Tuesday, May 17

The men who didn’t help the women

On the way to the Montreal airport on a city bus, I found this:

For those who do not speak French, this sign informs of a service for women traveling alone at night, specifically, stopping between stops. You inform the driver, and he makes the extra stop so you can get home safer. It has been offered since 2004. In Spain we are also a little behind, but it is beginning to be offered as well. Cities like San Sebastián, Bilbao, Valencia, Alicante make these extra stops, they call it pink stops or purple stops.

In my social networks, when sharing the photo, there have been mixed feelings about this service, from those who are happy about it to those who say that its existence is a bit insulting, why do we have to modify our behavior to be safe? . Most of the girls who have written to me were unaware of the service (some residents of the cities mentioned). And even this is what has caught my attention, they don’t want to use it because they don’t want to bother the driver with his request or the ones that having asked for a stop, the driver has simply ignored them.

Coming back alone at night is not a new modern drama, the keys in your hands in case there is an attack, going through lighted streets, constantly looking back, changing the sidewalk if someone comes from behind, going with your cell phone so that they think you can notify someone… we have many strategies in case something happens.

But what if it happens?

“A man was following me down the street, I got scared and started walking fast. Seeing some police officers nearby, I approached them. They gave me a dirty look, and asked me what I wanted. I told them that someone was following me, they looked at me badly and did nothing.

“The other day I got into a taxi crying because a man was chasing me, the taxi driver asked me where I was going and if we were waiting for my “friend”. I told him to start now, that the man was harassing me. The taxi driver calmly pulled away and didn’t say another word to me, while I hyperventilated. Zero empathy.

“When I was 18 a man touched my breasts in the middle of the street, I started screaming like crazy and nobody did anything. It was three or four in the afternoon.

“On my 18th birthday, my ex-boyfriend and I argued a lot, he pushed me and wouldn’t let me go. I ran to a taxi and told him to please take me, the taxi driver said no and left.

“A man was following me down the street, I was so scared that even though my house was close, I went into a nearby bar crying. The waiters gave me a dirty look, until the man who was following me started pounding on the door.”

They are all testimonials that have reached my Instagram. I have many more and the most chilling thing is that we are harassed since childhood or adolescence. Many of them happened when you were between 12 and 14 years old.

Why, if we clearly need help, is it denied us?

Moreover, it seems that here prevention is a nuisance, if nothing has happened, if no one has assaulted or raped you (yet), shut up, lest we bother with our need to be safe. she was talking to Desiree Bela that it is very perverse that those who are in charge of our security are often men who have neither training nor sensitivity to our needs.

I don’t know how many times they have told me “shut up, otherwise it will be worse” you have to shut up when they follow you on the street masturbating, you have to shut up when they call you a whore when you don’t want to have anything to do with that person, you have to shut up when they exhibit in front of you his genitals, you have to shut up because if not, it will be worse. And I, who many times have not been silent, corroborate that it is worse.

They taught us to run away, they taught us to keep our heads down, they taught us that if something happens, we are alone, and we learned everything. We learned to feel helpless.

The irony of all this is that we also learned to feel shame and guilt for feeling vulnerable, for not being able to stand up for ourselves.

As a woman who has had to return alone in the wee hours of the morning when eight euros in a taxi were a luxury, I don’t want to do activism at night. I don’t know if the motto “alone and drunk, I want to get home” represents me, I think it’s not necessary to go that far; just alone, I want to get home.


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