A Reason to Believe in Feminism
I have for you a tale of feminism in its physical manifestation.
It was only weeks ago that I, a nineteen-year-old girl, sat at a window seat on a bus swindling its way down a road in the city one night. Ere long I felt another’s presence, and turned to find a beefy drunkard leering at me as he stumbled to sit by my side. He had prickly grey stubble covering his weathered cheek; bloodshot eyes and thin lips smacked together as he looked me up and down.
‘How ya going, alright?’ He grunted, and I nodded curtly before stepping away and re-settling myself on a different seat, a couple of rows back. I had smelt the Red Label on his stale breath and seen how his eyes had rested on my breasts, and wanted no part of it. Almost immediately he staggered to his feet and joined me.
‘’Ow old are ya, love?’ He grinned, and I didn’t answer, staring straight ahead and not knowing what to do. It was eleven at night, and this was the last bus; it was near empty, and we were too far away for the driver to know anything was amiss. My stop was at least fifteen minutes away.
Next I felt his fingers clumsily grasping at my hair; he was gazing at me, trying to fix his unstable vision on my face. I slapped his hand away and went to stand up, and he held me in my seat. I felt his grubby hand on my upper thigh and let out a bloodcurdling scream; the hand was withdrawn and the shocked bus driver squealed to a hault.
A woman, quite small, and no older than thirty, had wrenched the drunkard from me and was standing over him, striking blow upon blow, as I sat there sobbing. The man scrambled, crawling towards the open doors as the bus driver stood there, radio in hand, stunned; my saviour kicked the drunkard out of the doors and gently asked me if I wanted to call the police.
Of course I didn’t; and the woman, having instructed the male bus driver to continue on his route, sat next to me with her arm around me and I cried into her shoulder. I won’t pretend to have suffered excessively from this incident; it was just the shock of a stranger literally grabbing my vagina in public. At length I raised my head to realise we were at the end of the line; I assume the woman had missed her stop, and despite it being the last stop, had stayed to comfort me. She proceeded to walk me to my door, despite my reassurance that I was fine.
I guess my tears were partially due to overthinking; what if this incident hadn’t been on a bus? What if I’d been walking, and hadn’t been able to muster that scream; what if the man had been less drunk, younger and more agile? What if? My tears were for the fragility of womankind, and the extent to which we are hunted.
Yes, there is filth in our world; yes, you could have a close call on public transport. But know that there are people, and women, like the one who helped me out. This nameless woman gave me something to aspire to, and a reason to believe in feminism.
More articles in WMC FBomb by Category: Feminism, Violence against women
More articles in WMC FBomb by Tag: Activism and advocacy, Sexualized violence, Sexual harassment, Identity