I’ve watched the Me Too movement with interest and sympathy. So many women, so many girls. So much pain, betrayal, hurt, power play, intimidation, guilt, blame, judgement. Loss of innocence and trust. So much assault, harassment and rape. My heart has broken with every story, tweet, post I’ve read. Every violation. And I have felt lucky. Lucky that I don’t have a “Me Too” story to add. Lucky that I haven’t been sexually assaulted or raped in my life. Lucky despite the times I was drunk at pubs and clubs. Lucky despite the short skirts I wore when I was younger. Lucky despite the low cut tops, the high heels. Lucky despite the boys I drunkenly kissed and may have ‘lead on’ by showing an interest. Lucky because I am a female and I am not the one in four that have experienced sexual assault.
LUCKY. For years I have felt LUCKY that a male has not tried to force himself sexually on me. For years and years. And that was OK. I have been grateful of how LUCKY I’ve been. A man has never used his strength and power to pin me down and force himself inside of me, LUCKY. I mean, I’ve had sex with people when I haven’t really wanted to when I’ve felt obligated, but they didn’t force me, so I am LUCKY. I am a woman and I haven’t been raped, so I am LUCKY.
When you really think about that, what the actual fuck? When did it become part of our psyche that rape is a matter of ‘luck’? And how did I not notice? How did I become so conditioned to the patriarchy that I honestly believed rape and sexual assault was the norm and to escape it was lucky?
Recently I’ve read a few articles about the differences between men and women and what we do to feel safe. It started a conversation with my husband.
Please let me lead this with the fact that my husband is a very good man. He has never had anything but respect for me or our daughter and would literally risk his life for us a thousand times over. He is all for equality, does not even have a smidge of misogyny about him.
Yet he can’t understand. He can’t understand the subconscious rules women live their life by, without even realising. He can’t understand that we never feel safe at night. That we are scared to walk alone, particularly in the city. That the one time I ran at dusk, I spent the majority of the time looking over my shoulder. That even during the day when I run along a bush track if I pass a male, I will keep looking back, in case they turn around and follow me. He can’t understand why I check the backseat of my car before I get in. He can’t understand why I always sit in the back seat of an Uber or a taxi, diagonal from the driver side and my hand is on the handle in case I have to leap out of a moving car to save myself. That even if I am in a completely innocent situation I avoid being left alone with a male. That if I walk at night to my car, I hold my keys between my fingers so I can stab someone who tries to attack me on my way to my car. That I lock the doors and the windows every night, even in summer, because I am afraid that someone will enter our house and rape and/or kill me.
My husband, who is one of the good ones, can’t understand how absolutely fucking ridiculous it is that I feel lucky that I haven’t been raped at 38 years of age.
I am not lucky. Every woman who has been sexually assaulted or raped is not unlucky. She has been violated, abused, hurt, betrayed by a very bad person. There is not one single thing anyone could possibly have done to deserve to be hurt in this way. Yet as a female, I live my life with caution. Without even paying attention I live my life to avoid being raped. I should not have to be LUCKY. Not one single woman who is reading this is ‘lucky’ or ‘unlucky’.