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One Woman's Life in the World of Patriarchy

She was nine. He lay on top of her, and she was scared. She knew it was wrong, although she didn’t know why. ‘Get off me,’ she said, ‘I’ll tell my granny.’ He laughed and said,’What are you gonna tell her, eh?’ She shouted ‘Get off me.’ He stood up and left the room.

She was thirteen years old, growing up. As she leaned over a chair to reach for something, he came up behind her, and stroked between her buttocks; her skin turned cold. ‘Leave me alone, I’m looking for something.' ‘So am I,' he said. She felt sick to the bone. He left her alone.

She was fifteen years old, at the swimming with her pal, One of the attendants, who seemed around the same age as her dad asked them if they wanted to stay in longer. They nodded, and he told them to say to the woman in the changing room that Jimmy said they could stay longer. He then said to her that he was seeing her home that night. She panicked, and they quickly left.

She was in her twenties, and one of her colleagues decided that he liked her. He pestered her, constantly asking her personal questions. She didn’t answer; she merely stayed out of his way. He eventually gave up and left her alone.

She’s six months pregnant and walking to work from the train station. A man runs past her and she thinks nothing of it. As she takes the short cut, she is faced with this man exposing himself and masturbating. She walks quickly on, fearing for her unborn child. She contacts the police, who take a statement. She hears nothing more.

She’s a mother of three daughters. Her teenage daughter has attended an athletics week at the local leisure centre. As her daughter goes to collect her certificate of achievement, she hears one of the male trainers quietly says to her daughter, ‘Give us a kiss.’ She feels angry, but says nothing.

She attends a workshop about domestic abuse, and realises that she is being controlled by her husband. This is a revelation to her, and she wonders how this has happened. She refuses to be controlled any more. Six months later, he leaves.

She sees the advertisements about coercive domestic abuse, and as she watches the photos slipping away from the woman, she remembers how he demanded that she gets rid of anything to do with her past life. She weeps quietly.

She likes to believe that things have improved. She turns on the television, to witness women being dragged by male police officers, as they mourned the loss of a woman who was brutally murdered by a man.

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