There she is, being amazing…
I’ve begun to dread my commute home. I used to love it – I’d sink into a podcast and dream of taking off my bra as soon as I got through the door. Now I get off the bus with my door keys firmly clasped between my clammy fingers as a makeshift knuckleduster, before walking at an unnaturally fast pace to keep up with the suited commuter who’s going my way too.
I’ve not lost the plot (I hope), I’m not suddenly a threat to lone businessmen, I’m just really bloody scared. Clapham and Brixton (my personal hipster habitat of choice) have recently seen a string of sexual assaults. The attackers – four potentials have been arrested in the last week or so – target lone women in their 20s and 30s on residential roads. That’s basically me.
I hate these guys for what they’ve done to their victims – one guy assaulted a girl on her own doorstep. I also hate that I no longer have a valid argument when my mum tells me that Brixton is no place for a young lady. I hate that my friends are genuinely concerned for my safety. I hate that I should consider myself lucky to have a boyfriend, not because of his infinite patience and bedroom skills, but because the likelihood is that I won’t be attacked if I’m out with him.
All in all, these sick opportunists had left me feeling utterly hopeless, and then along came Serena Williams to reinvigorate the sisterhood! A superwoman, telling how just this week she chased a phone-snatcher down the street, and demanded that he give it back to her.
We all know there’s something special about Serena. She’s an amazing athlete, she’s probably stronger than most men I know (I’ve thought about it and she could definitely take my boyfriend in a jelly wrestle), and as she describes it, she LITERALLY leapt over restaurant chairs to get her phone back. My little key and me versus a testosterone-charged sex attacker probably wouldn’t fare quite so well, but Serena’s story has still given me a warm feeling of inner-strength.
She’s living proof that you can fight back, that just because you’re a woman you needn’t be afraid, that you can to step up to any challenge and not be a victim! We might not be able to control the possibility of an attack, but we can keep the fear of it from taking over our lives. I might even brave listening to a podcast again.
So thanks Serena, the women of South London (and beyond) really needed that.