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Southside of Glasgow, rape culture and #YesAllWomen

We've all known for a while that I identify as a feminist. But what you might not know is that I live on the southside of Glasgow, and consider myself a proud southsider. I may have not grown up here - or anywhere near Glasgow - but I feel a strong connection to the southside and even if I move to a different flat I'd still very like to keep my feet firmly on this side of the Clyde. So when the news came up on TV that one of the one two many rapes in Glasgow within the past fortnight happened within the near-by area of Govanhill my jaw dropped and it punched me more than these things usually would. But when I was alerted to the These Streets Were Made For Walking event that took place last night I was also filled with a strange pride at where I've chosen to call home, as this wasn't just a feminist issue but also a community one. 

I don't think there's much about my feminist beliefs that I haven't already spoken about personally or shared via an article in my Linkables posts by someone who could say it more eloquently than myself. But this walk was about a particularly huge feminist issue than some people just aren't quite getting: rape is wrong. Women are not sex puppets for men. Women can decide for themselves who they want to sleep with. When a women wears a cute dress it's probably because she thinks the dress is cute, not because she wants your 'compliments' in the form of a degrading whistle. Women can sleep with zero partners within a lifetime or 300, and both are a-okay. Because a women who has had a high amount of sexual partners should never be labelled a slut, and is still entitled to rebuff the advances of any man she doesn't want t sleep with (regardless of the offers she has accepted). Women are not defined by how intact their hymens are because virginity is a bullshit myth with no medical definition. If a women is slurring and struggling to stand up straight after a night at the bar, it means she is too drunk to make the decision about sleeping with someone and should be left alone.

Because women should be able to walk the streets alone at night. In the dark. In a short skirt. Drunk. And not be raped. 

Because it's the year 2014 and we still need to say all this. And us 'fucking killjoy feminists' won't shut up until all these issues can be shelved firmly in the history books. 

I've never been raped. But with the increase of rapes and one of them happening within a half hour distance of my flat, well, you never know. However I know how it feels to be groped in a club. To be wolf-whistled in the street. To jump into a cluster of houses on my way home at night in order to lose the guy who had been waving at me when I turned round to look some hundred yards behind me. To have the drinks on the table spiked when I was not long 18 because me & my friends had the audacity to ignore some guys and then be told to leave the bar - as well as the guys - when we complained. To actually hear guys discussing my outfit right behind me as I got cash out a cash machine (it was this outfit, and they didn't approve). To be told I'm a good looking girl but I don't dress in a way that is attractive to men. Because I know it's easier to pretend one of my male friends is actually my boyfriend in order to rid myself of a suitor at the bar, but also get nagged at after because they only possible reason a male friend would do this is because he fancies me and I'm a bitch for friendzoning him. Or because I know what it's like to have a creep fancy me and not leave me alone (maybe never raped me, but did tell people he was with me and also stormed out a room when another guy started flirting with me). All these incidents mean there are men in this world who don't fully comprehend what consent means.

And as the #YesAllWomen hashtag shows, I'm not alone in these experiences. Rape is the extreme end of the scale but women live in a rape culture everyday where too many men don't fucking understand what consent, or just not being a fucking creep, means. Elliot Rodgers was also the extreme end of the scale but the idea that women owe men sex and are wrong if they 'withhold it' isn't unique to his fucked up male-privileged brain - it's all over the fucking place and women live in a society that perpetuates that idea every single fucking day. 

As Laci Green said "it's not all men, IT'S JUST ONE TOO FUCKING MANY!" (Some of the men in my life are tremendous allies to the feminist movement and that is the reason I fucking love them, however they would never use the #NotAllMen hashtag because they realise it's just making it all about men again, and this is about women and they let women lead this conversation). 

And this is why the walk was so important. It's 2014 kids. And this ends now. Feminism has went mainstream and with good reason. Women are sick of everything I listed above. And despite the anger around these issues (you should see the speed my fingers are typing at) the walk was peaceful despite a crowd that would put football matches to shame. There were women, men, children and dogs. There were different subcultures and different socio-economic classes. There were different races and religions. All to say the same thing - rape is wrong and we shouldn't walk these streets in fear. 

Because rape is wrong. And rape culture is wrong. (Wrong!)

And the walk was a step in the right direction, and I'm proud to have been part of it and how well it did. And it gave me hope that those of us who want rape culture to end can do it. And proud that it shows what the southside is made of. 

Morag x
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