In those days of festivities, joy and happiness a bad news just stroke me. On New Year’s Eve in Cologne, Germany, more than 90 women (numbers are expected to grow in any hour) were sexually assaulted by a group of men standing in the main square. They first throw loads of fireworks, even against people, and they took advantage of the chaos for assaulting as many women as they could.
What happened is seriously wrong for many reasons, but the first one is that no one was ready to protect those women. They were assaulted, they were palpated, some of them raped and no one was there to defend them. Plus what is worst is that it happened right here, in the heart of Europe and not in some Third World Country.
I never experienced something so serious, but I can tell you what everyday a normal girl can experience in her life in a perfectly civilized (or a claimed so) country as Italy.
I can’t count the number of times a man gave me THAT look. It’s difficult to describe it but any women reading now knows which kind of look I’m talking about. It’s the kind of look a man does when he wants to let you know that if you weren’t on the street he would rip your clothes off and do anything he wants with your body. The “funny” thing is that they ALWAYS think it’s just a game and that you are always a consenting part of it. They don’t realize that they’re scaring the shit out of you, because in their sick mind you want them as much as they want you.
I’ve been followed a couple of times and it wasn’t fun at all. Just like my friends who experienced the same thing, I had to call someone to ease the anxiety and to try to feel safe. Did you ever felt that “if I don’t run I don’t know what they’ll do of me?”.
I can’t count the times I made the simple mistake of walking in the wrong direction and meet somebody I didn’t have to meet. Classic “wrong place in the wrong time”. Since I’m sure somebody is thinking about it I will leave no space to doubts: NO, I WAS NOT WEARING PROVOKING CLOTHES. As any of this would matter if they (or he) really wanted to assault me. It’s actually a more subtle way of offending you, maybe they don’t even touch you, but they call you names and make you feel dirty anyway. They would tell you horrible things and all you can do is walk away.
Men have to learn that even a “Bella!” screamed with a devious voice and the wrong look can be as offensive as an assaulting caress. Deal with it.
I can’t count the times I had to change road, cross the street, change sidewalk, put on my hood, make myself as invisible as I could in order to avoid all this. And I know it might sound as this is not that much of a deal, but feeling unsafe in your own streets IS a big deal.
So can we please make 2016 the year where finally women will feel safe to walk alone on the streets? Can all servicemen and servicewomen help us fulfill this dream?
Thanks for reading