It's not about you

Our newest favourite thing on Netflix is a show called Sex Education. Set in England, or maybe Wales (the location is never specifically mentioned) revolving around Otis who is your mostly typical teenage boy who is trying to figure it all out. His mom is a famous sex therapist (played by the amazing Gillian Anderson) and so he has to deal with that as well. There is a strong supporting cast of variously accented people. 

In last nights episode, one of the characters is assaulted while taking the bus to school. At first, she thinks nothing of it, then it begins to affect her in many different ways.

I don't want to give too much of the storyline away. It is a great series. Funny and touching. One of the plotlines within this story involves a group of teenaged girls sharing their experiences with other unwanted attentions. 

It struck a little close to home. I don't think I know any women of my age group or above that don't have a story of something wrong happening to them. Over the summer I was having a conversation with a male friend of mine. He had been out late earlier in the week and was walking back to his car a woman was walking ahead of him in the same direction. He was recounting with disbelief how she kept walking faster and glancing over her shoulder at him. He didn't understand how he could have been mistaken as a threat. It took me a minute to put a logical thought together. How do you tell someone who hasn't felt unsafe when alone about the rules for women. I have written before about some of the unspoken rules we have. I have never given them a second thought. Nor have I ever given a thought to how they impact men. 

Honestly, I don't really think that a man getting offended when I hold my keys in a certain way matters. I can't say I am actively afraid in this situation, I just know that I need to be protected. I know that a lot of people in response would say NOT ALL MEN. And, yes not all men are looking to perpetuate any kind of crime. But we women can't afford to only protect ourselves sometimes. So maybe as we educate our girls about the steps we need to take to not become victims we also need to educate our boys to watch for predatory behaviour in other men. We also need to teach them that it is not about them necessarily that a woman in the dark quickens her pace, but about something that happened to the woman. It isn't always about them. 

I really hope that there is a time when I don't subconsciously park under the street light, or that I don't feel the need to tell my husband where I am going, and how long I am expecting to be there. Or to text him when I get somewhere and am leaving it. I hope that daughter doesn't have to teach her daughters (if she has any) the steps that I taught her, that my mother taught me. We need to do it together though. Without worrying about how it makes someone feel.

This is Aimee. The character that brought this topic to my mind. 


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