So, I was upstairs doing a few sit ups when Himself took the kids to the track last week. (Don’t laugh- I have serious stomach issues to address and if I take action now, as opposed to mid-June when I usually start, I may feel better about the form I’m trying to wrestle into a swimsuit.)
I was about to hop into the shower when I had the terrible thought that the front door was open, and how dreadful it would be if someone was to boldly walk in and murder me. How stupid would I look then, to be so daft as to take a shower in my own home, without taking the necessary safety precautions, at ten to six of a Wednesday evening?
On went the dressing gown and down the stairs I went, clickety-clicking all the locks; the front door, the back door, and the side door too, just in case the hypothetical assailant decided to chance their arm and do a thorough recce of the property.
As I waited for the water to heat, (diligently catching it all in the little glass teapot I reserve for the purpose,) I sighed deeply. Minutes before, I had been merrily crunching my abs as directed by Adrienne on her You tube channel, and now I was picturing the horror of my husband and children returning home to my naked, blood-stained corpse. That’s the thing, as if being murdered isn’t enough, you then have the prospect of becoming part of the crime scene and have to lie there, dead and unable to pull in your tummy, while loads of strangers look on. I mean, dear God, could you imagine the indignity of it, and me nowhere near reaching my desired weight goal?
And isn’t it just a fecking disgrace, that you can’t look forward to your evening without these hellish scenarios creeping, unbidden, into your head? Because until women stop being strangled when they go for a run, or bludgeoned or knifed to death by ex-boyfriends, we simply can’t ever, properly feel safe. I have never been an excessive locker of doors or checker of windows, and I’m raging that now, in my forties, I have to become that person, because apparently, it’s just how life is.
A friend shared these horrifying statistics: since Sarah Everard’s murder, 78 women have been killed by men or died in suspicious circumstances in England. Closer to home, the PSNI received 32,000 calls for assistance from women in 2020 and reckon that on average, 32 instances of verbal or physical aggression have passed before they call.
Reassuring, that, isn’t it? I don’t want my girls to see my fear; clenching my phone and looking over my shoulder in underground carparks, but ultimately, I have to keep them, and myself safe. Right now they’re still quite little, but pretty soon they’re going to be nudging at the boundaries we’ve set, and we’ll have some deeply unsettling truths to break to them. Except like all young people, or most of us, I suppose, they’ll think it won’t ever happen to them. We can only just hope to God it doesn’t.