, to porn stars thinking they can slap my arse and proposition me inappropriately, to reps of trusted, high-end brands tossing out insults such as that I’m ‘frigid’ because I refuse to send nudes.
To be frank, it’s all so incredibly depressing. Yes, it’s good that when these things happen, some are being reported and tackled – for far too long there has been a culture of silence to protect (especially, but not limited to, high-profile) men who harass and assault women.
However, it remains depressing that:
a) these things are still happening at all, and
b) the ones we do hear about are merely the tip of the actual iceberg.
Inappropriate and downright illegal behaviour from men to women is nothing new. And, although there is definitely inappropriate behaviour, assaults and violence from women to men (I’m certainly not excusing any non-consensual/illegal behaviour from women), the overwhelming majority of harassment and rape is from a man to a woman.
In the USA: 1 in 71 men will be raped in their lifetime, however as many as 1 in 5 women will be. 1 in 45 men has been forced to penetrate an intimate partner in their lifetime, whereas 1 in 10 women has been raped by a partner. A massive 91% of rapes of women were by men, whereas only 9% of rapes were to a male.
In the UK: 93% of Rape Crisis Centre users during 2016-2017 were women. Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales alone every year; that’s roughly 11 rapes (of adults alone) every hour. 1 in 5 women aged 16 – 59 has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16.
I repeat: I am not minimising the impact of rapes on and violence towards men. I am highlighting the fact (backed by statistics) that in the majority of cases, the ‘victim’ (I hate that word) was a woman.
And I am a woman, and I am angry. When I hear even more reports through the news and social media that other women have been disrespected, their boundaries ignored, about the harassment and assaults and rapes, it makes me want to simultaneously punch the wall until my hands are bloodied stumps, and hide away from the world, weeping for weeks.
And I have questions.
- Why is it still happening? Why do men even want to attack women -and why do they then act on those impulses?
- Why aren’t the repercussions severe enough?
- Why are so many women still disbelieved when they do eventually find the courage to speak out against their attackers?
- Why do elements of the media still seem biased?
- Why do so many people out there have such an inappropriate reaction to cases of harassment and assaults? Not just chortling, back-slapping men, but (extremely shockingly) rapist-sympathiser women, too?
- Why the fuck is Trump still president?
Then I think about those questions, and the intense hopelessness threatens to quench my rage completely.
And then I read the comments.
On social media especially, plenty of men’s default position when it comes to a fellow man accused of harassment and/or assault is one of aggressive defence. It seems that for every woman complaining, speaking up, there’s ten men defending rapists and abusers.
Or they’re justifying the actions.
The women were asking for it, look how they were dressed!
They shouldn’t have worked there if they didn’t want harassment to happen.
She admitted to flirting, so that’s as good as consent.
Or they’re deflecting from the real issue.
So we can’t have lads’ nights out any more? What about hen parties?
We’re not allowed to compliment or hug a woman any more or we’ll be accused of harassment.
Feminists just want all men-only events to be banned.
I’m not sure what’s so difficult to understand about the fact that it’s harassment/assaults/rapes which are bad, not the type of gender at any particular get-together. If you think it’s about the fact only a certain gender was allowed, you’re seriously missing the point. The main issue here is that harassment and assaults continue to happen to women. And that this is a bad thing. Why is that so fucking hard to understand?
Except it’s not hard to understand at all, really, is it? Men who deflect and miss the point do so simply because they’re afraid to live in a society where they may be held accountable for their inappropriate or downright immoral and illegal actions towards women. And what does that tell you about that type of man?
But there I go again, being angry… what’s the point?
Often, I wonder whether I should even bother writing about issues which have really upset me, heard through world news or closer to home in the sex industry.
What is the point? I’ve spoken up and shared my thoughts many times over the years – and what happens? I vent, some people read and agree; some people read and take advantage of an upset, using it as ammunition to troll and to be a vile human being.
Despite the surging hopelessness, I must continue to speak up and share my thoughts. Otherwise I’m complicit in remaining silent, and allowing myself to be a silenced woman.
I can’t let negativity consume me; I can’t become a worn-out and totally devoid of hope woman, resigned to a world where men do what they like to women and are protected and free from consequences. I cannot give up.
Embers of Hope
We will not be mere holes for you to punch.
The non-consensual, immoral, unlawful actions of some men towards women may be nothing new, as a whole, but there is the feeling something new is happening regardless. Not all of these actions and events are hidden under a veil of silence to protect men, high-profile or otherwise.
Despite the potential negative impact to their careers, a fear which may have previously held them back from speaking out, women are coming forwards to report inappropriate behaviour and assaults. Reports are made, the actions and perpetrators are publicly decried, and women are demanding consequences. Personal and legal consequences.
This gives birth to hope. Hope that things are changing, that they will change.
The eventual change may sadly be motivated by the fear of those consequences, rather than due to conscience or morality, but change towards a better world, more respect towards women and their boundaries, is a good change nevertheless. Even if we can just change the actions, not the inclination, the end result is the same.
No breaching boundaries and consent. No harassment, no assaults. Think about it if you must. Keep your thoughts and hands and penises to yourself. Don’t actually do it.
The Ongoing Fight
Many women feel able to be vocal about the issues affecting them – if not personally affecting them, then womanhood as a whole.
I am using my platform here to share my thoughts, my anger, my fears, my hopes.
Women much better than I are campaigning actively for full rights for women – no, women don’t yet have full rights in every part of the world, even if you feel you personally do.
Women in politics are using their position to make political statements in relation to rights for and protection for women. And in case you’re a ‘stop making everything political!’ type, here’s a newsflash: everything is political. Where do you think your rights come from?
The #MeToo initiative is indicative of a change that is being felt not only by womankind, but by everyone.
Our rage-fuelled fight continues, and make no mistake, this is a war. As a soldier in this war, fighting may be as visible and interactive as joining a campaign or march. But just as valid are those whose fight simply means surviving this unjust world for another day.
Unsponsored & unaffiliated.
Just me, another angry woman.