This blog has been inspired by one of the topics that was sent to me by one of my regular Instagram Live stream members. If you haven’t heard my live streams, they take place on a Friday night at 9.30pm UK time, people send me topics or questions throughout the week to my Insta Dms and I answer them on the live along with all the people in the comments. The lives are so good, those of us who join every week, or regularly, have become like a group of actual friends, and new friends are always welcome! So yeah, the woman who sent this in is a one of the Insta live family members and it touched a lot of people when I read it out last week so I wanted to share it on here too. She has given me permission to share……

On Tuesday I took an a cab from a mate’s house to a late evening meeting I had at work, when the cab came I was super surprised by how nice the car was,  it was like a Mercedes Jeep and I had only got a basic cab – I hadn’t picked the luxury option! But I was like hmm whatever, so I got in the car and the driver was super polite and we instantly started having a great conversation, and like 10 mins in he asked if he could get petrol, and I said yeah of course, so when he got out I got a proper look at him and he was fittttttttt ……he was tall (which is important because I’m like 5’11) and he was just super handsome. He offered to get me a drink or snacks from the petrol station and I refused but the gesture was so kind I was like oh my days!

Anyways,  we drove all the way to my meeting, it was like a 45 min journey, and the whole time I swear he was soooo nice and funny and he talked about his family and his career (he worked as an IT Business Analyst whatever the hell that is but it sounds fancy and he clearly had money) anyways we got to the meeting and I was disappointed that the conversation was over and at the last minute before I got out he asked for my number, I said yeah! I was well excited but I kept it cool and to be honest I doubted he would text me back. In all honesty I just felt like we had had a moment and in a weeks time I probably wouldn’t hear from him. But an hour later he texted me “our conversation was the best of the week and the week isn’t even over yet” I was so surprised he texted, and he was so sweet. I was so glad – we began to text everyday and a couple of calls during the day and night (so far no red flags lool). Then on Thursday afternoon he called me and said “Look I want to take you out on a date, I enjoy your company so much, so pick any day and tell me what you want to do and I’ll come spend the time with you”. I loveedddd how direct he was,  but unfortunately I had to tell him that I had a work trip on Friday and I would be gone for about 10 ten days, in fact while we were talking I was attempting to pack.  So he said what about tonight? I was like “tonight?!” he was like yeah tonight! He asked when I was free I told him not until after 9pm,  he said no problem he’s free for me and that he would sort dinner and I should plan whatever it is I wanted us to do afterwards and we ended the call.

I was sooo excited, man it had been so long since I had got ready and dressed for a date and a man had taken me out. Anyways, 9 came around and before that time he had texted me saying he would like to pick me up if that was okay with me…….I thought hmmm okay and I said sure but I met him, like, a little while down the road from where my apartment was to make sure he didn’t know exactly where I lived. We went to dinner and it was just amazing, the food was great and the conversation seemed even better than before (don’t know how that’s possible ) but everything was lovely. After dinner I had chosen for us to watch a movie and that’s when things got a little weird … he was super touchy feely (a little too much for the first date) and I had to tell him to chill quite a few times.  As the movie ended and we walked to the car he pulled me in for the kiss (which I had been trying to dodge the whole movie part of the date because he had made me feel weird with all the excess touching 🤦🏾‍♀️) but we kissed and it was ewww, there was too much tongue and saliva,  and oh my lord i’m cringing………even though he was peng the chemistry wasn’t there.

He drove me home…..stopping the car where I had met him a little down from my house. I leaned in to hug him and say thank you and yada yada (our conversation on the way home had been great and I began to wonder if I had been a little harsh ) anyways, as I said my goodbyes to my horror he reclined his seat all the way back and continued the conversation we had been having. I was like, erm, I have to go, I have to prepare for my flight tomorrow night. AND THEN HE LOCKED HIS DOORS😭 I instantly began to shout and scream (but it was like 3 am and the streets were empty and his windows were blacked out) I asked him what he thought he was doing and he said he just wanted to be in my presence a little longer (how fucking creepy). I said I need to go, I said it as stern as I could, and he outright moaned and told me he loves it when I speak to him rough.

 
I was mortified, you hear the date horror stories but when it actually happens to you it’s like ‘What the actual fuck is happening??’ He pulled me in for a kiss and was grabbing everything on me. I was shouting  and I ended up leaning quickly over his seat of the car and slamming the open button on the locks and running out in my heels all the way down to my apartment ……..and this creep actually ran after me as I screamed. Getting to the lobby of my apartment there’s no front desk people since they go home in the evening. I run up to my door and he is behind me asking me to stay with him and telling me he has deep feelings for me . I get all the way to my apartment door and he’s right behind me. As I open and then try to close it, he sticks his foot inside the door and I’m screaming in fear because he’s actually huge and could fully force my door open. I actually managed to shut the door and lock it, and I’m crying, as you would be. The most horrifying bit was after, he stood outside my door knocking and talking for ages and then he sat outside my house in his car until about 6 in the morning, I know this because I sat at the window watching until he finally left. I do not know why I didn’t phone the Police, it’s so strange when you become frightened in the context of a date that you have consented to, it’s like it stopped me thinking straight, it’s harder to see them as a monster. 

I reported to the Police the following day, and I informed his employer. I went away for my 10 day work trip and I arrived home to 10 bunches of flowers which I have also reported to the Police. He’s now been served a harassment warning. The whole thing was a was a total nightmare. I’m still kinda scared now but hopefully sharing it with the ladies will be a good way to therapeutically deal with it.

Isn’t it fucked up that a date that started so well could turn into this? She didn’t see any red flags at all, although reading it back I’m wondering why, if he was a business analyst with money was he also working as a mini cab driver, but she did everything right in terms of not allowing him to see where she lived. I guess that to be safer we need to meet people in neutral public places until we are completely sure that they are not psychopathic, and even then, can you ever be completely sure? God, this is depressing. The world is a crazy place, especially for women. I’m sure there are many men who can tell you scary stalker stories about women they’ve dated too, but statistically, the world is a much scarier place for women and we do have to live our lives with caution to avoid falling prey to dangerous men, and even with the greatest caution we are still vulnerable. ‘Putting yourself’ in a dangerous position is never the cause of rape or assault, that is always caused by the abuser.

When I was 18 I got a job working for a double glazing company. I had to cold call people all day and try to persuade them to allow a sales person to come over to sell them some extortionately priced windows.  I hated it but it got me through college. I was office based but there was another team within my branch who went out to canvas people door to door. That team was run by a man named Keith. Keith was a huge dark skinned man, he must have been about 6 ft 5, he had a bald head and two gold teeth and he smoked so heavily that when he entered the room it smelt like he had a lit cigarette with him at all times, he stank of smoke. Keith was about 40, which when I was 17 was incredibly old. He was a big character, very popular, especially with his team, but he made me feel a bit uncomfortable, it was something about the way he looked at me.

Keith approached me in the staff room one day and told me that he saw great potential in me and that he wanted to talk to my manager about promoting me to be his deputy manager, I was really thrilled by this, it would have meant I was earning £2 an hour extra and my commission would nearly double. I was young and barely earning anything so I was really keen to get this opportunity. Keith said that it would be a big jump for me to go from sales to management and so he wasn’t certain I could handle it. He said that I would have to have intensive training first. I was up for the challenge and so he told me he would clear it with my team leader and come back to me.

About a week later Keith called me on my mobile, he had got my number from my HR files, he told me that my manager had given him the go ahead and so he wanted to start the training as soon as possible because he desperately needed the role filled, he asked if I would be available the following day after work and of course, I said yes, he told me not to discuss it in the office or mention it to my manager yet, he told me that for various reasons that were too boring to go into, we should keep it discreet until I had signed the contract. 5pm the next day came and Keith approached my desk and asked me if I was ready to go. He said that he didn’t want to do the training at the office because it would put some his team member’s noses out of joint, they would be pissed off that they weren’t considered for the job, I accepted that, he said that he had some office space at his place and he asked if I was OK with going there. I did not want to be alone with Keith in his house but I didn’t feel that I was able to say no. What was the worst that could happen? I thought to myself. I called my Mum when I got in his car and I let her know that I had to do something for work and that I would be late home for dinner and then we started our journey to Tottenham.

We arrived in Bruce Grove and parked near the bridge. Keith led me to an alleyway behind a shop and we headed in through his dirty, worn looking front door. Keith lived in a flat above the shop, the stairs leading up to his splintered wooden door were dark and there was a strong smell of damp. I was beginning to regret my decision, but there was nothing I could do now. We entered Keith’s small one bedroom flat. The front door led directly into the living room. There was a light without a lampshade hanging in the centre of the room and there were sheets up at the windows instead of curtains. There was a small black leather sofa on one side of the room and a bean bag on the other, the bean bag was also black leather and it had ominous looking white stains on it. There was a small wooden dining table and 2 chairs, on the dining table there was a large unemptied ashtray brimming with cigarette butts alongside an old take away box and various piles of paper work. The place smelt so strongly of cigarettes it was sickening, it was like fags mixed with damp, and feet. Keith bolted the front door behind him and told me to sit down. He offered me a drink but I declined, he told me it was very rude to decline a drink in someone’s house and that he would be offended if I didn’t accept and so I accepted.

Keith made me a cup of tea, but I stood at the kitchen door and watched him, I was a dickhead at 18 but I was wise enough to be on high alert at this point. His kitchen was filthy and I was disgusted about having to hold his mug, let alone drink from it. Keith lit up a cigarette and started asking me questions about my love life, did I have a boyfriend, had I ever dated a black guy. I told Keith that I didn’t want to mix business with pleasure and that my Mum would be expecting me home soon so I needed to get on with it. Keith laughed and said “I heard you call your Mum, she’s not expecting you home yet”. He shook his head and agreed that we better get on with it. He said that he needed me to make a few calls and that he wanted to record them so we had to go to his bedroom because all the equipment was in there. I told him that I felt uncomfortable with that and his whole tone changed. He was pissed off that I felt uncomfortable, but he wasn’t being nasty, more like passive aggressive, acting as though it was rude that I felt awkward about going into his bedroom but sort of joking about it. He said ‘You aren’t that pretty, I can control myself around you’ but he laughed when he said it. He was making me nervous.

He said that if I wanted to leave I should but that the job offer would be withdrawn if I didn’t complete the training. He got up and told me that we needed to get on with it and that he didn’t want to waste any more time. I don’t know why but I followed him into his room. He directed me to sit on the bed and he pulled out a phone with a machine attached to it and a box of papers. I looked up and noticed that on his bedroom walls he had porno posters, explicit pictures of women with EVERYTHING spread out and open. I was completely freaked. Keith pulled out the papers, they were lists of names and addresses that he had taken from the office. He told me he wanted to hear me calling people like I did at work and try to sell the double glazing. He sat opposite me and watched as I called the numbers and did my work spiel. There was literally no point in me doing this at all and I realised at that point that this really was nothing to do with training. Keith came and sat next to me on his bed and put his hand on my thigh. I tried to brush it off but he gripped me tight. His other hand was rubbing is visibly erect penis through his trousers.

By some divine force of nature my mobile started ringing loudly at that point, I hung up the ‘training’ call and answered it quickly. It was my Mum and I immediately said “I am in Bruce Grove above the shops near the bridge, I am with Keith my manager and I am leaving right now, meet me at the bus stop near home in 20 minutes and ring me again in 10”. I have never been so happy to hear my Mother’s voice. I told Keith that I was leaving and he didn’t try to stop me. He huffed to the front door and flung it open, we didn’t say a word to each other. He slammed the door hard behind me and I ran as fast as I could away from his house. My heart was beating through my chest and I could not believe how close I had come to something really fucking frightening happening.

I was in complete shock for my whole journey home. I didn’t tell anyone apart from my Mum what had happened. I thought about ringing the Police but I didn’t want to. There was no proof and I didn’t want the drama, or to lose my job. I carried on going to work as normal but I didn’t see Keith again, it wasn’t that unusual because we weren’t in the same team and we all worked different shifts, but when I hadn’t seen him for 3 weeks I was really confused about what was going on, until one day we were all called into a meeting by management who wanted to inform us that we would probably be seeing Keith in the papers, and that his name wasn’t even really Keith, it was Gary, and Gary was now on remand in prison for holding his ex-girlfriend hostage and slitting her throat with a kitchen knife, he was being done for rape and attempted murder. And this wasn’t the first time. Gary had previously served 7 years for rape in the 1980’s.

I have never been so thankful to be alive in my whole life. I cannot believe how close I had come to such a dangerous man and how much of a vulnerable situation I had been in. It was mind blowing and terrifying. I took the tube home from work that night as I had worked a late shift and didn’t want to sit on bus for ages. I got in the carriage at Southgate tube station and I was completely alone for several stops until a Mediterranean man with a hat, sunglasses and a leather jacket got into my carriage. Despite the fact that there were 50 empty seats he came and sat right next to me. Luckily my stop was nearing and so I got up and stood next to the door, but unluckily he followed. As the train pulled to a halt he came up directly behind me and pressed himself against me. I screamed and ran off the train. As the train set off and passed me, I looked at the man and he had pulled down his pants and pressed his dick against the train window.

As I am retelling this story I am remembering so many other incidents. Like when I was 11 and walking home from school and a man asked me for the time, as I looked down at my watch he pulled down his trousers and started wanking at me, in broad day light. I stood frozen until he ejaculated and then I ran home. I told the Police that he had ‘peed some white stuff’. There was another time when I was a teenager and I was walking through an alley way with a friend and we heard a man whistling behind us, we turned around to see him wanking and jogging after us. I have also spoken about similar experiences in my blog Karma. In fact there have been many times. Especially if I count all the times I have been groped in raves or festivals, or the times that I have been in dodgy date situations with men. We have to be so vigilant as women and we must never forget to prioritise our safety above all else.

But what I will say is that we mustn’t let our vulnerability impact on our lives, I mean, it inevitably does in the sense that we have to do things like take cabs instead of public transport late at night, but in terms of still feeling powerful and as though we are free to go out there and experience every opportunity that life throws at us. We cannot let fear ruin our quality of life. I have been alive for 13231 days and I have been completely safe for the majority of those days. Those 60 (give or take) days where something scary has happened are few and far between, and although it’s a cliche, they have all taught me something. I don’t carry any trauma from any of those experiences. None of them were my fault.

Before I go I will also quickly tell you a story that the British Transport Police told me after I reported the incident with the man on the train. I was telling them how many times I had been flashed at and I said something about how men will never understand how mad it is to go through life as a woman, and the officer told me that the previous day she had taken a statement from a young man who had been sitting on a train opposite a middle aged lady, the woman was staring him dead in the eye the whole time while she pulled out a frozen chicken drumstick and penetrated her vagina with it with one leg up on the seat next to her, the poor lad was completely traumatised and apparently he could barely speak when he reported it. True story. No wonder KFC are struggling.

So much needs to change, and I can’t believe that in 2018 we still need to be reminded to stay safe, although I’d much rather remind the men that they mustn’t rape, harass or sexually assault women, but I am hoping that the #metoo movement will help in some way. I will be attending the Million Women Rise in London on Saturday 10/03/2018  because together, if we join forces, we can fight against all forms of male violence against women and girls. I took my son last year and it was incredible so I would urge you to go and lend your support if you can. Time is up.