This Book Started With A Glass Of Wine

EMILY JACOB

ReConnected Life

It was an evening in March and I had been checking in with the women in my ReConnected Life Facebook Community, looking at their posts, providing support, checking they were supporting each other; reading. It was one of those nights which followed one of those days where it was so easy to get sucked into the void of hopelessness, of futility, of what is the pointness. The stories of pain, and hurt, and betrayal, on this night, as they had been a lot at that time, were focused around the issues with the police, and reporting the crimes against us.

There were tales that haven’t made it into this book, and tales that have. Tales of (what I would characterise as) gross incompetence: how could the video interview end up ruined beyond use in police recycling? How could someone be so injured, so obviously physically assaulted, but because there were no cameras working, the crime be NFA’d? (no further action).

I was angry. The so-called President of the United States had said he could grab us by the pussy, giving legitimacy to the entitled behaviour some men believe they have over our bodies. The Women’s March had shone a crack of hope and solidarity and energy for a different world. And yet on the macro and micro levels, the President was still there, and my Community were still feeling disempowered. Justice seemed a dream.

I don’t like being angry. It’s an emotion I don’t handle very well. Usually I turn it inside on myself, the fists squeezing at my heart, in my chest, the inability to breathe, the tenseness turning to brittleness in my bones. Anger is so painful inside me, the tears leak. Instead of feeling strong by anger, as I expect those who display it externally do, I feel weak and fragile. And I don’t like feeling weak or fragile. It makes me feel like a victim all over again.

And so, in the welling up of tears of fragility, buoyed on with the help of a few glasses of red wine, I decided to turn that anger into something positive, to turn that fear of feeling like a victim again into a warrioress’ battle cry, and empower.

Our search for justice, for validation, is not heard, nor seen. The media only tends to report on stories that can be sensationalised: the celebrity trials, the rare false allegations. The ordinariness of the ordinary woman’s search for justice is not newsworthy enough to be reported, and so the public perception is that rape is rare, because of course rape is serious and so would be reported. The experiences of the women who reported, who were told there was nothing to investigate, who were told there wasn’t a winning case, who went to court but weren’t allowed therapy until after, who’s rapist went free. These stories are not told.

The de facto assumption when you disclose to someone, if they believe you (which isn’t the de facto response by any means) is that you will report what happened, that justice will be done, and that means that he will go to jail for a very long time.

That is simply not true.

My hope is that this book sheds lights on what is true, our lived experiences, our stories.

(The above is the beginning of the foreword to the book.)

In solidarity and love, xx

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