Today I was in a stationery shop, minding my own business and stocking up on notebooks and glitter pens. A man stood at the till, buying a couple of things, including a ruler. As he was leaving he said ‘thank you’ to the shop assistant, walked towards me, smacked me on the bottom with the ruler, and walked out.
I stood there, gobsmacked.
I never called him a fucking idiot or an arsehole, I didn’t grab the ruler and break it in half over his head and I didn’t punch him in the face.
Of course I should’ve done all of those things. But I didn’t.
I watched him walk away.
‘Why didn’t you wallop him?’ a friend asked afterwards.
‘I don’t know,’ I replied, ‘I just didn’t.’
But I do know. It happened quickly. I wasn’t thinking clearly. I was kind of shocked that someone would do that. And I guess I could’ve gone after him and yelled at him.
But I chose not to.
I didn’t want the confrontation and after all, it was just a smack with a ruler.
However, it brings me to all the people who say – ‘But why didn’t they speak out.‘ Meaning the many women that the pig and predator Harvey Weinstein abused and raped.
Of course they didn’t speak out. He intimidated, bullied, scared, humiliated and shamed them. He made them feel like it was their fault. He was, is, the worst kind of bully.
It’s the same as what happens in our schools. Abuse in South Africa is flipping terrible. Young girls and boys get abused all the time. All. The. Time. There’s a story of 84 children who’ve been molested at a school in Orlando East, Soweto. 84 children between the age of six and nine.
They didn’t speak out either. When they did, nobody believed them. Or they were ignored.
Bullies are terrifying, power is a terrible thing, fear is awful.
So, yes I should’ve walloped the stupid guy with the ruler. I wasn’t scared, hurt or victimised.
But I just couldn’t.
The romantic side of me hopes that young girls are starting to yell out. I hope that they are learning to say No and Stop and Go Fuck Yourself you Fucking Scumbag.
But I fear they are not.
Because power is power and men have it and until women themselves are in a position of equal power, not much will change. If anything, I fear a terrible backlash to the rise that there is in feminism and in women coming out in force and in women trying, as hard as they can, to say No More.
Anyway, all I wanted to say is Harvey Weinstein is scum. The abuser in Soweto is scum.
And also, no-one should ever be allowed to make us feel shame, but also to make us feel bad for not speaking out.
It’s easier said than done.