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  • Writer's pictureanonymous woman

I feel afraid to try new 'women's only' groups. I'm a survivor and feel uncomfortable around men in mixed and public spaces. Women's only spaces have healed me over the last three years. Except now when I'm in a group, there is the fear a male can join at any time.

I joined a women's cycling group. We were all young women in our 20s and an old 50+ years old man called "Margaret". I felt creeped out. The atmosphere was weird as no one was saying anything about the incongruence of this man being in a young women's space. I felt horrible and had to leave. I've experienced a traumatic voyeurism offence against me and was scared he was recording us on Zoom meetings to watch afterwards. I could not be sure of his intentions. It just didn't seem right to me that we couldn't carve one little space for ourselves without men being able to enter. The culture of silence is frightening. I had a friend stop speaking to me after I raised some questions with her based on data from blogs like Fair Play for Women. She said she thought I was harsh and how could I discriminate against such marginalised people who fear their lives everyday. I feel fear every day as a woman from street harassment and knowing the UK feminicide statistics! Unsurprisingly, she didn't want to talk about that...

I feel like I'm living on an alien planet where I'm seeing one thing and others are seeing something else. At the same time, I don't know how many others are keeping silent and afraid of recriminations like myself. I daren't go public... I only try to sometimes talk to my closest female friends if I can. It's very difficult though. The party line of "you're a bigot" if you question the ideology seems all-pervasive, even amongst those who are ordinarily critical thinkers!


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