Vague ramblings

The world’s most dangerous cocktail

Posted in Life, Musing by Ian Cundell on 21 June, 2013

We never met, but became friends online, in the days before the Internet had spread all over the place and even the World Wide Web had still to be invented, bantering on CompuServe about TV shows – Red Dwarf, Northern Exposure – and SF generally. When I started having a hard time at work she was a friendly and warm confidante.

She met a new man and we would chat about that and it quickly became clear to me that he was a scumbag. I have no idea if it is a bloke thing, some sort of scumbagdar, but it was screamingly obvious. Then one day came a message that hinted – possibly more directly than intended – at violence.

“Get out,” I replied. “Get out now.”

Radio silence followed, the static of an inconvenient ocean.

I don’t really have anything to say about the Nigella Lawson story that isn’t much more meaningfully put in this awe-inspiring, naked piece by writer Sarah Pinborough. Read it, and learn.

I do know a few things though:

  1. Being an internet regular reveals just how many utter, utter dimwits there are out there without the tiniest inclination towards empathy – sociopaths-by-choice if you will;
  2. That the average man can very easily overpower the average woman;
  3. That 1 and 2 above do not make a happy combination;
  4. This does not necessarily add up to violence in itself – many a sociopath is also a craven, cowardly weakling with a fear of being caught outweighing the more simian tendency;
  5. But these people are exactly the ones who vote for a political class which is institutionally indifferent to dangers women face simply by virtue of being built differently, when alcohol and testosterone make the world’s most dangerous cocktail.

I would like to think that there is no such thing as a stupid question, but I know that isn’t true. Here are a couple:

“Why does a rape complainants get anonymity when the accused doesn’t?”

“What was she doing out at that time of night?”

“Why doesn’t she just leave?”

Well, OK – that last one is a cheat: it is a difficult and complex question and even trying to answer it can open a world of hurt. Ask Erin Pizzey. You should read Amanda Smith’s exploration of the question in her stunning, visceral account of abuse and survival, Toxic…No more, via Kindle. The reasons for it being self-published are long and complex – do not make the error of letting that put you off.

And so…

Two years later my Mac’s email pinged its ping-of-new-message. “Hi. It’s me. You were right,” followed by the most redundant apology in history. She’s been with her current partner for many happy years.

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One Response

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  1. Amanda Smith said, on 26 June, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Thanks Ian for helpfully provocative post. Yes, it’s a biggy for me (Why doesn’t she just leave)..it’s easy to judge without understanding the Stockholm Syndrome dynamics involved, the manipulations which accompany this system of faulty perceptions. It’s why I wanted to tell it how it is, show it how it was, how I saw it at the time.. I hope it helps and importantly, that it entertains..


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