Words by Jess Hake
I am Angry:
I was going to write this edition of The Badger on a similar theme to Robyn’s, talking about chick-lit and heralding The High-Low podcast, hosted by Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton as the beacon of light on dull days. But then, this week, something happened. I think it was Wednesday that the news ran a story on Sarah Everard and Instagram suddenly became awash with infographics about the reality of being a woman. How Sarah Everard’s story, whilst heart-breaking, is the reality of being a woman. The fear and the worry and the little things we constantly do because what happened to Sarah Everard is a valid possibility that lives rent free in our brains.
The executive director of UN women UK has declared sexual harassment a “human rights crisis” in the UK after it was revealed that 97% of women aged 18 – 24 said they had been sexually harassed, with 80% of women of all ages saying that had experience of sexual harassment in public spaces.
It’s been a tough week.
It led to a nihilistic spiral. And not an optimistic one.
What is the point? I’m afraid to walk alone at night but it isn’t that that’s the only time I’m afraid. I’m more afraid to walk home at night then during the day. If I think about how many times I talk on the phone, the reality is that the majority of the time I’m faking it (something I’m usually quite against). Usually when I speak on the phone it’s a one-sided conversation that I have when I’m walking alone in Brighton at night. I walk past other women who’re on the phone and think “I wonder if there’s someone listening on the other end?”.
Every infographic that gets shared on Instagram is a trigger. Reminder of the reality of trauma. Every post saying that they’re “shocked” about how many women have experienced sexual assault I wish was met with some sort of emotive response, but I’m angry. Every woman I know has experienced it, I have experienced, nearly every man I know has watched me or someone experience it and the chances are that my little sister who is currently sitting in her room reading Jekyll and Hyde for her required GCSE readings is going to get sexually assaulted.
So, that’s it. I’m done writing for now. I’ll leave you with a poem from Yrsa Daley-Ward on sexual assault, bone.
who says, “Don’t cry.
You’ll like it after a while.”
and Two who tells you thank-you
after the fact and can’t look at your face.
To Three who pays for your breakfast
and a cab home
and your mother’s rent.
“But you felt so good
I didn’t know how to stop.”
To Five who says giving your body
but something you do very well.
Who smells of tobacco
and says “Come on, I can feel that
you love this.”
To those who feel bad in the morning yes,
some feel bad in the morning
and sometimes they tell you
you want it
and sometimes you think that you do.
Thank heavens you’re resetting
How else do you sew up the tears?
How else can the body survive?
by Yrsa Daley-Ward