a bit broken #YesAllWomen

The chatter around #YesllAllWomen may have ebbed up. There have been a dozen and more so new things since then taking Twitter and social media in a storm but I am not willing to let that one go just yet. Especially not after the meeting I had to sit through the other day.

I didn’t expect there to be immediate change. I guess I didn’t even expect any change. Not really but the need for something to happen hit me in the face once again. Maybe even more so because it got closer to my heart this time. It happened right on my metaphorical door step. It’s not that it wasn’t personal before but, at least for me, it wasn’t that much more than the usual every day misogyny you just go through because it is part of being a woman. I’ve been living in relative safety most of my life, I’ve been lucky.

This one made me furious and mad and I hated to sit at the table with a whole bunch of men where we seriously had to discuss being afraid that someone would cry rape just because they didn’t like a person. This wasn’t the case at hand. Ours was simultaneously more depressing and also not as bad as rape. It still had to land on that question, because of course it did.

Now, I can imagine there actually being women (or men) falsely accusing people of inappropriate behaviour to further their own agenda. I don’t even have to use my vivid imagination for that. Yes, those people exist. But that doesn’t negate the importance of dealing with unwarranted and inappropriate sexual advances openly. Especially when minors are involved. Because otherwise, the perpetrators will never learn. And neither would society as a whole.

Part of that meeting made me proud though because when we voted on what to do, most of us ended up voting for the same thing and I do believe we made the right decision. I do. Because in my opinion, the responsibility we have towards children is more important than anything else. They are helpless and they shouldn’t have to face a man that frightened them and used his authority to do so. Even if it was done so under the influence of alcohol and we don’t know how the words were meant. It doesn’t matter. Not to me. The words were said and that’s enough.

I’m a little bit broken over the revelations I had to hear about some of the people I spend my time with. But I’m a little bit broken about a lot of things these days. Life has been pulling my heartstrings a lot lately. And I’m sorry I can’t be more explicit about the details, I probably shouldn’t even write this.

But I’m proud for one of my friends to stand up for her own agency. Especially at that age. I’m less impressed with the way her father handled it. And I don’t know what he did about the thing that happened to his oldest daughter but I guess it’s nothing I can be impressed with either.

I do understand that those decisions are difficult. Especially since they affect so many people but the fact that none of us knew, doesn’t make things better. And even if we haven’t operated the same way in the past as we did this time, I firmly believe that we have to start somewhere.

Drawing the line is difficult. A lot of it is blurry and we don’t all share the same perceptions but once the line is crossed, you also can’t undo it. It’s a permanent mark left on somebody. And so I see it as out responsibility to make sure it doesn’t even get to the blurry parts. While teasing can be fun, it’s not when a 40-something makes advances towards a minor, even if it’s just verbally. And it’s not right at any age difference when it’s unwelcome but the other one is even worse from where I’m standing.

I’m afraid I’m not explaining myself correctly, that this is all too convoluted. But I am just so sick of these things being treated as minor offences. Stuff attributed to being drunk. Of not being dealt with openly. Of it being the status quo.

I had to get this out somewhere and since I can’t tell the people in my vicinity because I’m sworn to secrecy about the details, this is how it has to go. Everything about this is still an uphill battle, but most of how we handled what happened made me happy. Some parts of the decisions made me uneasy, I was almost ready to unleash a whole presentation on feminism and it’s merry friends but in the end I didn’t have to because we were mostly on the same page. I did argue for my believes and I would have fought for them tooth and nail if I had had to. This was a precedent for me but I’m proud of myself. The fact that it’s still a fight still makes me rage-y though.

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  • Clément Polge

    Sooo I don’t have much to share on that subject, but next time someone starts talking about “false accusations”, you could show them this infographic, in case you haven’t seen it: http://theenlivenproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/rapist_visualization_03.jpg

    (pretty sure this extends to a lot of things where people like to shout “BUT WHAT ABOUT FALSE ACCUSATIONS ?”, but I don’t have any actual data to that possibility)

    (and the source for that document: http://theenlivenproject.com/the-truth-about-false-accusation/ )

    Anyway, I hope you’ll be okay, and don’t worry, change is coming :)

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      I did see that infographic before but thanks for pointing me there again. It faded out of my view until now.

      I’ll be okay, I was just very floored by what I learned/what happened this week.

  • I can feel your pain over this situation, I have an idea of what it might be about, alcohol is never an excuse, for either party. Being drunk is not a get out clause.
    The status quo is all different types of wrong. I hope things improve lovely x

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      It’s probably not as bad as what you imagine but that was essentially what we said as well when we had to decide how to handle what happened. (I say we because it was a big table decision not just my own.) Alcohol is never an excuse to do THAT.

      Things can and will only improve when we start to do something about it and actually, the fact that we did this time will help, even if it’s only on a small scale. Because even though I am right now sworn to secrecy, I know it will come out some way or another. Because these people involved are too many and things will have to be addressed when rehearsal starts in 2 weeks.

  • cupitonians

    I don’t know what to say. Just ugh!

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      That was my first thought as well when I saw this was how the year began.