Silent but Deadly
13km, I thought to myself. I just walked 13 fucking kilometres – I’m a bloody champion. Why the hell am I relying on this piece of shit to help me?
Those who know me will attest to the fact that cardio is nowhere on my list of things to do. And now, neither was the lifeless body lying in the bed across the room, legless and smelling of piss. I sat on the floor sobbing, bleeding and swollen, yet on he slept with no plans to wake up anytime soon.
The unresponsive chump sprawled across the bed was my boyfriend. Unfortunately though, Fairytales apparently don’t start with two idiots bonding at a costume party over a love for spiced rum and their matching Alice in Wonderland dresses. “Silent but deadly” was a phrase I was all-too-familiar with thanks to him warming the winter nights with the rumble of his butt cheeks, but I never thought the phrase could be applied in a serious context. That night, however, he was silent, and it was deadly.
I travel a lot, and to perceived “dangerous” places too. I’m constantly getting lectures from friends, family and even strangers telling me to be careful. But I never expected anything to happen at home. It wasn’t a thought that had even crossed my mind.
The two strangers towered over me and got up real close to my face. I could smell the cheap tobacco on their breath, the overpowering stench of cologne. I didn’t know who they thought they were impressing, but it sure as hell wasn’t me.
“Where ya going, love?”
“Home – almost there.”
“You shouldn’t be out so late, alone too. Got ya phone on ya?”
“Aww, let us hold ya hand and walk ya then. We gotta be gentlemen, don’t we? Come on, give us ya hand then.”
As I marched on forward ignoring their taunts and teasing, it was me who was accused.
“Stop being a tease – you’re asking for it. Look at you.”
I pulled away and insisted I wasn’t interested, but before I knew it, I was skidding along the pavement on my arse. Not even my often-joked-about oversized booty could cushion this fall; the salty taste of fresh blood dripped into my mouth and my head pounded.
I had just been mugged and assaulted on my way home.
Unable to wake my boyfriend, I slept on the floor of his room with a Zooper Dooper pressed to my cheek, tears quietly rolling down my face and staining the carpet with a puddle of insecurity and shame. All he had mumbled at me were drunken mutters and a slur of blame-shifting.
“It’s your fault – you shouldn’t have walked home alone.”
And although I know he didn’t mean it, it hurt. It still hurts.
As Beyoncé Untouchable as you might think you are, the devastation I experienced can happen to anyone, anywhere – not just while frolicking around the streets of Columbia spinning off cheap bags of coke or riding your scooter through Bali helmetless, drunk and in nothing but a bikini.
And wherever it happens, it is most definitely not your fault.
Instead of victim blaming, we need to empower women and celebrate their strength and resilience. Plus – it not just girls who are at risk of falling victim of crime. Though statistics show females are three times more likely than males to being assaulted, men have a higher chance of being robbed. Blaming the victims leaves them feeling responsible for whatever monstrous, inexcusable act has been inflicted upon them, and damages their personal perceptions and confidence. Do we really want to spread the message that it is unsafe for females to live their lives with independence? I think not.
Everyone ends up in the gutter at some point. There is danger everywhere – your hometown, foreign cities, even your own house, but you can’t let fear stop you from living. I could have crawled home with blood-stained tissues dangling from my nostrils and vowed to never leave the house after dark again. Instead, I matched my outfit to my bruised face for a few weeks, and went out with the girls looking like I was a little early for Halloween.
Cover by Huang Wing