“I have something I need to tell you” my friend said to me. We were walking through the old town. It was her last night in this place. She was going home a few days later, to work at a great new job she’d managed to find.
“Last year I was attacked on my way home. I was walking up the stairs, from Unamuno plaza to Uribarri, and a man attacked me. He was touching me all over. I fought him off. I ran.
“Afterwards I couldn’t study. I didn’t go out. I only told my housemate”
The bottom fell out of my stomach. Horrible. Horrible. My friend had suffered, and she hadn’t told me. She hadn’t said anything.
Our immediate reaction is to make our loved one’s pain about us. Of course she couldn’t tell me. She was overwhelmed. I understood.
I asked her if she reported it and everything. She said she did.
“The police were great some times, other times not. They showed me photos and I had to identify the guy [who was non-European]. All the photos showed men with bruises on their faces. I think that the police had already beat them up.”
Men leave their home countries looking for a better life. Unable to progress or get decent work, they attack women to support their bruised masculinity. Then the police systematically abuse those men. Then they attack us more.
The circle of violence continues.
1 in 6 women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
Men don’t realise this as this is our locker room talk, how to avoid being raped (Clue: there is no way to avoid it as we are not responsible for the sexual violence that we suffer. We survive psychologically under a mixture of denial of how bad the problem is or the notion that we can in some way control it)