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Archive for April, 2014

Avocado Tears

consentI’ve had to develop methods for not crying in public, though they don’t always work.

In my occupation I ingest a lot of media, and inevitably take in many murder, domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse stories.

Each one is like a punch to the stomach, and I feel bruised for each woman I read about.

Last night I went out to my backyard avocado tree, to pluck the green fruit and ripen them beside browning bananas.

I have always loved being outside at night; everything moving around you, possums weighing down branches overhead, and freshness breathing over the whole earth.

It gives me perspective.

I felt among the branches in the dark, plucking the fattest fruits by touch.

The moon was nowhere to be seen, and the neighbour’s dog growled low at my movements.

I turned to walk back into the house and was struck by an out-of-character fear. The mass of darkness behind me.

Thinking of Sophie Collombet, the moment she felt that person’s presence near her.

The moment she would have known it was too late.

I fought every urge not to sprint back into my house.

I sat down on the lawn and cried, tears hot across my shirt.

She was only 21. And she had done nothing wrong.

I thought of my visit to France, where people cycle and walk everywhere. Like she was doing that night.

I thought of her parents sitting down on their back lawn and crying hot tears, because there were so many miles between them and the shores where their daughter was killed.

And I thought of every chauvinistic joke I have ever heard, every time women are marginalised or sneered at, and how each tiny instance contributes to the death of beautiful, innocent people every day.

Gender inequality has a lot to answer for, and so do those who perpetuate it.

It may seem like a joke to you — well fed, safely housed, detached.

But you don’t know what it feels like to be gang raped, to be stalked, and to worry about all the women you know, because somewhere out there freaks like Sophie’s killer are told it’s ok to think women are less than men.

Inequality perpetuated leads to real crimes. Real abuses of liberty.

Walking at night doesn’t cause rape. Rapists cause rape.

I hope in France they know that there will be plenty of men and women shedding tears for their girl, way across the ocean, in backyards and parks and river rotundas.