Don’t Fucking Touch Me

. Around 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales alone every year. That’s approximately 11 rapes per hour. Just adults. These are both penetration and attempts.

. 1 in 5 women aged 16 – 59 have experienced sexual assault of some sort.

. Conviction rates of rape are lower than any other crime with only 5.7% reported cases ending in a conviction.

If these statistics don’t shock you, they should, at the very least, piss you off.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it just sucks to be female, not because males aren’t targeted as well, nor do I mean to sound insensitive towards men who experience sexual assault, I know there is more of a stigma attached to men that have gone through a traumatic sexual experience and so they’re less likely to speak about it but I don’t want to delve too deeply into the sociological masses of who suffers more, in case you haven’t worked it out already, my posts are written revolving around personal experience.

Last night I had a nightmare tied to an experience that happened to me a while ago. Someone I trusted made me uncomfortable by saying inappropriate things, pulling my top out to look at my chest and then standing in the doorway when I wanted to leave. There are more details but those are the main points. Boohoo right? I was made uncomfortable by a man. A man that I couldn’t fight, a man that was stronger than me, that could have done anything he wanted to if he had pushed his luck. I was called a liar when I spoke about it and told I should have kept my mouth shut if I didn’t want so much trouble. Obviously, rereading this, I realise it doesn’t sound that bad but I want to point out that, whilst I like to be open on my blog, there are certain parts of my life I won’t fully expose to my readers because well, I just don’t need to. I’m used to talking about things most people won’t and I like to be an open book so that people know they can come and talk to me about anything and everything but I’m going to gloss over things like this because it’s not necessary for me to speak about.

After my nightmare, something dawned on me; as a female, I’m hopeless. I can’t fight. I freeze up. I’m a target, consistently. Then I thought about other experiences. Like being eleven years old and getting groped by a stranger on my way home from school, the night I went out with two male friends, they left me for two minutes and a car pulled up beside me with three men in, offering me a lift. Don’t get me wrong, they could have been nice. But they could also have been nasty. And I might not be here today if they hadn’t driven off. It sounds harmless but at 3am, when you’re clearly rather inebriated, it’s actually kinda scary because you know that you don’t stand a chance. And you know that they know that you’re hopeless. Another time, I was left alone at a crossing, one friend was across the road at a shop, the other was about ten meters away, outside a club.

But I appeared alone.

It took roughly thirty seconds for a man to come over, put his arm around my waist and ask if I needed help crossing the road. I was sober, I was eighteen years old. I very obviously did not need help crossing the road. Don’t touch me, just don’t touch me. I like my personal space so when drunk middle aged men, that I don’t know, put their hands on me, my skin crawls. I mean, maybe it’s just me, I’ve always had big personal space issues, in fact, I remember being dumped by my first boyfriend, (at the tender age of nine, my heart was ripped from the fleshy depths of my chest) for being “frigid”. Obviously, this is hilarious now but at the time, my older brother so helpfully pointed out that “if you don’t give a boy what he wants then he will leave.” Haha, fuck you and fuck that.

I mean, for the most part, it appears I have often associated myself with these kinds of boys (miss me with that ‘wE’rE nOt aLl LikE THaT” bs, okay, I know) and I’ve yet to prove him wrong but still, fuck that.

The other night, I was walking home from seeing my friend at work, it’s about a five minute walk from his work to my home. Right outside my flat was a huge group of boys, at least thirty, tops about fifty. And I’m on my own. I rang my mum and told her where I was as soon as she answered, no explanation as to why I told her where I was because someday, that might be all I have time to do. I’m so familiar with groups of boys now that it wasn’t a surprise when a handful of them waited until I was in front of them before one of them spoke to me. He just said I was beautiful and asked if I had a boyfriend, nothing dramatic or threatening. Then he asked if I was on the phone and it makes me question what would have happened if I hadn’t been on the phone. Because I couldn’t handle one, let alone all of them.

So I’ve edited some of this in real time, bare in mind, this was written 2/3 years ago and it’s actually mental to think I lived in THIS much fear. Like, don’t get me wrong, I would still find these situations unnerving and there’s been more things happen as to why I still feel this way but remembering lil 19 year old Charli feeling like this breaks my wee heart. Part of me wants to call her a drama queen but then I remember like hey, I actually fully felt like this once and it wasn’t a joke to me. So next time a girl gets drastically uncomfortable or stressed out in a situation that you deem as safe but she doesn’t, just keep in mind, there might be reasons behind it. Just don’t be a wanker, really. The world needs a little more empathy because when you teach young girls and boys that something that makes them uncomfortable shouldn’t be “a big deal” you’re indirectly blurring the lines as to what they should allow and what they shouldn’t.

At half nine in the morning, I was walking to work and I had a guy come out of no where, run in front of me, stare at my chest and ask if I had a boyfriend. When I ignored him and carried on walking, he then followed me in his van where he proceeded to get out a little while later and shout at me. I had to get my friend to come and get me to take me to work. I reported it and he was long gone when the police checked the estate.

If you’re a man and you wonder why girls always walk around with resting bitch face when they’re on their own, it’s usually because we’re hoping you won’t talk to us. Won’t cat call or make us feel uncomfortable because it does. It sucks to be a girl where you can’t leave your home without something like this happening. What starts as a harmless cat call can end in something nasty and girls know that and although a lot of it may be harmless, I can’t help but overthink considering the statistics. That’s why we don’t appreciate it when you playfully whistle or comment when we walk past. We’re just trying to get on with our day like everyone else, what I’m wearing, how my make up is done and whether I’m smiling or not should never decide whether you’re going to be polite and respectful. No one should feel unsafe or uncomfortable when they’re just trying to live normal lives.

I honestly need to get better at putting my point across with stuff like this, I mainly use my blog to vent etc. But this one should have conveyed more of a message so in short; respect people’s personal space, take them seriously when they say something makes them uncomfortable even when it doesn’t make sense to you as to why, don’t teach ANYONE, boys or girls, that they’re being silly concerning their worries about things like this because when you do, you silence an entire generation and there is nothing that invokes change, we’re only as strong as our weakest link so don’t be the people that fall back on phrases like “boys will be boys” and “you should be flattered that she’s giving you attention” just to avoid the discomfort that follows this kind of topic. It’s pathetic, do better.

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