Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Recently I've been going out more - I have free time, new friends and a willingness to have fun, so why not? I went to a couple of clubs, had a good time and was hit on by a couple of guys. Now, when I'm at a bar or a club, I'm prepared for this, I don't really mind - I mean, people often go out to bars and try to hook up with people, it can be part of the fun, half the patrons, male and female, are flirty and so a few attempts to be chatted up are to be expected. Time and a place etc. Usually (in my experience), if you make it clear you aren't interested, it's cool and you get left alone - you may even make a few friends.

However, when I'm nowhere near the bar, I DON'T APPRECIATE THE ATTENTION. I don't enjoy having strange men whisper things in my ear as I walk down the street to post a letter. I don't like groups of men eyeing me up on the Underground. WOLF-WHISTLES AREN'T WELCOME. This never used to happen to me, I used to go out and just be another person on the street, then all of a sudden I turn 18 and it's like I broadcast a signal saying 'Harass me! I have a vagina!' Why don't these men understand how threatened you can feel when a strange person who looks like they could knock you over with a flick of their finger starts leering at you? How it makes you HATE being who you are, if only for a few moments, because it feels like YOU brought this attention on yourself? I'm not doing anything differently. I'm not even looking at these people half the time until they draw my attention with their idiotic comments. But suddenly, I'm all too aware of myself. Of my gender. Of my physical weaknesses. I hate it, and wish people would leave me alone. I'm not ready to go back inside yet.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Waitaminute, The Sun isn't victim-blaming?!

An online petition has cropped up at The Sun calling for a 24-hour hotline for rape victims and more specialist centres for them. Which is good. I signed it. It accompanies an article in which the journalist Abigail Grant tells of her ordeal (which is detailed, and may trigger) when a man broke into her house and attempted to rape her 12 years ago, seriously injuring her in the process, and her experiences when they finally brought him to trail recently, 12 years after the attack. There are also details of other recent rape cases that were carried out appallingly - the man who got off practically scot-free after he claimed that the 10-year-old he abused (and that IS sexual abuse, as a child cannot legally give consent no matter what you say) was 'dressed provocatively', and the other recent one where it was implied* that the victim was 'glad of the attention' when she was gang-raped. The article highlights the huge prejudices that exist in rape cases, highlights how unfairly they are treated and calls for change.

However, I did have a few questions when I looked at where the article was featured in the site (I only knew about it via The F-Word, which linked straight to the petition). It is in the 'Woman' and 'Real Life' (personal accounts etc.) sections. Not on the Home Page. Not in the 'News' section, despite the fact that rape is a current issue and recent events are mentioned. In the sections that it does feature in, it's not immediately noticeable - Real Life has it after dieting articles, something about new mothers having sex (SHOCK!), humourous pictures of eggs and mobile phone allergies. And in the 'Woman' section.... sex, sex, fashion, diets, guys, fashion, celebrities.... ah, there it is!

So, despite this being an important issue which affects everyone, despite having a message we should all hear, it's been cordoned off as purely a 'women's issue' and hidden down the pages of two of the 'girlier' sections. I can understand why is would be in the section of personal accounts, but come on! It's a bit more important than weight loss and hot pants! Nice to know how important you guys at the Sun think this is, but I should've expected this, really. The Sun isn't exactly renowned for it's gleaming track record in highlighting the inequalities that exist in our country, except perhaps how 'unfair' it is that some women don't look like Pam Anderson.

Thoughts, anyone?

*Sorry, make that 'stated in plain language by the defence barrister', because the victim was overweight. Just to add insult to the injury.