Recently I’ve been feeling quite uncomfortable around some of the most prominent men in my life, because of certain conversations I’ve had with them about feminism, LAD culture, rape culture, etc. I’ve been quite annoyed at myself for feeling this way because they’re really good friends and just because they have different opinions than I do doesn’t mean that they’re wrong, or that they’re going to hurt me in some way. Regardless of all the logic I can muster on the topic, I’ve not felt at all safe in my usual safe places – Keele, Liverpool, even private conversations – and I’ve not known what to do.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to come up with a solution: one was handed to me pretty much on a plate. My good friend Victoria Taylor (KeeleSU President, re-elected last Wednesday, praise tha Laaaawd) decided to organise a bus to ferry a dozen or so of us Keele ladies (and my friend, Concourse News Editor, and active feminist Patrick) over to Manchester for Reclaim The Night, a march in protest of sexual harassment and violence towards women. We walked through the streets chanting, having fun, and most importantly – feeling safe. Our group joined the second block of the march – the mixed gender block, called by the organisers ‘the allies’. There were women and men alike, making noise in protest of the things that worry me and keep me up at night, in solidarity against the injustices of how low the rape conviction rate is.
I’ve not been well, mostly from a mental health point of view, for a while now. And it’s probably going to be a long up-hill battle to get back to where I was during first and second year of my undergraduate degree. I’ve got two dissertations to write, on top of two other modules’ worth of work and reading. Despite Natalie being elected as the next Concourse Editor, I’ve still got a magazine to run and a Student-Led Service to head-up, for a few months. I’ve still got to balance some sort of social life, seeing my family, as well as being a good Residence Support Assistant, as well as working behind the bar as a senior member of staff… because I’m pretty broke.
All of that worries me too, but at least I’m not feeling so terrible around men anymore, and I have a bit more faith in humanity after Thursday night.