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  • Writer's pictureEleanor Barr-Sim

The Week Commencing 8th March 2021

Updated: Mar 18, 2021

Monday 8th March – International Women’s Day.

Women are celebrated, achievements acknowledged, stories told. The world discusses how far we’ve come and what there is still to be done. Who knew that the holes in our society would be presented in the very same week in which women were shown support...

Tuesday 9th March – a woman goes on international television to tell her story. To share her deepest wounds and the biggest fears for her family. The next day, she is not believed. She is accused of things out of her control. People, without any right, try to override her words to write their own story.

The situation with Meghan Markle and the reaction of the media and a large amount of the public is truly upsetting. Some people can’t bear to see her other than a money grabbing, attention seeking, opportunistic, American hag. And you know what, maybe she is. Maybe she’s been out to take Harry away from his family and get herself into the papers. But when someone discusses a mental health breakdown, a state of such fragility that suicide is considered, surely that has to be believed? Surely, human to human you could do her the decency to believe her words, her pain. And, to those that don’t… I would think you’ve led a very privileged life to never understand the necessity of stable mental health. I hope you never have to feel such pain or to ever have to watch a friend or family member crumble. Would you want them to be believed? And, you must carry such privilege to not understand the severity of a white family questioning the colour of your child. Whether it was innocent or not, is not a question. A question in innocence exposes a lack of understanding, which one could accept if there was a open line of education and growth to be had. Otherwise, that innocence holds a greater threat.

`Oh but, she’s an actor. She knows when to take pauses, how to use intonation and tone to tell her story, how to spark the tears just at the right moment.` Doesn't being an actor only give her the tools to tell a very difficult story. Surely it's not something to be pinned against her?

As an actor myself, I truly hope that if I ever, for whatever reason, had to share with the press any suicidal thoughts that I might have had, the fact I’m an actor would not discredit my statement. To use Meghan Markle’s previous job title as a reason to not believe proves that she cannot ever win. Too emotional and she’d be called hysteric. To show no emotion, she’d be a cold witch. And as she held herself with dignity, composure and a moment of vulnerability, she is the great actor.

Wednesday 10th March – a woman’s body is discovered having been kidnapped and murdered. Women are told to stay indoors at night. Women are told they are the victim and the reason for the crimes committed against them.

This level of crime, misogyny and control over women has sparked huge reaction from every woman across the world. We mourn for the loss of Sarah Everard, we support her friends and family, sharing our thoughts and prayers. We implore the men around us to take some responsibility. To come forward to protect women and call out inappropriate and potentially dangerous behaviour when comes to it.

'Oh, but not all men!' Oh, but how are we meant to know?

When the cry of men not wishing to be blamed for misogyny is louder than the grief for the loss of a woman, there’s not much hope out there. We know it’s not all men, we all have brothers, fathers, dear friends who do not condone such behaviour but in crowd how can we see a friend from a dangerous foe? In fact, it’s actually more likely for the friend to be the foe, as 93% of women have been sexually assaulted by a man they know.

Let’s play a game. I give you 6 Maltesers. 1 of them is made of dog s**t wrapped in chocolate. Which Malteser would you trust? Could you tell? Would you, in fact, be suspicious of all until proven otherwise?

We are constantly made to be the problem in the scenario. We are our own enemy. We get ourselves assaulted and killed… We have to self-police. Moderate everything; what we wear, how much we drink, how we exercise, how we get home. It's a job we didn't ask for and we're done with it.

It is also necessary to recognise that cases involving trans women or women of colour happen more often and without nearly as much press coverage. Let's be reminded it's also the year anniversary since the murder of Breonna Taylor. Justice has not been served. We must continue to fight until it is.

All I can say is, thank god the clocks are changing soon, and the summer evenings will start rolling in so that women can feel safer on the streets for longer.

Saturday 15th March – A peaceful vigil takes place.

Expect it does not. It is not allowed. Under the smoke screen of Covid and lockdown restrictions a peaceful vigil, that was due to take place at 6pm on Clapham Common to mourn the loss of Sarah Everard, may she rest in peace, is not allowed. That’s one thing. One thing that I suppose, makes sort of sense. But wait, wasn’t there a big rugby match the other day? Weren’t the supporters of the winning team striding through town, in a big crowd, breaking lockdown restrictions? This was allowed. And, what were the police doing? Weren't they striding alongside them, allowing the supporters to do whatever they wished? Oh yes. And what took place in Clapham Common to the women who decided to attend a vigil? The flowers that were laid for Sarah and for all the women who men have killed were disrespectfully trampled on. Women were arrested. And what was a peaceful vigil, of women standing side by side, becomes seen as a gathering of criminals. The disparity is despicable.

We’ve also learnt that the government are trying to pass a law that would make any protest illegal. Meaning anyone who is not in parliament but still want their voices heard, to fight for their rights will be treated as a criminal. Another dash of salt in the wound that this government causes over and over.

Like the Suffragettes who protested for women’s right to vote, we will not be silenced.

Sunday 14th March– Happy Mother’s Day!

We go full circle. We are back to supporting, uplifting and loving women! We commend Mother’s across the world for all they’ve taught us. The world they paved for us.

But will people respect all women like they respect their mothers?

It’s been really challenging. Incredibly exhausting and painful to see the misogyny that’s taken place in a week. To read the endless stories from dear friends sharing their most painful memories, stories that I can relate to, for they’ve happened to me as well. And for this week to be bookended by celebration, is a bitter irony.

It’s exhausting to be a woman. To have the mental strength to always be on guard, looking for the threat at every corner. Our pain is not believed, and our lives are at risk every time we leave the house.

To all my sisters out there. I love you. I’m here for you.

To all my brothers, thank you for your support and protection over the years.

To those that uphold the misogyny within our patriarchal society. Do the work. Look at yourself and others to see if you are the problem. Do something about it. It’s life and death.

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