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Speaking Up
September 12, 2010, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Feminism | Tags: , , ,

Just a few days ago, I was in a taxi being driven from an airport in Cairns. The driver and I were having a friendly chat about Cairns, when he mentioned the fact that a female German backpacker was recently assaulted in town. Apparently, she was followed out of a bar and down the road, where she was attacked.

The driver went on to comment about how stupid this woman was, and what did she expect walking home by herself? Well I figure she sure as hell wasn’t expecting to be assaulted in a beautiful Australian town; and just because she perhaps let her guard down, that doesn’t mean she should be judged. It always disturbs me that people will go on about how stupid women are for getting into this sort of situation – shouldn’t we be judging the perpetrators? Why do people always go on about what the woman should have done? About the way the woman should have dressed? Why aren’t we talking about how horrible the people who did this are?

Or, right, because we live in a misogynistic, patriarchal world where victim blaming is the norm. Sigh. It’s something that seems to have been around forever and isn’t going away any time soon. One can feel powerless against it… speechless.

But today I spoke up. I said to the taxi driver “Well, we all do stupid things sometimes but does that mean we should be attacked for it?” That wasn’t much to say, I kept an even tone to my voice and did not reveal the depths of my anger and frustration simply because I didn’t feel it would be a constructive method of changing his viewpoint.

The taxi driver fell silent and I’ll never know if my short little question will make any difference whatsoever, probably not, but I felt proud of myself for speaking up nevertheless. It can be tempting not to comment on these things, one doesn’t want to be a stick in the mud, but I felt so good to have done so and intend to continue to speak up when I get a chance in the future.  Not to preach, but to help put another viewpoint out there.


13 Comments so far
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This attitude makes me sick. If I walk home by myself at night then that’s not ‘asking for it’ that’s just me trying to GO HOME.

I’m all for women knowing everything about defending themselves, how to choose a safer path home etc…but we shouldn’t have to.
Criminals made us have to watch our drinks, our path and our actions…they shouldn’t make US the criminals as well, and other people shouldn’t do it either.

Good on you for calling the guy out, in a polite manner.

The nasty f-word to that!

Comment by Miss Roslyn

Roz, you can say the “f” word here! FARTS! FAAAARTS!

Comment by Nio

By the way, I entirely agree.


Comment by Nio

I hope your comment made him think. Good on you Miss!

Comment by Kitty

Thankyou miss! How are your international adventures going BTW?

Comment by Nio

Taxi drivers get attacked and some are killed. Still, what do you expect if you drive a taxi. Good on you for calling him out on it.

Comment by Jake

Oooh! I totally wish I’d said that to him! Nice!

Comment by Nio

Give ’em hell girly. Don’t be afraid to say what’s inside your head. We’re taught not to rock the boat, but it’s bs and you if have a different point of view say so.

Comment by yeahbutnobutyeahbut

Thanks lady! I’m working on the whole…being a bit more assertive thing so I appreciate that, haha!

Comment by Nio

I thought this was a great article, Ngaio. It’s well and good for us to be feminists in our homes or in our circle of friends, but it takes a bit of willpower to actually act as a representative of that viewpoint when it’s under attack or when it feels socially awkward to do so.

Comment by Wes

I was in a car park the other day, and I saw a sign that said “please do not leave valuables on display in your car.”

These people make me sick. Why aren’t they speaking out against the thieves instead of blaming the victim?

Comment by Alec

Yeah because women are like wallets in cars and rape is like stealing.

The “valuables in the car” argument is a tired, overused, moronic argument used by idiots and fuckwits.

Piss off. Seriously.

Comment by Nio

OK, pissing off.

I still don’t get it, though. Is rape a crime, or isn’t it? I avoid those parts of town where I’m likely to be murdered for my wallet. Why shouldn’t I avoid those situations where I might get raped?

Right. I shall go and unsubscribe. Pity, as I think everything else you’ve said is bang on the nail.

Comment by Alec

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