I was brought up with a father and brothers I adore who were taught to respect women and defend them to their core. So with these beautiful people as my templates I was perhaps very green about what to expect in my life from men “I was going to find a man like my Dad”. My male childhood friends were always respectful and in fairness they knew I would tell them where to get off if they tried anything.
I always try to be nice to people and respected others, that was just how my parents raised me. My mother always said I shouldn’t be mean to boys incl. my brothers and when I was out socially I should be approachable and nice. Don’t be superficial I was always taught, don’t judge a book by the cover, it’s the content, what’s in the mind and the heart that counts after all.
My dad would always tell my brothers to keep an eye on me. But somehow society doesn’t always keep an eye out or show support, it often turns a blind eye, especially when prestige, money and power are involved. Thus many predators, creeps and pillars of society over the generations have been given a pass by people standing by instead of standing up in our society.
Recent events in Hollywood reported in the media has made me analyse and realise that I have lived a large part of my adult life in a more constrained way. My own negative experiences and often the lack of support in society has in effect shaped my views on decency and what to expect and made me check-out.
When I voiced concern previously about inappropriate sexual behaviour I was often most surprised by the reaction of women and their comments, shutting me down e.g. “you are being a bit full of yourself” or “he was just being friendly” or “sure he doesn’t mean anything by it” or the catch all of “it’s the drink”. As if I was misinterpreting, being boastful, perhaps reading too much into things or just being young and naive. In essence I was to blame, it was me, at least that’s what their reaction told me, so I withdrew.
It’s not just people in authority that create negative impacts on lives, the words, responses and lack of support in everyday life can have long lasting repercussions and leave imprints on minds.
I count guys and gals equally in my friendship group, I am a member of a diverse global motley crew. Since my mid 20’s I would say due to my often bad experiences I have built a wall of sorts around love and relationships that in a way has held me back. Recently prompted by the headlines emanating from Hollywood I have had many chats with family and friends and we have discussed our experiences. It is sad for me to say this but the fact that I am not alone doesn’t shock me, but perhaps the swell of protest and conversations happening will mean that it will finally stop. Surely the women speaking out now in large numbers is enough to turn the tide? I so hope so…….
It is worth noting that I am not alone and that all of these things have happened “and more” so when people say it’s isolated or not common place, I beg to disagree. I would never tar all men or women with the same brush but we have to call them on it regardless of their profile, society must stand up. So to each of the gross, predatory men detailed below who have in effect negatively influenced me to put a brave face on and ignore cetain parts of my own life, I would like to say you are no longer in my way. I won’t forget but writing it down and putting it out there has helped and perhaps sharing it will help someone else or check how someone behaves as nothing here is acceptable –
As a teenager –
- The man who said I was sexy in my school uniform and wondered why I wasn’t pleased.
- The man of 44 who said he was seeing me, who spread lies and make comments about my developing body, making me feel dirty and unsure.
- A middle aged relative of mine who ignored smutty words from his friends and didn’t defend me or deny when his friends applauded his acquiring a new “young bit of stuff”.
- The man at the disco who leered at me and said he’d like to fuck me rigid.
- The guy at the disco who held me so hard that I couldn’t breath and when I said “hey your hurting me, can you let me go please” wouldn’t let me go and was steering me towards the door. I had to stamp on his toes to get free and all he said was “prick tease” & “lesbian” in the same sentence, with his friends laughing on.
- The priest who came up behind me and put his hands on my chest as I was washing dishes whilst looking after a sick neighbour.
In my 20’s –
- The sleeze who followed me home too closely and scared me witless all the way from the train station saying I was a nice bit of brisket into my ear.
- To the guy in the club who asked me if I’d like a pearl necklace as a keepsake.
- To a family friend who put his hand between my legs and said he was pleased to meet me and was then surprised when I nearly gave him a black eye.
- To the number of times I’ve been called deranged or other less fragrant names because I just wasn’t interested.
- The workmen who whistled and made me want to hide almost every day on my way to work.
- To the traders who cat called me on the city floor so much that I used to take the lift to the lobby and back up the other side to cross the floor rather than walk across.
- To the guys running the hit list on the trading floor of the girls they competed for “to score” like it was a sport.
- To the guy who invited me to a house party and when I turned up we were alone “his wife and kids were at her Mums”.
- To the trader who trapped me under a desk whilst I was trying to fix his pc and suggested things I can’t say to this day.
- To the guy who I think sat nearby who would wait until I left my desk in my city job to leave me breathy messages, I never did find out who he was.
- To the guy who sent me a valentines card at work with a thong inside.
In my 30s/40s –
- To the builder who stalked me for years.
- To the trainer who pursued me saying “I would crack eventually”.
- The continued comments that I never let go unchecked.
For many years I believed that there was something about me that meant I was a “creep magnet”. You see I rarely attract the nice, decent, fairly normal guys. My wall was perhaps seen as a challenge and therefore attracts the wrong ones. The guys with power plays, who lock doors, get in your way, block your path and make you feel unclean, or the ones who often masquerade as something that they are not who transform from street angel to house devil before your eyes.
It is hard to get through the wall to me, there are tests and quite a bit of, let’s just use the term “challenge”. I like to unmask the wolf and along the way hopefully reveal a diamond geezer, but with this introspective self analysis perhaps one of these days I will look up for and eventually find that sparkler! ……….