I had to stab a man last night. I ruptured the veins in his neck when he put his hand on my waist and squeezed me the way I wish my lover would. He shouted things like ‘alright darling’ and ‘I bet you’re a good girl?’. Except he didn’t say that. Well, he didn’t say the second one but definitely the first bit. I stabbed him when I had to. Not when I began to suspect danger or fear for my safety but at the very last moment I had. Maybe he should have said the second one. Every day that I turn down the road I live on I expect men to harass me, to objectify me. Because it happens all the time. And in all the wrong places.
I had to stab him, but I wanted to stab him. I hadn’t walked home every day with my keys in between my knuckles not wanting to hurt anyone.
I want you to know that I’m not as timid as you might think. I’ll avoid your conflict whilst I can until you give me the excuse, or rather sufficient evidence, to hurt you. To hurt you like hurt me. Like you hurt my perception of myself. No, I can’t wear this outfit because I might get followed on the way home. No, I shouldn’t get the tube home because I’m more likely to be spoken to by someone that I don’t want to speak to. Did you ever think of that? Did you ever wonder if I had any interest in speaking to you? No, you didn’t wonder that because you already know the answer.
I wouldn’t mind being told what to wear or how to act if it pleased you. But that’s the thing. It doesn’t. You don’t care how I look. You don’t understand that this is a variable. I am an individual that wakes up every day and dictates my own life. You don’t see this. I’m a novelty to you. I’m an object. Some otherness. Something defined by everything you’re not. Well one thing’s for sure, I’m not interested. And you are.
I felt the pop of the jagged key, the key for the second lock on my front door, because it’s not safe enough to have only one. I felt it burst his silly little neck and I enjoyed it. You see, I’ve had to wait for the right moment to stab a man. But now I have the marks you left on my skin, the kind of marks I used to beg my lover for, and this is, in the patriarchal eyes of the law, a justification for my violence. But what’s the justification for your violence? Oh, I’m sorry you were just being friendly? It was a compliment? Well, my mistake! I was just having a laugh, flirting even, when I swung my fist toward the space below your head above your shoulders! Gosh, take a joke! You can just be so emotional sometimes; do you know that? Ungrateful bitch.
It’s not that I don’t like violence, in fact I’m quite attracted to it. I’m attracted to the idea of myself, and I’m not even going to use the word ‘teaching’ because I don’t want to reinforce these maternal, homely notions you already hold of me, but I’m attracted to the idea of putting you in your place. Now don’t get me wrong I’m by no means a dom, but I’m no longer going to be submissive in upholding your one-dimensional perception of me. We are not a dichotomy; anima and animus, yin and yang. We are simply different, and only because you make me so. You’ve defined me as an opposite and it’s not that you can’t understand me, but you don’t want to understand me. You like to criminalize me, ostracise me.
I bet you found it uncomfortable that this whole time I’ve made implications about what I enjoy in the bedroom, or sometimes in the kitchen. Did you squirm when you realised the hybristophilic tone of my writing? Does a woman’s pleasure make you uneasy because you didn’t realise she was capable or, sorry, you didn’t want her to be capable of controlling it herself? Do you feel like I’m being overtly sexual for no particular reason? Well now you know how I feel when you make animalistic noises at me when you corner me into conversation on the train, or when you back me up against a fence asking for a hug. These actions warrant uneasiness and concern. Discussing my sexuality does not.