Dinner Party Talk

My father was at a dinner party when Weinstein discussions arose.

The man next to my father, who he had known for years, shared his views. He believed that women referencing #metoo were making false claims for either attention or financial benefits.

The table just listened until my father calmly spoke up. He reminded his old friend that the woman he called a great friend, my mother, had been seriously affected when a stranger flashed her on the tube. He explained that the little girl he’d seen grow beyond the school gates, had been attacked by a man she didn’t even know. He reminded them that a male friend of theirs had endured a terrible experience at school. My father asked him whether he felt the same about these stories.

That man, his friend, was drunk and couldn’t be wrong. Instead he threatened to punch my father in the face and left.

The people at that party were hurt and upset, especially my father.

Everyone should have awareness of harassment from men and woman towards both genders. It’s something that happens and unfortunately to most people you know.

Things can only change if we are aware that they need changing.

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Watching the news

Often on the way back from work I’ll read a paper or look at the news on my phone.

Sometimes I see stories that remind me of what happened in April.

For example today – reading about an attacker who has been harassing and assaulting women for months. Had he been caught already how many other women would have been saved from these feelings?

I’m proud that I came forward and helped to protect, despite the discomfort, self doubt and what the people around me experienced.

In light of Weinstein discoveries I want to remind women of the importance of coming forward. Eventually this person will be caught out. If not today then tomorrow or in years like Weinstein. They’ll always have some punishment eventually.

#metoo #sexualassault #survivor #sisters #assault #speak #report

Coping

I was very lucky with my school and they often did workshops to make us think about the wider world and the society we were a part of. I remember one of these workshops very well.

A man talked to us about hiding emotions and how the people around us might be dealing with more than they appear to be. He used ‘masks’ for the face he showed to the outside world but spoke about how he was truly feeling.

I’ve known for a while now that I find it far easier to smile and laugh than let other people know that I’m unhappy. Perhaps my mask.

I was thinking to myself what might my coping mechanisms be?

I find that I spend a lot of time online, on my phone and posting photos.

I find it very difficult to be alone, although I have tried to find time to practice being comfortable by myself. It’s difficult to sleep at night if my boyfriend or a friend isn’t in the same room.

I make jokes about everything and try to laugh at everything, which I feel helps but might not.

I also get quite anxious at parties or at social occasions, even with close friends, and sometimes I find that I drink too much if I feel uncomfortable.

I feel that I’ve overcome it all well but it’s also probably good to acknowledge the things I do that probably aren’t helping.

#anothergirl #coping #survivor #masks

A Years Reflection

Every year I go to the same place this time of year to relax and unwind with my family. Every year I think about everything that has happened between visits. This year seems like a huge one.

This time last year I had just graduated and was still on a high having gone straight in to an exciting job. I had a long-term boyfriend I trusted and had no health problems to think of. 

The day after I left here it all changed. I received my diagnosis of an adenoma and a few days later my relationship had crumbled. I spent the next three months battling an aray of emotions I can’t even explain. It emerged that the man I trusted had been creuly cheating and sharing intimate details of my condition throughout the city I had once loved to share with him.

Thinking back to that time and the other things I’ve overcome this year is terrible. 

But then i consider how much I’ve learnt about myself and how much I have now. I got through all of that, including the events of April, with a strength I didn’t even know I had.

A year on I am loved and fully supported by a man I adore, I have wonderful friends (some of which I’ve travelled the world with), I love my job and my health has already improved so much.

Ultimately in this last year I’ve had some terrible and difficult times but I’ve come out so much happier and stronger from the experiences.

Identity 

Identity is a funny thing. Many things add to or change it. Lots of it you’re born to or develops through the choices you make. Other times it’s an event.

I feel that April 1st has done something to my identity. The other night I was out with friends, meeting people I’d never met, but they seemed to know me. Often I see a look in someone’s face when they realise how they’ve heard of me. 

It’s not my choice or my actions but it has added something to me. 

Time

Since the sentencing I’ve been relieved. That’s the biggest feeling I’ve felt. 

But occasionally I have moments of deeper thought.

In Australia people receive seven years for one punch. 

So why does a man in the UK receive 5 years for pushing a defenceless woman to the ground and assault? 

Five years is enough time to change a life but I find myself hoping it’s enough time for him. 

Meeting Strangers

I’ve recently decided to take my independence and freedom back and go travelling. 

Whilst travelling you meet a lot of new new people. This has been good for me and let me remember that strangers are very rarely monsters. 

However there have been a few comments that struck a chord and reminded me of what happened.

Firstly talking to a man who said he believed that the majority of assault victims cry wolf for attention or to relieve themselves of the label ‘Slut’.

And secondly a lovely man who told me of a time he felt uncomfortable when a friend leant in to kiss him. He told me that he ‘froze’. He said he could understand the stories of assault victims who felt helpless or like they couldn’t get away. 

Neither of these men knew my story but it showed me the variety of views people have.