I said no. I knew how ridiculous it would be to go back to the house of a guy Id just met and I didnt particularly want to meet his mum. I offered to pay for his cinema ticket using money Id earned from my paper round but he wouldnt take no for an answer. In the end, I gave in. I didnt want to let him down or waste all the time wed spent getting to know one another.
I convinced myself I had nothing to worry about. I probably wont get murdered, I thought to myself, as I handed my change to the driver and the bus set off for a town in East Manchester Id never been to before.When we arrived at his house, it quickly became clear that his mum wasnt home. He held my hand and took me to his room. Closing the door behind me, he immediately began tugging at my clothes. When I protested, he said: If you dont do exactly what I say, Ill throw you out with no clothes and no shoes on.Even though I cried and I begged him to stop and I pleaded with him to let me go home, I convinced myself that what happened was my own fault and that I was nothing more than a cheap slag whod put out on the first date.
*That summer, I left school and started working at a supermarket part-time. A few months into the job, an episode of The Simpsons was on the TV in the break room. It was the episode where Marge turns up at the power plant and Homer sweeps her off her feet before yelling to his workmates: Im going to the backseat of my car with the woman I love and I wont be back for 10 minutes!A man I worked with but had never spoken to before called out to me: What does he mean by that?What? I replied.
Can you explain the joke, please? Why is he taking her to his car?Silence.Erm I I think you know what it means.Yes, but I want you to say it.I I looked around the room for help but all the other middle aged men either looked down at their phones or continued to turn the pages of their newspapers. I felt like I was invisible to everyone but him. I wondered whether this conversation was only taking place in my head.How old are you? He asked, after what felt like an eternity of silence.16Youre 16 and you cant say the word sex?My face was burning up and I wanted the ground to swallow me whole. I was filled with rage but I couldnt work out why.When I went back to college the next day, I told my friend Tom what had happened.Why didnt you just say sex? He asked.I dont know, I replied. I was just so embarrassed.He didnt know what the man had done wrong and to tell you the truth, I didnt really know either. I asked Tom if his dad would ever speak to a girl like that. He shrugged and looked at me in silence.I know that my dad would never speak to a 16-year-old girl like that, I said.I worked at the supermarket for 7 years and the manââwho Im guessing was at least 20 years older than meââcontinued to bother me for most of my time there. Sometimes wed cross paths in the crisp aisle and hed tell me to walk in front of him so he could watch my arse move. You have a bigone...for a white girl, he said.On Saturday evenings, hed corner me alone in the break room to ask me personal questions about my sex life. One time, he picked up a copy of The Sun, opened it at Page 3, and began stroking the models breasts and pretending to lick her. It was so cringe-worthy that Id have been embarrassed for him if I wasnt so intimidated. Whenever he approached me, Id freeze and go silent. One time, I mustered the courage to tell him to off. He leaned over and with his face close to mine he whispered thats not very polite, is it?After a few years of trying my best to ignore him, I told some of my colleagues what was going on.Youre only bothered because youre into all this feminist shit now, one of them said. Stop taking it so seriously. Youre overreacting.I started to wonder if they were right.*When I was 20, I started dating a 29-year-old and I couldnt believe my luck. He was intelligent and would proof-read my essays. He was generous and would pay for most of my meals and drinks. He was softly spoken and thoughtful. He had a large group of friends. He had his shit together.We must have been dating for a couple of months when he began to change. He called me stupid. He called me pathetic. He called me an attention seeker. Hed put me down until I got upset or angry and then hed spin things around so that Id be the one to apologise.Id arrive at his apartment block and stare at my reflection in the lift. Dont it up, Id tell myself. If you dont do or say anything stupid, he cant have a go at you.
Id plead with myself not to it up. My heart would be pounding and tears would sully my freshly applied mascara. Id send the lift back down again until Id composed myself. But no matter how hard I tried, I always ed it up. Hed always find something to shout at me for.Sometimes Id leave in the middle of the night before returning a few hours later with my tail between my legs.
I knew youd come crawling back, he said.I told him a watered-down version of what happened to me when I was 15 but he didnt believe me. He suggested I was making it up for attention. I decided he was probably right.
I never feared for my safety, but the fact I could walk away and leave at any time is precisely what made me stay. Its not like hes hitting me, I said to myself.One morning I awoke to find his arm wrapped tightly around me and his face nuzzled tenderly into my neck. I was desperate for the toilet but I didnt want to leave him. It had become so rare for him to show me any affection that I wanted to cherish this moment and lap up every second of intimacy even if he was fast asleep. I lay there savouring his touch and praying my bladder wouldnt let me down. Eventually I couldnt take it any longer and I gently lifted his arm from my body before rushing to the toilet. When I climbed back into bed, I put my arm around his waist. He immediately batted it away. Get off, he said.When my grandmother died, I messaged him to let him know that Id lost her.
I didnt hear from him for weeks. When he eventually got in touch, I asked where the hell hed been when I needed him.He suggested I was using my grandmothers death for attention. Again, I decided he was probably right.*At the age of 26, I fell asleep on the bus on my way home from work. When I woke up, I felt something touching my left breast. I looked down and realised it was the hand of the man sat behind me.I looked over my shoulder and his face felt very close to mine. I looked him in the eyes. He looked right back at me but kept his hand exactly where it was.I looked down at his hand again and mentally confirmed that it was indeed, resting on my breast. It was as if I was taking a mental snapshot so that I wouldnt doubt or question my own sanity later. I needed to be 100% sure.
Will you move your hand, please? I asked. I was amazed that the words left my mouth with such confidence and authority.He snatched his hand away.I told the bus driver what had happened but the man insisted it was an accident. He looked me in the eyes and kept insisting he didnt do it on purpose. I started to worry that I was wrong. I imagined him having a girlfriend or wife. I imagined him having kids. I imagined ruining his life. I had to remind myself that just minutes earlier Id been 100% sure. I felt his hand. I saw his hand. He was lying; not me.
That night I contacted the police and some weeks later I received a phone call to say that theyd found the man responsible. Hed done it to another woman on the bus too.Waiting to go into the court room in March 2017, I thought about telling my police officer what happened to me when I was 15. I still didnt know the word for what happened, but it was something that had been eating away at me for years. I wanted an answer. I wanted closure.Just tell him his name, I said to myself. Just say his name and see if hes done anything else.
I couldnt bring myself to say the words but little did I know that just a few months later, hed be in court too. Little did I know that hed be found guilty of sexually exploiting a 14-year-old girl in 2015 and possessing indecent images of childrenââalmost a decade after what he did to me.*In February this year, I Googled his name and saw what he did.
Id Googled his name dozens of times before. Id looked through his tweets and Id looked for him on Facebook, but I never found evidence to suggest he was anything other than a regular guy with friends, a family, a dog, and a job that was, in many peoples eyes, heroic.But as I stared at his mugshot online and read about the other thing that hed done, all the memories of that day in 2006 came flooding back. Finally, I knew that this and all the things to happen since werent my fault. I wasnt imagining them. I wasnt overreacting. All these things happened and they were just as bad as I thought they were.I remembered him pushing my naked body up in front of the window after Id begged him to close the curtains. I remembered him taking my clothes from me so I couldnt run away when I went to the bathroom. I remembered thinking that maybe if I did it really badly I wouldnt get asked to do it again like the dishes. I remembered him lying on top of me and saying: Im not going to rape you, Jenni.
I picked up the phone and finally, after 12 years, I called the police. I tried to condense all my thoughts into a succinct explanation. I still didnt know the proper word for what happened to me. Was it assault? Was it abuse?An officer came to visit me that same day and he took a statement. It was only then, when I told him the details of what happened, that I learned that what happened to me was rape.Id spent years flicking between telling myself that I was the problem and thinking that maybe Id made it all up in my head. Taking responsibility for the things that happened to me became a way of coping.But now, as I finally said every single horrible detail out loud for the first time, it became clear to me that I was not the problem and I never had been.*I have more stories but if I listed all the horrible things Id experienced as a result of mens actions, wed be here all day.
Its true that only a very small number of the men Ive encountered throughout my life have done these awful things. As far as Im aware, most of the men I know are not rapists, abusers or perverts who grab boobs on buses.However, one thing that most of the so-called good men I know have in common is that, while they arent raping or abusing us, theyre doing nothing to stop the men who are.
Desmond Tutu famously said that if youre silent in situations of injustice, youve chosen the side of the oppressor. And I feel thats certainly the case here.Even some of my closest male friends are quicker to pick holes in my feminist rants than they are to question the misogynist actions of other men.
Im exhausted. Im so tired of fighting. Ive been carrying the weight of these things for so many years and its devastating how little the men in my life are doing to try to help women like me. So many women have shared their #MeToo stories in the last year and its good that our voices are finally being heard, but the silence of the so-called good guys is deafening.I want men to be heroic and to stand up for women and to show that they care for us as much as we care for them. But I repeatedly feel let down. Sometimes I wonder if I should lower my expectations but I think you can probably see from the stories Ive shared above that my bar is pretty ing low. Ive repeatedly tried to overlook the inhumane actions of menIveencountered. Despite the things that have happened to me, I keep dating men, I keep kissing men, I keep sleeping with men, and I keep loving men.
When I talk about the importance of the #MeToo movement, when I tweet about toxic masculinity, when I share articles about gender inequality, Im asked why I hate men. But almost everything leading up to this point in my life has me wondering why men hate me
Does UVC light penetrate duvets and pillows?
I believe similar to sunlight, if the intensity of the UV light can penetrate the object I presume the radiation will also.. But may only be effectively killing the bacteria on the surface.. With UVC radiation the bacteria that needs to be irradiated must be exposed for at least 10 seconds at a distance of 6 inches to be effectively neutralized and disabled. .Duvets and pillows being thick I don't believe the UVC light can penetrate and pass through to disinfect them.. Another problem is, the UVC radiation is also subject to the inverse square law, which means that intensity and radiation strength loses its power 4X time when the distance between the source and he object is doubled!Does UVC light penetrate duvets and pillows?