Justice or judgment?

I debated whether to write this post but a friend inspired me to go ahead and write.

I’ve never been raped. I don’t put that down to me never being drunk as I have. I don’t put that down to me never walking about late at night on my own because I have. I wouldn’t say I walk around in a bikini but I also don’t walk in clothes that completely cover up my skin.

I say the above because some parts of society would assume that if females don’t want to be raped, they should never wear revealing clothing, never get drunk and never walk around on their own late at night. I’ve done all those things and never been raped.

Yes, on reflection there have been times that I have got just that little bit *too* drunk and had that moment where I think that maybe just maybe things are not as safe as I thought there were. Regardless of that, there is always a choice that a man needs to make when there is a vulnerable drunk woman. All the men I know would do the right thing.

I was once walking home around 9pm at night. It was near Christmas, I’d been at work as it was late night shopping and was walking the 2 minutes walk from my bus stop home along the front of some shops which were still open. I was just about to head to the stairway entrance to my flat when a man, probably in his twenties, came up and asked me for the time. I gave him the time and started to walk up the stairs and suddenly felt someone come up and squeeze my bum really hard. I looked around and it was the guy who asked me the time earlier. I told him to get lost and luckily he just ran away. I never reported it because I assumed it wouldn’t be taken seriously, in fact I didn’t view it as that serious but now, with everything in the news, I think it is serious. How can someone have the right to touch my body without my permission.

ChildLine goes into school and tells young children about their right to their body not being touched. That people should respect their body and nobody has the right to hurt them or do anything that they don’t want to do.

The recent verdict in the footballers trial negates that view. What makes society so anxious to protect children’s rights around others respecting their bodies and yet when women get past 16 (or sooner if they look older) that right somehow seems to dilute.

Someone once said to me consent to sex isn’t just about saying no. It’s whether someone says yes. Absolutely no means no but what happens if someone is incapable, through drink or drugs, that they can’t say no? How difficult would it have been to ask someone if they wanted to go ahead with something and if they were incapable of saying yes, then they’re incapable of giving consent.

Yes, we know it’s not all men. Not all white people. Not all able bodied people. But it is some men. It is some white people. It is some able bodied people. So those that it isn’t, should stand up and make sure that the other group knows it’s wrong. It’s not acceptable and it shouldn’t be happening. Those people who are so gleeful about the not guilty verdict? Bear in mind that he was found guilty and understand that, like you were adamant the verdict was a lie the first time, others will absolutely believe the appeal was wrong. Particularly when it seems like the facts remained the same but the victim’s sexual history was brought up.

We talk about second chances, another day but why doesn’t this apply in rape cases? Why does it matter what a victim did previously? Unless she had accused someone and then acknowledged her accusation was wrong, it should never have an impact. I hope the decision won’t affect other women coming forward. I’m fearful it will and that’s where justice has filed and judgment has won.

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