Sunday, 26 April 2015

Would you report it?


While browsing on YouTube, an advert popped up by tfl about unwanted sexual advances on the Tube. It shocked me. Why? Well, the obvious fact that it's disgusting that some people think their entitled to you, but also for another reason:

It's happened to me before.

First of all, watch the 1 minute video by clicking here

The things which leave the greatest impact on you are those which you can relate to the most. So when I watched this, it surprised me that this fleeting moment (which felt as though it lasted an eternity when it happened) had literally been pushed to the very back of my mind. I didn't want to think about it. But when I saw this, it was all I could think about. I asked myself: why didn't I report it? Why didn't I feel like it was necessary to tell anyone this?

I've decided it's two things: Fear that nobody will take you seriously, and a fear that you seem small, and unable to protect yourself. It's self-deprecating thing, a horrible thing. But one which happens.

I guess I should tell you how it happened: It was two years ago. I was at a local concert with a bunch of friends (I was 17 at the time), and there was a man in his 20's standing behind me with his arm around another girl, his girlfriend I suppose. I noticed he moved beside me and stood quite close. Odd, I thought, but it was a tightly packed area so it was bound to happen. He moved back to his spot behind me. As the area filled with the sound of music, I felt him moving slowly closer and closer until I could literally feel him behind me. I moved away as much as I could, I became anxious about it, and tried to move closer to my friends. It wasn't until I felt him getting closer behind me that I started panicking, I turned around and remembered him just looking absolutely delighted with himself, as though he couldn't notice how shocked and disgusted I felt by these advances.

It got to a point where I just felt suffocated and helpless, and I told my friends, who were standing in front of me. They huddled around me, forming a circle, and we pushed ourselves forwards through the crowd until he wasn't near. And that was the end of that.

Looking back at this now, I really do wish I'd had the willpower to do something about it. Shout in his face, call one of the security guards who were scattered around - told my friends sooner, even (I'm eternally grateful for what they did for me). But I suppose there's an element of disbelief when something like this happens to you. You can't quite comprehend why this is happening to you, whether they really think they can just do as they wish and get what they want. It makes me shiver.

I'm not the incredibly introverted girl I once was, and as the past few years have come and gone, and the more I've shared my views on this blog, I feel like I'm finally at a place where I'm beginning to feel okay about saying things nobody really talks about. Bringing things to people's awareness when it's been pushed back by others. And most importantly, not being afraid to voice my opinion, knowing that there will always be at least one person who benefits from it.

So here's my message to you, ladies: Use your voice. Never let anybody think they're entitled to you. It won't make you weaker to tell somebody: it'll make you stronger. Don't push it to the back of your mind like I did, because you should never allow yourself to live with the regret of not telling somebody that this happened to you.

9 out of 10 unwanted sexual advances go unreported. Don't let yourself become a part of that statistic. Speak up.

Share your stories down below: tell me if you've ever had a similar experience, what you did about it, and your reaction to the video.

Much love, 

Zahra D x


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