I’ve just walked past a building site.
It’s a place I walk by daily, usually complacent to the sexual comments and jeering that I receive from the hard-hat-wearing blokes scattered across the rooftops.
Today was different. I walked with a greater awareness as to what I may hear, but more than anything, how I would react.
Today they said nothing.
Sometimes it’s hard to say the things you really want to say, especially when unexpected circumstances kick you in the gut. That’s why I choose to write.
I’m like a rabbit in headlights. All of our eyes are wide open. WTF just happened in the U.K. this weekend.
No, I’m not referring to COVID-19. I’m referring to the kidnap and murder of an innocent woman in London this past week. A woman, Sarah Everard, who was murdered by a police officer while walking home from a friend’s house.
This brutal attack has opened a can of worms about women’s safety and our inability to freely walk the streets without feeling fear, day or night.
We, as a nation, open our hearts to Sarah and her family. I witnessed vigils, and I am sure there are plenty more to come, alongside protestors who gathered in crowds to make everyone aware that something seriously has to be done—right now. Not when another woman is murdered, but now!
More women than we care to imagine have been through some kind of sexual abuse. Many women stay silent. Why? Because they feel ashamed or frightened to speak up.
And if they do speak up, then what? Will it only make things worse?
Whether it’s on the streets, in the workplace, or at home, no woman should be made to stay silent.
My own situation was no exception. As a police officer in the U.K. years ago, I experienced abuse from two male officers. It was during the time when there was a huge recruitment drive to bring in more ethnic minorities. I knew it was a job I wanted to do. Even in my 20s, my main goal was to support the community, and this seemed like the perfect route to take, but I was naïve.
In hindsight, if the situation were to have taken place now, I would have dealt with it differently.
I hate to have to say it, but in a male-dominated environment, is this something we just expect? Have we become numb to abusive behaviour?
It isn’t necessary for me to go into great personal detail; however, what came out of my own experience was this question: Why is it that in these situations, women who are often made out to be the instigators, the troublemakers?
During the time of my ordeal, I was suspended for six months while the case was being looked into. Once I returned to work, I was moved to a different station—not by choice.
Soon after, I chose to resign.
I was led to believe that it was me who had to make the changes, not the culprits themselves.
For a woman at any age, that isn’t an easy pill to swallow.
So how do we rectify this?
How do women feel courageous enough to speak up for their rights without coming across as aggressive troublemakers, especially in a world where men still dominate?
I certainly don’t advocate for a 6 p.m. curfew for all men. The majority of men have no idea what women experience, and how would they unless they were to walk in our shoes.
Today, I have no tips to share, no affirmations to give, and no meditations to bring you peace. I come from a raw space of openness—a place where I yearn to hear your voice. I want to hear your feelings, your experiences, and what you have to say, if you care to share.
This moment is all we have. Bless it with gratitude and love.