Woman across Ireland today are despondent & downhearted after yesterday’s verdict. I’ve been unfriended several times on Facebook, as well intentioned folk have explained the law has ruled …bla bla bla.
A not guilty verdict does not mean innocent. I’ve watched tempers flare (my own included!), and every patronising patriarchal attitude rear its ugly head in the aftermath.
As women we are taught from an early age, always go out with a group, don’t be on your own, be careful how you dress. We try not to draw attention to ourselves, try & smile it away as some creep leers at us….in case we provoke him. Submissiveness is not compliance. If you were mugged in the street a judge wouldn’t question you handing your wallet over, for the thief would have your wallet & if you’re lucky you get to live to tell the tale by complying with their demands. Yet, when a woman is raped she has to prove she fought, she screamed. Thankfully in the Republic of Ireland submission isn’t seen like this.
Have you ever frozen in terror? Have you ever walked down an alley for a shortcut to realise you’ve isolated yourself as your heart begins to pound, you quicken your step & as you step into safety you mentally check yourself for taking such a “careless risk”. Women do this all the time. We mentally check what we’re wearing, we don’t want to bring the “wrong kind of attention” our way. When we do wear what we want, other women can be just as vicious in their condemnation. “Did you see the get up of her? She’s ASKING FOR IT”.
I don’t care how you dress. No woman ever wants to be raped. No woman wants to see her knickers handed around a courtroom or listen to the most vile texts from absolute scumbags.
I’m not posting this to get into another argument, I’m weary. As a woman who has seen scandal after scandal in the last few years I’m sick to my back fucking teeth of the patriarchy. I’m tired of being nice. I’ve no more patience with a system that has a massive gender imbalance. Pay gaps still exist. Blatant sexism is still rampant in certain workplaces. Female comedians don’t get booked to support Male acts in case people think they are a couple. Watch the brilliant Maeve Higgins call out Des Bishop on his podcast on his sexism toward her.
Across the Atlantic Harvey Weinstein systematically raped women and used the legal system to his advantage to silence them.
Mary McAleese called out the misogynistic Catholic Church and their attitude to the divine feminine.
The #metoo movement is uniting women across the world and in Ireland the #IBelieveher is uniting us Irish women. God forbid we voice our opinion. We are told we are hysterical. It’s much bigger than the Ulster case. It’s about believing women when they say they have been raped. For those who lie about being raped are in the smallest minority. To be a mother of a teenage daughter in this age of social media shame culture. It is so pervasive. To be in a society where women are still seen as a piece of meat. We need our good men to stand with us. Fathers to educate their sons on how to treat a woman. Mothers to guide their sons on what is acceptable behaviour.
Toxic masculinity; I’m hearing this phrase a lot in the last few weeks. This sense of entitlement. My blood is boiling at those texts. I could cry tears of anger reading them. You calmly tell me the court has made its decision. You don’t get it.
Us women face this bullshit on an ongoing basis. We fight for equality that our voices will be heard. We are standing together in greater numbers. Women stood together across the country today outside courtrooms to say #Ibelieveher , some groups were very small, others had hundreds. We are standing to say, we are sisters. We hear you, we see you and we stand with you. If you have ever been abused, raped , assaulted we believe you. You are worthy. You are enough. You are a fucking queen to go through what you went through & are still here fighting. There’s many a woman that ended her life, rather then the Shame of a court case. We are currently fighting to have a right to have autonomy over our bodies. No more.
I’m fighting. I’m speaking. I’m shouting. I’m standing up for the women who have lost their voices. Together we will be heard. United with good men by our side we will have equality with our menfolk. The divine feminine has been all but erased from history. She is the wise woman that was driven from her village, the sooth sayer with herbal remedies, the medicine woman. The time of reckoning has begun. We are the daughters of the witches you didn’t burn. Patriarchy your time is up.
©️Fiona Ní Mhuirri