I hear you and I love you

I hear you. I love you.

There have been a lot of you lately. In the press. On social media.

I hear how you demean other women for speaking up about harassment and abuse. I hear your internalised misogyny.

Here is what I hear you say:

“Don’t waste police resources for a small thing like harassment”.

“Get over it”.

“You need to deal with your past”.

I hear you. I love you.

If you are ever harassed, abused or assaulted I hope you report it. But I know it’s not easy.

But I will gladly stand beside you.

Believe you. Hear you. Love you.

I’ll hear you and believe you if you are harassed and need support. I’ll choose to love you.

I reported violence to the police and they told me he loved me. For a headlock.

No one heard me. Not even the police.

Since then I’ve seen huge changes with police culture and I’m happy to report now – but many voices once told me not to. I nearly died. But I’m here and I’m not letting fear get the better of me.

I hear you. I love you.

That’s just one example of horrors I have recovered from. Talking about them doesn’t mean I haven’t healed. It means I can hold peace with my past and be strong enough to carve a better way forward – with honesty.

I love me now. So I won’t hesitate to stand up to harassment and abuse – even when it’s you, another woman, trying to strip me of my right to be heard. I hear you extending the reach of the patriarchy with your compliance, your collusion. I love you.

I feel fear too – but I face it. I’m hopeful that you can one day too.

But I’ll love you too. I’ll call you out on your hatred and condoning of harassment when you diminish its impact. That’s how I’ll love you.

I’ll process the hurt you inflict on me and I’ll choose to love you after you’ve shown how much you hate your own sex. But I won’t buy into the narratives that say women like me are man haters for speaking up.

I hear you. I hear how when you minimise other women’s experience of harassment and abuse, how much you dislike your own sex. I love you.

I love you. I hope you can learn to love your own sex and face that internalised misogyny head on.

I hear you. I love you.