Digital Press-Gang
       Dec 2020    RAPE part2.  Broadcast on TOR-Radio  Read by JBL....

Born in the early 1950s, I grew up through the Swinging 60s. 
I watched some daring young people trawling the second hand shops for something different 
and watched as they donned old military jackets, day-glow trousers, beads and flowers.
The world which had been a drab grey and chard brown suddenly found the colour pallet 
and went for every colour it could. It felt as if the world was trying hard to shake off 
the dreary grey days which had gone before and start anew. 

There was the feeling of possibilities in the air, of new beginnings and new inventions. 
Society was experiencing change albeit small and only being embraced by a minority of people.
The rest?... they were stuck in the 40s, wearing twinsets and pearls, chasing dreams 
expounded by the Hollywood movies stars such as James Stewart, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, 
Jane Fontaine and later, Cliff Richard, Julie Cristie.

By the time I reached secondary school my prospects were still limited; when I was 11 
years old, it was likely I would leave school at 14, get a job and hunt for a husband. 
The concept of the little job, as they would call it, was still prevalent and some of my 
friends held dreams to emulate the advertising in the glossy magazines, find the perfect 
husband, settle down, get pregnant and be taken care of for the rest of their lives.

Times of celebration were shown in these magazines as, one woman wearing an apron and 
tending over the 2.5 children, whilst a man sat in the armchair smoking a pipe and reading
the paper. It was considered to be the ideal, something we as a society should not only 
conform to, but see as the highest state for any woman to achieve. That bubbling and 
rebellious minority, however, was punching hard against these ideas but were still seen 
by the majority as troublemakers. The war and the subsequent cold war left a fragmented 
society where the good, the bad and the very very ugly side of life was able to bubble 
fully to the surface.

Floating around in the back ground were well worn urban myths and the onus was on the 
woman to stay pure and chaste for her wedding. Men were seen as lustful beasts who would 
take advantage of the weak and defenceless woman, of plying her with drink and having 
their wicked way with her.

It was believed women egged men on by the clothes they wore; short skirts, or mini 
skirts as they were called back then, were thought of the devils work by some Christian 
groups and much was made about showing off her property to all and sundry. 
I remember the comments, 
“hanging yourself out like a piece of meat….. 

“you’ll get the wrong attention you will, give men the wrong idea, and you know what 
    they’re like once they get it in their heads”..

“Mark my words, you’ll find yourself in the family way and then what will you do?”..

It was tough growing up, one part of you wanted to achieve something in life but found 
doors were closed because you were female, you wanted to wear the latest fashion but 
were still discouraged by large parts of society because you looked like a slut, were 
nothing more than a tart or worst of all, called a prostitute. You wanted a boyfriend 
but they were always thinking of sex and couldn’t be trusted and how could you keep 
yourself safe against these beasts? The urban myths we are so familiar with today were 
there when I was young and because we are the grandparents of those attempting to spread 
their wings now in a new and exciting age of innovation and invention, we are trotting 
out the same fears and myths, ensuring their survival through another generation.

When I was old enough to attend live music events, I was drawn to the leather belts 
worn by many of the ‘biker chicks’. The belt had the words, Property of and then the 
name of the male who ‘owned’ her. I can remember aspiring to such an accolade because I 
thought I would be safe but didn’t take into account the possibilities of having to 
supply sex when the man wanted it or being raped by another biker because that was a 
good way of getting back at each other; you discredit his honour by disrespecting his 
woman. Little or no account was taken of how this would affect the woman, it was just 
one of those things. It was a man’s world and we didn’t really count. In that particular 
society I quickly learned I came after the bike and often the dog in my man's priorities.

Hippy-chicks were considered free and easy so this translated into, sex available at 
any time whether they wanted it or not. The phrase, ‘well what do you expect walking 
around like that!’ was common place and the chances of being raped was a high probability 
if you were ‘out there’, ‘part of the scene’, a switched on chick. Did you report it? No, 
chances are you told no-one, the shame of being raped was often far worse than the rape 
itself although both remained uppermost in your mind. The greatest fear was pregnancy. 

A man could do what he wanted and it never showed. The woman showed after 5 months if 
she got caught and it was still considered to bring shame on to the family. Back street 
abortions were crude and dangerous often rendering the girl in a physical mess, unable 
to bear children. Others would vanish and enter one of the convents for fallen women to 
have the baby only to have it taken away almost immediately so it could go for adoption. 
They would then be told to leave; no mental support, no real medical support either. When 
Marie Stopes opened her doors, many of us sighed with relief; the pill gave us control of 
our own bodies but the urban myths continued unabated.

The 1980s took the level of promiscuous freedom to greater and greater extremes and the 
increase in opportunities for women, more socialisation, recreational drugs, alcohol and 
the music were a hedonistic mix which fuelled many of the old myths resulting in similar 
shouts; well what do you expect walking around like that! What do you expect if you go 
around behaving like that! It remained firmly the victims problem.

Other myths seem to come into the mix as society changed and women assumed greater freedoms. 
There is the one which says if a woman gets drunk what would she expect? Or another that 
if the man wines and dines her she is expected to pay with the body not her credit card. 
One of the ones which has perpetuated for many years is the one which says women are raped 
by strangers. When looking at the figures from the National Statistics Office its pretty 
obvious most rapes are carried out by men who are either family or friends and scarily, 
husbands who feel they have the right to sex whenever they feel like it. The last one was 
common when I was a child and the comment,  “lie back and let them get on with it”  comes to
mind. It was invariably said with a degree of, “oh well, I married him, what should I expect?”

There is also a mismatch with language between men and women; men will brag if they “got off 
with her” or “popped her cherry” giving them status within the group. Lads talk is often 
fuelled with exaggerations however; “yeh, yeh, man, she was gagging for it”

During the summer of 2019, in one of England’s prestigious universities, a Lads Talk social 
media platform was enjoying a very descriptive thread about female students on their course. 
Comments about females in general started to appear and comments about Freshers arriving were 
It came to light when a boyfriend of one of the females on the course showed her the main thread. 
He thought it was a good laugh, and was both shocked and confused when she didn’t take it that 
way at all. Seeing her name mentioned and what they would like to do to her didn’t make her 
die with laughter, rater die with embarrassment; she had to face these guys in lectures and 
around campus, they were her so called friends. She reported how it made her feel like a piece 
of meat being bartered on social media and couldn’t believe her boyfriend had done nothing to 
stop them. 
When he saw her reaction and then looked at the thread again more through her reaction as 
opposed to his, he started to see just how very wrong it was but from what I could see from 
the report did little about it. He did, however cease to contribute to the forum.

       She took it to the university and had a long and arduous fight on her hands to get 
anything done but having escalated it to involve local newspapers, police and courts the males 
involved were removed from university.
So what was she complaining about? Here are a few of the comments running through the threads;
    •Sometimes it’s fun to go wild and rape 100 girls” 
and how another girl he personally knows  “deserves hair straighteners on her flaps.” 
a female student one student knows should “be fingered vigorously by her own dad to teach her 
a lesson,” before referring to the same girl as an  “absolute cum bucket”. 
    •Rape the whole flat to teach them all a lesson.” 
I could have gone on, but this does give a flavour of how these myths have perpetuated from my
youth and from before into present day thinking. 

These ‘lads’ are considered to be the educated ones, the ones with a conscience but they just 
further elaborated on tired old beliefs and elevated some of them to greater heights. One of 
the males lumped rape into the same category as his hatred of those of a different colour and 
ethnicity, Jews and Corbyn. He did, however love Hitler.

Rape is not something women crow about, we do not brag about it to our girlfriends and it is 
not used as a gold star rating of approval amongst our peers. What many of us do not understand 
is why in this day and age we are still seen as both the victim and the instigator. We do have 
the right to have male friends without having to have one eye on their conversational demands 
and another on them presuming we sit on their couch to have sex. I rarely felt safe alone with 
a man and the only ones I felt truly safe with were those who ad no designs on females. 
…and men wonder why the ‘gays’ get all the good looking women. Its safety and being able to 
relax, to be ourselves without watching hands, eyes and conversation.

Before I go, I want to say this is my view on the topic as seen through my eyes. Times change 
and we believe we have moved into a more enlightened society. To me there are still areas where 
the lights need to be shone and we have to put our house in order, eradicate these urban myths 
once and for all, take the blame off the woman and place it where it belongs; the perpetrator. 

We need to start early with young children and educate them to rise above the background chatter,
making their own choices and their own decisions from a well informed stance. Hopefully these 
myths will slowly sink into the swamp and women will feel safe walking around by themselves 
after dark, walking home from work or even going out to the pub for a well earned bit of fun, 
going home again afterwards without a care in the world.

If you or anyone has been affected by rape, please, don’t remain silent. Find someone to talk to; 
a close friend, a councillor, or a charity specific for rape victims. 
But please, don’t think it will go away, I promise you it wont. It needs to be dealt with even 
if that means getting it straight in your head and learning strategies to cope when the monsters 
rise up in your throat and stop you from doing things with your life. Trust me from someone who 
has been there, its worth it. Once you get over the shame of talking about it things do get easy.

So that me signing off until the next time. Thank you for listening and enjoy the rest of your week.

       Written By JBL.  For broadcast by   TOR Radio   2020.