Posts Tagged sexual harassment

Your voice

Often times, attracting men starts with one of your most basic assets: your voice. We could speculate that men like smooth voices, velvety voices, sultry voices, but the truth is, we don’t have a lot of control over how we sound. We can try not to squeak and up-speak (asking questions at the end of all sentences) or stammering and being sheepish…

Oh who am I kidding? Did you think for one minute this post was going to be about your pipes? Of course I care more about what you say then how you sound saying it. Especially to men.

Voice came into sharp focus these past two weeks, with revelations about Jimmy Savile’s sexual harassment — and the various parties that helped facilitate his actions or to cover them up. Where were the voices, we ask? The halls of the BBC, the Stoke Mandeville hospital — they should have sounded like Greek Choruses. But they didn’t. People were mute. Women were mute. Victims? Many mute, or worse, unheard. Why?

The Savile debate has been heated and layered. We’ve heard people point out that, dead, he cannot defend himself. That stripping his knighthood now is largely perfunctory. Other voices counter by asking who defended his victims, and express a desire to ensure his ‘legacy’ is honest. Perhaps the most troubling topic is how people measure the severity of his abuse. Some qualify his actions as perverse and puerile, but ultimately, not as severe as the full-on abuse that others insist occurred. And that’s what got me thinking.

Women, for a long time, have been made to believe that our anatomy is fragile and something to be ashamed of. People have talked about the internal nature of our sex, the fact that we can be ‘penetrated’. There’s a new celebration of vaginas (more on this to come), so perhaps we’re making progress, but I can’t help to think that if we demystified our sex, toughened it up, so to speak, just regarded it simply as a part of our anatomy, then shame and disgust would not force us into silence. Society wouldn’t be so tempted into a metaphorical cover up.

Now, to be clear, it’s not just any piece of anatomy. I can do without my little toe. I cannot live without a system that gives life and pleasure and love. But bear with me — if Jimmy Savile approached you in his spangley sex pest trackie bottoms and whacked you in the arm, you’d say — loudly — ‘WTF?’ You’d probably ask other people if they saw. You might even instinctually whack him back in the same place. Harder.

But you wouldn’t hold onto that experience and let it shape you.

Too many of us have that lascivious relative who asks us when we’re small to sit on his stiffening lap. Too many of us have been groped in public. Too many of us have just swallowed it, felt like our insides are on display and let it ruin our day — if not a week, month, year or lifelong psychology.

Do not mistake me. Being pulled into a closet, tricked into a flat, being molested, entered and/or raped is a trespass beyond imagination. Sexual predators play psychological games that shame us into submission. So does a misogynistic system. I am not blaming any victims.

What I am saying is that regardless of scale, like being whacked in the arm, we know abuse when we feel it. Let’s hear that ‘WTF?’ And if some ignorant, saggy-bosomed nurse sits at your bedside and tells you to keep schtum when Uncle Jimmy comes to visit, rap her right in those institutional tits and tell her to do one.

Find your voice. There is nothing too fragile about us to fight back.

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