This week, many newspapers have picked up on the story that Jeremy Corbyn, the controversial Labour leadership hopeful, would consider implementing women only train carriages at night in order to prevent harassment by men and to allow women to feel safer during late night commutes. This news came just a week after the British Transport Police announced that sexual offences had gone up 25% in the past 12 months on trains.
I’m sure there will be some people who think women-only train carriages are a brilliant idea, but in my opinion, the whole concept baffles and angers me.
I understand that there is a lot of harassment by men towards women in today’s society. A woman struggles to even go for a jog without some misogynistic bastard winding down the window and guffawing some sexist trollop. I also understand that many women feel threatened by men, especially at night, for fear of rape or assault and yes, this is a real threat in today’s world, just as it has been a threat in the past.
The thing I find, however, is that the idea of women-only train carriages is an insult on a lot of levels, not only to women, but also to men. What about the majority of men in the world who aren’t crazy rapists? What about the men who have no impulse at all to sexually harass a woman on account of being a decent and normal human being? The whole concept of female-only carriages further enforces the message that men will at some point want to rape a woman, or want to touch her inappropriately, a message which quite simply isn’t true.
The idea of this segregation also will create a feeling a fear. Why would they have women only carriages if men weren’t sexually frustrated raping demons? Young girls will begin to think that all men are dangerous and threatening people. Men mustn’t go near women because they will, most definitely, want to rape them or grope their breasticles. It’s a pretty dangerous message to send out to people.
It also further enforces the idea that women should be kept away from men because they encourage them to behave like sexual deviants. Just like women are told to not wear revealing clothes, or not walk alone at night, it just creates this idea that it’s the woman’s fault if she is raped or harassed. The actual message we want to send out to men and boys is that sexual harassment, at any level, is wholly wrong.
Daisy wrote a crazy article about sexual harrassment on trains, which did the feminist cause no favours at all.
Instead, it painted the picture that women are all men fearing lunatics. She referred to the times when friendly men have asked her what she was reading when she’s been sat reading on the train. This, as most people will realise, isn’t a form of sexual harrassment – it’s a form of friendliness. She also talks about the time when a man asked her, ““I keep seeing you around – what’s your name?” outside her yoga class. I don’t see what’s so bad about that?
Daisy is classic example of a lot of women in today’s society who have been terrified by people telling them that the world is full of rapists and sex-pyschos. Even though there are the odd weirdos in the world, we shouldn’t be afraid of every single man out there, and not go about our daily lives because of it. Daisy writes a rather upsetting (and lets face it, probably exaggerated comment) of: “I don’t go out dancing any more, even though I adore it – because I know from experience that something bad might happen if I have to get home after midnight and the streets are full of potentially terrifying men who might not take it well if I don’t want to stop and say hello.”
Men need to learn not to rape women and respect them as human beings, not as a sex objects. And women need to learn to be strong, powerful and independent. I don’t want my nieces to grow up in a world where they refuse to go out dancing incase a man touches them innapropriately. If women don’t stick up for themselves and fight the battle head on, then the men will have won.
And that’s the last thing we want.