Fair Play or Foul Play – Awaken my Rage against Violence Against Women
I am re-posting this post about a missing woman who was last seen at Queen and Bathurst in downtown Toronto, jumping on her bike. As soon as I saw her photo with her wide smile and two braids I thought of a friend of mine. When I saw where she lived and read that she did art modeling like me, I felt an extra affinity.
I feel a ‘fellowship’ with all women but this woman is very like me. It could have been me. Or my old pal from Toronto. Woman and girls go missing every day and they are of all races and classes and sizes. But this one looks like me and that sort of strikes into my heart a little deeper.
I know it is selfish to feel more empathy for a person who looks like you, but I suppose it is human nature. I can picture my friend hopping on her your bike and heading to .. What happened to her? Where is she?
The thoughts that run through my mind (and the police investigators) are: did she have a crazed ex boyfriend, a weird colleague at work? Was she randomly taken? All these things are possible and have happened recently.
There was a woman in Moncton who was grabbed by a strange man and locked in his basement for a month who escaped and can tell the tale now. There was the woman my age who was stabbed to death early in the morning in the alley a few years ago in Toronto when I was visiting my Mom. They did not know why she had been stabbed and I couldn’t help but think, are middle aged woman being randomly stabbed now? But the murderer turned out to be from her homeland and resentful of her position as manager at their workplace.
Obviously I don’t need to look for specific examples of women killed by their ex spouses.
We are always sort of hoping that our actions and our style of living is the right one for survival. We may not say it aloud when we read the news but a quiet voice is saying, ‘I would have avoided that’. It helps us feel safe. But when a fearless strong trusting woman disappears, it sends a shadow over me.
I know there is threat of violence at all times. Women live with that as a constant. It is our underlying reality. It is always there.
Recently I have had a person calling and hanging up the phone at any hour night and day. If I stayed on the line, they stayed for a while and then hung up. I never talked. I remembered what a police man had told me long ago, that if they don’t say your name then they probably don’t know where or who you are. But it still made me feel under surveillance and harassed.
Eventually I convinced my husband that this was something other than an electronic automatic call gone weird. He could see that it was beginning to upset me. He started answering the phone every time it rang and the calls stopped. A male voice was all I needed.
When the calls were day and night I started looking over my shoulder; what man around my neighborhood had been looking at me weirdly. There was the skinny dude looking me up and down at the gas station… Does he think I need to be taught a lesson? Too confident in my body? Is there a man who has become obsessed or decided he hates me? Enough to harass me?
If a man is attracted to you but hates you, you could be in big trouble.
My effect on misogynists is almost immediate. As soon as they see me they don’t like me and I smell them as soon as they walk in the room. I watch and wait for the signs. How quickly do they demean a women in my presence. Do they always turn to the man in the room when they speak? Do they sort of sneer when I talk? Do I see in their eyes the distinct critical light of a man who feels uncomfortable with my body language?
Ever since I was a young woman I take this as an invitation for a fight. Especially when I was a hot tempered young 20 year old I would speak my mind and speak it clearly and see how they reacted. I remember a very big man arguing with me about something at a party and eventually he was looming over me as I sat on a chair below him. I pointed out his body language to him, ‘look at you showing how much bigger and stronger than me you are’!
His face went all red and he left the room. A bright red face in an argument meant I had won. I took it as a flag of triumph if a man who thought he was superior to me would get all red in the face when arguing with me. I would think to myself, well, aren’t you all upset because I have not agreed with you.
If a man tries to push me about I stand up as strong as I can. If there is the presumption that I should be too scared to look him in the eye. That is what I do. I look him in the eye.
I puff up like an angry cat that will not be brought down easily. I swear to God that if I am ever raped and murdered, if that is the way I am going to die, I am going down fighting. I will fight til I die. I will not go down quietly. I will knee the groin and stomp the top of the foot, I will poke eyes out and jam my hand in the throat. I will do some goddamn damage. Just so you know.
I am not weak and I will fight to the death. That is what I start thinking about when I hear of a fifty year old woman disappearing. All of us women do.
For any man that does not know that this is the reality of a woman’s life no matter what race or class or religion or part of the world she lives in, take note! This is what we live with when we bravely go to work at night or lock the doors and close the windows of our apartment at night when it would be nice to let in the breeze.
These are the roaming thoughts of a sister. I hope that Kit Currie is alright. As a woman, my immediate thoughts are of ‘foul play’. Foul Play, what a term. Like there are rules in this game that was not written by or for women. Foul play: unfair or treacherous conduct especially with violence; not playing by the rules of the game.
My deepest wish is that she had a bit of a break down and will be alright soon. Have strength. Fair play to you. Please don’t be another victim of male rage.