This post has been triggered by the murder of Sarah Everard. For information about the case, read this.
I am so tired. Tired of hearing story after story of women experiencing discomfort, experiencing violence, experiencing discrimination at the hands of our modern world. They don’t end, as if it isn’t enough.
Sarah Everard just wanted to walk home. Breonna Taylor was sleeping in her bed. Kristin Smart was going back to her dorm room. In 1977, during a string of attacks later known as the “Yorkshire Ripper murders”, the police placed a curfew on women, leading to the “Reclaim the Night” movement. A recent TikTok trend emerged where women recounted medical professionals dismissing or belittling them or their conditions. One out of every six American women has been the victim of attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. (This particular statistic has absolutely sickened me.) “A 2015 Violence Policy Center study found that Black women were two and a half times more likely to be murdered by men than their white counterparts.” 68 percent of the 3,800 incidents reported to Stop AAPI Hate were committed against women. (As I’m writing this, I have learned of the Atlanta mass shooting, most of the victims being Asian women. I don’t have the energy or mental capacity to start this all over, so those thoughts will come at another time.)
When asked what women would do if there were no men on earth for 24 hours, the overwhelmingly majority response was: take a walk at night.
A 2018 study found that 73 percent of true crime podcast listeners are women, while a 2010 study found that 70 percent of true crime book reviews on Amazon were written by women. (I take these to mean that women are fascinated by true crime and are making themselves aware of what happens in the world and how we can potentially get out of the same situations.) ((Stay sexy, don’t get murdered, if you will.))
When I walk to my car after work, even at twilight, I’m tensely aware of my surroundings. Walking around in my own neighborhood, I flinch if any man turns a corner in my direction. This past year, I was spit on and called a “bitch” by an (albeit homeless and most likely mentally ill) man, an incident that temporarily gave me anxiety any time I left my apartment. When I was 19, I was followed, cornered, and obstructed by a man who kept asking me to “give him a kiss” and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Honestly, I have too many thoughts and emotions and opinions on these topics and not enough mental bandwidth and finger endurance to type it all into existence. I don’t want to belittle these horrific realities that women live in everyday; I also don’t want to only see women as victims of meaningless and unjust violence. Because women are so much more than that.
International Women’s Day was last week and a slew of Instagram posts celebrating women flooded my feed. It gave me hope.
I keep thinking about a few of my friends, specifically one of my best friends, who have daughters and the world they are raising those little girls in. Despite all of the aforementioned sh*t above, I have hope for their futures. I have hope that they will only ever know a world that respects, protects, and lifts them up. I hope that I can be a part of creating that world, if I’m lucky enough to have my own children (or even if I’m not!). Because enough is enough.
Thank you for reading,
(P.S. I mistakenly (and drunkenly) sent this newsletter out at 1:30am, so if you get it twice, I apologize.)