Me Too

#metoo

Are we surprised? Not a single woman or person assigned female at birth that I know hasn’t been able to use this hashtag. Not all of them did. But all of them could. 

#metoo

I don’t know how old I was when I first learned that I had to shout ‘fire’ if someone tried to grab me. They said that if I shouted ‘help’ or ‘rape’ then people wouldn’t listen. I didn’t know what rape meant. But I did knew that the threat of material damage was the only way to get people’s attention enough to save my life. 

#metoo

I was nine when I learnt what ‘rape’ meant. I was at Disneyland. The newspaper said a girl had been murdered – but what happened before she was murdered also seemed to matter. My mum explained. I still didn’t understand fully. But from that day on, I saw that word everywhere. 

#metoo

For years, I had nightmares in which I had forgotten how to scream.

#metoo

The first time I was catcalled, I was twelve. There was a group of us, on a school walk, swaddled in oversized blazers and green tartan skirts. The men were in a van. They honked. They made noises and faces. We didn’t know what to do. So we smiled.

#metoo

When I was fourteen, I went into meltdown because my mum wouldn’t let me were the skirt I wanted to wear. Apparently it was ‘too short’. I didn’t understand. I raged. It wasn’t fair. 

#metoo

The guy in the flashy car stopped to ask for directions when I was sixteen. Told me he was looking for a company I didn’t recognise, a modelling agency, and had I ever considered doing some modelling, because he could help me out? I walked. Quickly. He said something I don’t remember, and drove away. I felt like I should be take it as a compliment – but then why was my stomach filled with wasps?

#metoo

As I got older, I became more scared of the dark. I reminded myself that the word ‘fire’ would help me. 

#metoo

I only went to a few clubs in my later teens. I found them to be sensory hell. Especially when the random boys I didn’t know would curl around me with vine hands, their fingers stroking my hair because it was short and different and hey, why not, it was just a compliment, right? I don’t know whether I started feigning sickness to get out of clubbing, or whether the thought of clubbing made me genuinely sick.

#metoo

My friend was raped. The police advised against her taking it to court. He was only prosecuted years later when he did it to someone else. At seventeen, I learned what it meant to hate.

#metoo

I was in my second year of university. They were on my couch. Her and him. Twice my age. They wanted me to come home with them. My housemate was going. Why didn’t I join in the fun? Wasn’t I open-minded? Wasn’t I bisexual? I don’t know how I excused myself, but I do know that I didn’t come into the living room for the rest of the year. 

#metoo

I was cosplaying as Ianto from Torchwood. The guy dressed as Captain Jack had every right to have his hands all over me. Cameras were flashing. It was in character. I signed up for this.

#metoo

I was twenty one when I rebuffed a customer’s advances by telling him I wasn’t straight, and he told me that it didn’t matter, because he was.

#metoo

It was a pasty. A freaking pasty. I’d been at work since 5am, my hair was unwashed, I was in a baggy tracksuit, and I was stuffing pastry inelegantly into my mouth. Ooh, yeah, you enjoying that, love? And just like that, my appetite was gone.

#metoo

I was in customer service for years. I had to smile. I didn’t have a choice. 

#metoo

They tell me I’m too fat, too ugly, too weird, too antisocial, too autistic, to have to worry about this. I want to grip their face between my hands, badly-polished nails rending unevenly into flesh, and scream that that’s not how it works and they bloody well know it.

#metoo

I should be angry but I’m too tired.

#metoo

We’ve been telling these stories for too long. And sometimes they listen. They’re listening at the moment. There’s a hashtag and everything. Give it time. They’ll stop listening.  But this won’t stop happening. 

#metoo

#metoo

#metoo
 

One thought on “Me Too

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s