‘Not All Men’- Mrs Wilcock

Life can be difficult in so many ways, and it is important that we all have ways of dealing with the stresses and frustrations. As an adult, I have learnt to do just that:  I read, cook, paint.  I walk, I definitely talk, and I am lucky that understanding my own needs means I am rarely overwhelmed by emotions I cannot process.  That does still happen of course, and when it does I have to fall back on the coping mechanism I have used since I was a child – writing poetry.  I know, it sounds lame, but there you go.   I have no better talent for it now than I did 30-odd years ago, but the ability to distil into a few words a hurricane of emotions is nonetheless a release.

This week I have been following the news of the first missing, later murdered woman, Sarah Everard.  There is little information available as I write, but it appears she was walking home from a friend’s house along a well-lit path one evening when she was abducted.  I found myself full of rage, as have many women, that in the past 30 years there seems to have been so little progress in the safety of women.  I worked for a number of years at Women’s Aid Ipswich (Now Lighthouse) and now as a teacher of Psychology and Sociology I am engaged in understanding what society can and must do to make women safe. I believe the first step is to open the conversation amongst all men and women and hashtag #NotAllMen is a good starting point.

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Not all men; nearly all women

Here is the result of my rage.  You don’t have to like it, but I hope it starts a conversation.

Not all men 

It’s not all men, they say.

I know! Just show me the ones I should avoid, if you would. 

It’s not all men, they say.

Great!I Would you teach my daughter when she can safely let her guard down?

It’s not all men, they say.

Of course! Remind me, how will I know which men on the late train will leave me alone, or when I should chose a different carriage?

It’s not all men, they say.

Obviously! So I don’t have to smile and reply to strangers in the street to avoid upsetting them?

It’s not all men, they say.

I know that! So I can take a cab or get on the bus and never be afraid of my choice?

It’s not all men, they say.

Thank goodness! So women can return home to their partner safely, I presume?

It’s not all men, they say.

Clearly! So girls can dress how they like, walk any route, live without modifying their behaviour?

It’s not all men, I say.

But until it’s not all women, forgive me if I act as though it is. 

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