29 October 2019

Rounding off the awful night underground

I had felt really unhappy one Thursday Nighter trip due to some unchallenged misogyny. And the week after there were only four of us. The topic didn't come up. I tried a few times to talk about it; I had felt bad about everyone pretending nothing had happened the week before, and I wanted to break that silence. But it never really worked. So I was still left with this unpleasant feeling. And I wanted rid of it! I wasn't sure though how. I pondered.

On Friday my sister phoned. She had read my blog! And was worried. That was sweet of her. And she wondered if I wasn't taking it to a much higher level than I should. As far as the men were concerned, it was probably just a remark and a reaction. And well yes, I was bringing the whole world into it. For me it was just one symptom of worldwide rape culture! And I didn't want the men to just take my feelings into consideration; I wanted them to understand how awful rape culture is and fight it everywhere they go. But maybe that was just setting myself up to fail. She suggested I may be trying to convert them. Well, I was! And she asked me how it would go if they would try to convert me. I suppose, to the standpoint that it was 'just a joke'. It wasn't going to happen! So what does that tell you?

I thought about it a bit more. And then I decided to write an open letter. And I wouldn't bring the whole world into it; just me. I wanted to make it clear how alone and outcast I had been feeling and how much of that was still lingering. And how difficult I found it to speak out again and again and always be dismissed. And that I wouldn't cope with another night like the awful one.

When I had Phil and Chris visiting anyway I asked them if I could run my draft past them. And they said that was OK! And so I did. They pointed out a few things I could improve on and then I sent it out. It felt better! Now I would never have to explain myself again. Not from zero, anyway.

Soon I got a positive response. And then late in the evening I got another one. And Phil and Chris kept in touch; how was it going? David knew about it and didn't have to reply; he sees me often enough to say whatever he has to say in person. And then I also got a message of support from the wife of one of the blokes. That was sweet!

That was all response I had by the time I wrote this. So a fair few ThursdayNighters have not responded at all. But I'm sure they've read it. And maybe they'll be a bit more alert to the situation the next time I call out a misogynist remark! I'm glad about how it panned out. I think I'll feel better during my next trip...

No comments: