Dark Glitter: Some Of Us

Dark Glitter: Some Of Us

Some Of Us

 

Imagine a world where women have no power.

Where men decide on the salaries we can earn, the jobs we can take, the support we can have when pregnant, or when mothers, or for our vaginas. The wars that we can or cannot fight in. The clothes that we should or shouldn’t wear, and the media which we view the uncomfortable narratives of ourselves in.

Imagine that men can create replicas of ourselves, without minds or words or wombs, that are made to fuck, to dominate, and even to love. That men can take our real bodies and objectify them, harass them, abuse, rape, murder, and sometimes dismember them, and have built industries upon this in film, pornography, and gaming worth billions. Imagine a world where our bodies are vessels for rape as a weapon of war, as a warning to oppressed communities because we cannot escape.

And when we voice this, for ourselves and for those that cannot, men mock us and silence us and deflect us whilst they continue to do whatever they want. They turn us, divisively, cleverly, against one another to eat our own alive.

Now imagine a world where women blame us for wanting too much in equal pay. For our looks, our youth, or our age. Where we are despised for our sexual appetites or for our errant husbands. For uttering painful secrets that are stifled until we can bear to speak about the crimes of men. Or for not speaking up, not being responsible for preventing men committing these crimes again. About not knowing better, or knowing too much.

And when we surge, in a hopeful, zeitgeist tide of strength, some of us push back, hard. We are minimised. We are muted. We are again unheard. We are safely crushed into boxes of blame by some of our own.

Why? Because the reality is terrifying: as women the power is not yet ours to take. For some of us, the myth of our own blame makes a world ruled by men seem a safer place.

If we would only shut up.

But we won’t. We will speak louder, we will shout. For all of us.

 

Dark Glitter: The List

Dark Glitter: The List

The List

 

The lies we were told. The mascara that bled. The faces that watched us, loathing, from our mirrors.

The coercion, the shape that we twisted ourselves into that didn’t quite fit, that didn’t feel quite right. But we believed it. We did what we were told.

Now we count them in the shower, on the bus, in the car at traffic lights, by the kettle in the kitchen. The one, and his friend, that I escaped from when I was twenty. When I was too drunk.

The list stacks up.

Why is it so long, this list? This must say something. About me. I must have invited it. I know now, at forty-four, that I am not to blame but misogyny sits so deep in my pores that it is hard to question.

A cup of tea cradled in my hand, my bottom lip chewed. A sliver of skin shredded from it. Still I am counting, checking. I am pierced by the memory of an almost-comic holiday flasher: ha, no way that was my fault.

The time at work, around a table in a meeting. I was younger, and unwell, he was powerful and kept his hand on my chair a palm’s breadth from my vagina for almost an hour.

The family member. A close relative of my partner. The slow run of his eyes up and down my body in his son’s bedroom as we tucked him in. His unflinching gaze, just because he could.

Power.

Anger. A flash in my clenched jaw.

Relief. As I remember another, twenty years before, whispered to a friend whom I didn’t really know. Her response: he had tried to do it to her too. I remember the sting of my judgement, my unspoken, ‘but I’m not like you!’ The blame in my righteousness.

Now I know these are normal, the fingerprints of the deft, accomplished, repeat offender.

Now we are all counting. On buses, in kitchens, in traffic jams, when we wash ourselves a little longer in the shower because, perhaps, we are unclean.

A Twitter friend: You have a list too? I’m sorry.

We are all sorry.

Let there be rage.

 

 

 

 

Dark Glitter: I Have No Words

Dark Glitter: I Have No Words

I Have No Words

 

I didn’t know.’

You are lying.

At what level did you not see?

Must someone be abused, or assaulted, or raped, here, in front of you to know that something is not right, or even wrong? To not listen to the murmurs and rumours, or to question the whispers you overhear?

We are bonded in groups. We inhabit families, religious institutions, entertainment institutions, football teams, political parties, corporations, education and care homes and councils. And all the while in these extended units there is a cancer at the core, and yet people choose to look away.

For there, hidden in plain sight, is abuse by someone at the top who wields weapons of power and fear.

Those of you that don’t see, don’t hear, don’t question, don’t pause for a moment to even wonder are guilty. You enable the abuse and the abuser. As you close the windows, draw the curtains, and shut your comfortable mouths, a crime is committed. As you slumber in your beds and shift between dreams, a life is destroyed.

It becomes an unspoken known, a tacit understanding of ‘X’ and their behaviour: ‘he was angry,’ or ‘he’s just like that,’ or ‘he has certain tastes.’ Or even, ‘I would say something, but…

And worse. It stops being about the victim. Until the victim speaks out.

Then their flesh is shredded. They are pilloried. They are hurtled towards the stake. The blame is unsparing; the fuss they are making, the shit they are taking. Shame, discomfort and guilt prick you, the listener; blame is your deflection. This way, you can continue with your untainted life, and you can continue, once again, to do nothing.

En-masse, however, this is difficult. Collectively, against a surge of victim voice and power, blame cannot be proportioned. Regret and ignorance are assumed in the spotlight.

Denial.

But what didn’t you see, what didn’t you hear? The clues, hints, echoes. Questions you should have asked, conversations you should have pressed. The facts were there, you chose not to see them.

You enabled. You are guilty. And now, you must live with that.

And for those of you that did know but still did nothing? Amid the monstrous Weinsteins and Saviles, and the normal, everyday families in every fucking street?

For those of you, I have no words.