I already posted this video on Twitter and Facebook this morning. I'd kind of like not to have to. There is so much stuff happening in the world at the moment, which makes me sad to talk about but too angry *not* to talk about. It's on my mind a lot. These are conversations that we DO need to have.
I am thinking of the brave and brilliant Stanford survivor, who has helped us all in speaking out so eloquently.
Even the gossip pages seem to be full of stuff that makes me angry these days. Top of the list is how Amber Heard has been portrayed on the sort of trashy websites that I really shouldn't be reading. They are bad for the soul.
It all comes down to the same thing.
I do understand why, say, Vanessa Paradis would feel the need to jump to the defence of her children's father, in coming forward and saying that he would never, ever be violent towards a woman. Ergo, it must be a lie.
But just stop for a minute. Listen. I know from experience, my own dynamic with every partner has varied wildly. I am a Gemini (as, I believe, is Johnny Depp - although I am not blaming astrology for this). I have ex-boyfriends who would say I am a delicate little manic pixie dream girl. I have ex-boyfriends who would swear I am a crazy fucking hellish nightmare. The long-term ones who really know me would probably say I can be both. We all can.
My friends would all say I am mild-mannered to a fault. When I am really angry, I get shaky and I can't even speak properly. I never shout in an argument; even raising my voice makes me feel weirdly nervous. The other day, I told a friend that I had sent a 'really shitty' angry message to an ex and felt horribly guilty about it. When I read the message out to her, she literally LOLed at my idea of what constitutes an angry message. It had the word 'sorry' in it twice, for a start.
I once punched a man in the face. I am not proud of this. In fact, when I try to recall that moment, I feel surreally horrified. It's not the sort of thing I would ever do. I was very drunk. It was in a nightclub (Popstarz at the Scala in the early 2000s, for those few who may remember it). It might even have seemed kind of funny to an onlooker - a smallish girl in a sparkly mini-dress and far too much eyeliner, unsteady on her high heels, swinging for a man much bigger than her.
But I did some damage. I did a wrong thing. It is never OK to be violent. He wasn't 'asking for it' by getting caught cheating on my friend and making him cry, no matter how much that upset me. Incidentally, I was wearing a huge ring that I bought at a car boot sale and it split his lip. There was actual blood.
This is a small example, but my point is: I'm sure my friends would say I would never be capable of doing such a thing. But I obviously was because I did.
Like most of the women I know, I have never had anything 'really awful' happen to me. Not the worst stuff. So far, I have been lucky. However, like most women I know, I have historically had some pretty gross, weird and borderline really-not-OK stuff happen to me when I was too young to know how to stop it.
I grew up in a very privileged, private school, home counties sort of an environment - this was by boys/men who, like me, had nice families and good prospects. Just having a laugh, etc. They now have wives and jobs, and I'm Facebook friends with some of them. At the time, it was just 'how it was'. It's time to say this is not fucking OK.
Listen. Believe. Support.