This blog entry comes after a weekend of inspiration going out in a semi-local club in Halifax, West Yorkshire. An extremely good friend of mine, decided after a few drinks to go out dancing! Normally, something we enjoy of an evening, going purely to be able to dance to loud music, have a few drinks, and enjoy that take-away in the taxi home, however- as I get older, or maybe just wiser, I'm finding it harder and harder to actually enjoy myself in an environment where the men are predatorial, and the women, submissive. ..
I take great care when trying to express my terminology for this in any other way, and please, allow me to elaborate. I say the men (in general within these environments are predatorial) because there is no other way to explain my reaction to their behaviour, as anything other than threatened. I was touched, tapped, bashed on the head (I was wearing a rather impressive hat, you can imagine my dismay) shoved out of the way, and treated with what I will perhaps call, general physical disrespect. This is nothing however, to two stories I can recall being told that evening.
The first, when smoking a cigarette in the smoking area, two young (19ish...) girls came up and asked for a lighter, and then almost immediately proceeded to inform us of how one of them that evening, had been grabbed in the Vagina. Now, I can't quite understand, how they were even still here, after what I would consider to be categorically defined as a sexual attack, but also how there was no discussion of the predatorial male in question being removed from the nightclub, or any action taken following this behaviour. As if I was surprised, and dismayed enough as it is, the very good friend I was with, then told of when she had been out the week previously the same thing had happened to her friend, however, this time one of the girls she was with physically pushed the gentlemen out of the way, which resulted in him then proceeding to try and fight with her female friend. So to clarify, he grabbed her IN THE VAGINA, her friend physically defended her, and then he tried to physically retaliate.
I don't think the weight of this fully reached me until I actually said the words out loud, Grabbed in the Vagina. If you haven't already- do it now. Say it out loud. Grabbed in the Vagina, In Public, In a Nightclub, amongst others. I really am still completely baffled by the whole situation. How on earth did it even happen in the first place? Somebody please explain how this male, found it socially acceptable, to reach out, and touch somebody, in their genitals in public. We have stories like this sure, and I’m sure if you're reading this and thinking, ooh yeah that happened to my friend so-and-so last weekend, I want you to read up a bit, and say out-loud GRABBED IN THE VAGINA.
I do not want to hear another story like this again, I do not want to go out next weekend or any weekend, and have two girls in the smoking area come up to me and tell me they were just sexually attacked. Not just that they were sexually attacked, but then proceeded to do nothing about it. I look back on that moment ashamed. Ashamed that I didn't ask who it was, that I didn't report it to anyone that would have maybe been able to do something about it, such as remove him from the nightclub, or more importantly, report it to the police- But I can assure you, that will be the last time I make that mistake. Ladies, at no point, when going out, being in public, being around people in general, should we have any kind of fear that our Vagina's should be grabbed by predatorial men. Go out in a mini-dress, in jeans and a t-shirt, a bikini or stark-bollock-naked for all I care- we still do not deserve to be sexually attacked in public places- or any places for that matter.
I am more ashamed that I didn't do more in that moment, because I am already aware of what a sexual attack feels like. And I wasn't wearing a mini-dress dancing to chart music on a Saturday night when it happened to me. Which brings me back to my terminology earlier, of the men as predatorial and the women as submissive. I am referring to myself as the Submissive woman. I can't look at a young girl who was a victim of sexual attack and blame her for not speaking out, the fact she blurted it out when asking for a lighter shows that perhaps she was baffled, and in a little bit of shock by the whole situation. But, as somebody that has been through an attack herself, that holds herself proudly as an active feminist and activist, listened to her story, and offered no help. I did nothing, apart from smoke a cigarette, show my outrage, and then leave, and I don't think that is enough.
The club in question is Liquid, in Halifax, where I have now filed an official complaint. This is not the first incident I've heard of, in fact, it's the second one- IN A WEEK.
To add insult to injury, what was the song that was of course played on the dance floor during the evening? BLURRED LINES- a song now famed for its acceptance for the mentality associated with rape culture. I can’t separate the two incidents. I hear of a situation like that, and then this song comes on. This treatment of women is everywhere, and I don’t think I can go another day, or night, going out, seeing every girl in the nightclub dance along to a song, that basically says that women have no say over their bodies, to then have their Vagina’s grabbed that very same night.
And guys, where are you? Where are the blokes standing up against this behaviour? This is activity that is happening on your doorstep, In your local club, maybe to your sister.
Ladies and gents, I know we all want to have fun when we go out, have a good time, dance away our woe's, and generally have a giggle- But I’m learning, all to slowly perhaps, that no amount of wine, will let me forget, that I am first, and foremost- A feminist, and that not dancing to Blurred Lines of an evening, actually isn’t enough any more, and perhaps if I don’t want my, or any of my friends Vagina’s grabbed it’s going to take a little more than just a conversation over a cigarette.