As a woman and a mother to boys and a girl today has made me sad. Living in what looks like a World that doesn’t like differences be they your religion, race or sexual orientation.
Most of all as a woman I despair at the news that a man who openly admits his sexism, to kissing and grabbing women without their consent is now President. What sort of message does this send? That it’s ok to treat women however you want, especially if you have lots of money and/or power?
It’s a message I have seen becoming increasingly prevalent recently and it disgusts me. I thought we were a World moving forward but it seems to be moving backwards.
I’m well aware that I am lucky enough to not only have grown up in a time of woman’s rights but in a country which has laws to protect them. However I’m also well aware that being born with a vagina means I’m more likely to experience discrimination than those who weren’t
Growing up I was told I could have it all and I never doubted it. A job, a career, a family, be respected and to the most part this is true. I quickly learnt though to fear large groups of men, avoid dark alleyway and walking home from friends houses as a teenager I would carry a rape alarm. Why? because I was a woman and women have something to fear. Mixed messages that I still battle with today. Being told you are strong and can be whoever, whatever you want to be but always being expected to be mindful of your sex.
As a woman I have experienced sexism from the annoying to the disgusting. On holiday in Tunisia paying for a drink with my own money and the change being handed back to my then boyfriend. Putting up with unwelcome comments and whistles just walking along the road.
The bum grabbing or groping that would happen when walking past someone in a crowded club I took less easily, often confronting the perpetrator who would quite often laugh and shrug their shoulders knowing I was powerless to do anything. I can remember reporting one guy to a bouncer who laughed and said “What do you want me to do about it, he’s only having a laugh!” Having my body touched in a way I didn’t like without my consent being brushed off as something that should be seen as a bit of fun. It wasn’t for me and I doubt it was for the women who Donald Trump did it to either. We’ve just given those boys in the club more power!
When my ex husband had an affair I was met with shock and comments of being brave for wanting to be on my own rather than putting up with a man who didn’t respect me. I know if it had been the other way round he wouldn’t have received the same response.
I see it in the media, rape victims being asked what they were wearing, how much they had drunk. Some men and worryingly other women still think that if you are wearing a short skirt and have had a drink you are asking for it.
The Ched Evans case, allowing the woman’s past boyfriends to be questioned about their sex life to discredit her evidence in court. Again a man with financial backing using it to his advantage to get away with his behaviour, not to mention the devastating affects this could have on rape victims having the courage to come forward.
Brock Turner only being given 6 months for a violent rape of an unconscious girl because of wealth and connections.
Again and again the message that you can do what you want to women.
I don’t want my girl, my boys to grow up seeing this message, they are and should be equal. You should treat others with respect regardless of their gender, their race, their religion or their sexual orientation. I want my girl to know she is not only beautiful but strong, intelligent and worthy of being treated with respect. I want my boys to grow up knowing and showing woman respect and being comfortable in making their own choices without fear of being targeted for them. I’m sure they will as they are lucky enough to be surrounded by good role models and love, it’s the people who aren’t that I worry for.
As a woman I have never put up and shut up with being treated as anything less than equal to men regardless of who they are or the amount of money they have. I will continue to be this way, maybe even more fiercely so, to raise my children this way, with love, tolerance and acceptance. To continue to instill the belief in my daughter that she can smash that glass ceiling!
This job of mine, of ours to raise the future generation to be tolerant and accepting, has become even more important today!