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  • Gareth Ellis

I Pledge to Protect my Daughter

‘Let me walk you to your car.’

‘I can go with you if you like.’

‘Message me when you get home safe.’

I have said all of these throughout the years to people of both genders, but mainly to my female friends, girlfriends and family members, but why?

Society dictates that we need/needed to look after females when they were going out alone, or as a small group because they were more in danger than men. This is unfortunately because there are some absolute sickos around.

A recent survey suggests that 97% of women have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. 97%! That’s disgustingly high. This includes everything from being suggestively yelled at or wolf whistled at from a passing car/as they walk down the street to being groped in public, or much, much worse – being physically or sexually assaulted.

And why? I’m sure if you asked the men who had done this, they wouldn’t be able to answer you. Is it a power move? Do people enjoy preying on others because it fuels some burning desire to be an alpha?

I’ve been talking with Jess on this subject a lot just recently and we said that, by and large, men are physically stronger than women. So, it must be a power move for a man to do that to a woman, because they know the only thing that will happen to them is that they’ll get shouted at, or at worst a slap in the face. Believe me, they deserve a lot worse, because it’s just not right.

I’m now Dad to a daughter and I know the only thing I can do to help her and her generation for when they get older is to make a stand now.

I don’t want her growing up in a world where she’s scared to walk home at night, where she can’t get in a taxi by herself and trust them to get her home safely, where she is subjected to catcalls and the like as she walks down the street.

I want her to feel empowered, I want her to be confident and I want her to feel safe. I can only do so much to protect her, but if I help others to make changes then I can make this world just a little bit better for her.

Have I always been perfect? No, I haven’t. I can hand on heart say I’ve never sexually assaulted someone, but I’ve stood by when I’ve seen inappropriate behaviour and maybe even laughed about it, not really understanding the gravity of what was happening, passing it off as ‘banter’ or a bit of fun on a night out. Am I proud of it? No, but by recognising that it was wrong, can I change and start to make a difference for my daughter and millions of other women? Yes.

So, I pledge to call out those who objectify and marginalise women. I pledge to take a stand and call people out for their misogyny and hopefully, make a difference, so that in years to come when my daughter, my friends’ daughters and their friends too can walk down the street in safety and pride. So they can go to a nightclub or pub and not be subjected to inappropriate touching or having someone invade their personal space for ‘fun’.

I was raised by a strong woman, I am married to one too, and I will do my damnedest to raise one. With the strength of characters Jess and I have in our families it will be simple. Convincing the bad ones in society may not be so easy.

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