I had a dream I was murdered last night. In my dream I was walking home from the tube, a route I took often when I lived in South East London. It was dark out but still early, about 8pm in winter I guess. And I was walking home and a man was following me and I was murdered. I woke up the next day and was like “ah, yeah. I guess that makes sense”.
It’s hard not to think about being murdered if you’re a woman these days. Weeks of back to back missing and murdered women in the UK and the US (and probably lots of other places too, but I don’t have the emotional resilience to know that right now), killed by men they should have trusted, or by strange men they didn’t know. In broad daylight, at night, alone, in the city, in the wilderness. Wearing bright colours, wearing dark colours. Telling people where they were, not telling people where they were.
If you were to give out advice to help women avoid being murdered, at this point, you’d just have to say “don’t exist”. Home isn’t even safe for women, with women being murdered by their partners upsettingly often. And you can’t really trust the police to stop women being murdered because it turns out an active serving officer murdered a woman too.
It’s getting harder than ever to get a ride share, especially at night. I waited over an hour to get home from the airport at 1am recently. Women are murdered by ride share drivers too, but at least the app knows where you are. At least you might be found.
The solutions people give to stop women getting murdered aren’t very helpful. Don’t walk home alone. Ok but what if I have to? Don’t go out at night. Ok but what if I have to? Tell somebody where you are? We do. “Let me know when you get home”. Entire text chains of “home” “home” “home”.
A lot of people on the internet say that we only know about the murders of women because they’re white and blonde and pretty. That that’s white privilege in action. That there are lots of black and brown and indigenous women being murdered who never make the news. They’re right, but it’s hard to take a stance that argues there’s privilege in going missing and being murdered at all.
Modern feminism seems more interested in teaching #BossBabes how to get good at participating in the patriarchal structures that uphold our oppression rather than dismantling them. Modern feminism puts the onus on women to do pretty much everything. Be safe, educate men, campaign for your own rights. Fight for your own lives. When do the men have to change? I’m tired of watching my own back.
I hope I don’t get murdered. But if I find myself in a situation where it’s very obvious that I’m about to be murdered, I guess my response would be the same. “Ah, yeah. I guess that makes sense”.