This is what violence against women looks like. My eye and eyelid at one point didn’t resemble either, a surgeon worked wonders to get me to this point. A knife was driven into my eye with such impact it fractured my skull. People have said I shouldn’t have been riding my bike, I shouldn’t have been out so late, I shouldn’t have been drinking so much, how dare I be a woman out alone after dark. I did this to myself by not being “careful” or “aware”. 

When people hear I was coming home at 3am many have responded, “oh… So you were out partying.”

I have caught myself feeling I have to justify my behavior that night.

“Well, I ride my bike everywhere, it’s my mode of transportation.”

“I work late.”

“I honestly hadn’t had that much to drink, I wasn’t wasted or anything. I just wanted to sing some karaoke.”

Why do I feel the need to justify? Why does any of that matter? Why do people blame me for having the audacity to be a woman out alone at night? 

Instead of whether I was alone or wasted or out late why isn’t the focus on why aren’t we creating a society and cities where women can feel safe being on their own? Without a chaperone? Completely unsupervised. Don’t we want cities where women are safe to roam on their own, at all times of the day? Women are not children they do not need babysitters. 

I’m one of the baddest bitches around. 

I fought off my attacker with a bicycle. I carried myself and my bike up four flights of stairs after being stabbed in the face. I kept myself alive, no man swooped in to save me. And the focus by many wasn’t on the strength of a woman, but a woman’s “ignorance” that got her there. 

I’m fucking done with violence against women. I’m fucking done with victim blaming.

Violence against women is all of our fault. We need to ask, expect, and keep men more accountable. We need to build communities safer for the most at risk people. We need to demand more of politicians and community leaders. Women shouldn’t be expected to be held up in their homes because the sun has gone down and they do not have a man chaperone them around town. 

How many women have to go through abuse and trauma before we demand more of ourselves?