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Next Mountainviews.. by liz50   (Show all posts)
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Peter Walker
2019-06-19 07:23:35
The gender gap...a sobering tale
Hi folks

Those of you who know me in real life will know I generally try to find the humour in the outdoors (to an annoying degree for some). But what follows is serious; the points I'm raising are not exclusively related to hillwalking, but it's something that happened in that context.

On Sunday afternoon I went out for a drive with my fiancee; it had been a tough week and we wanted out of the house if only for a few hours. We'd get an ice cream down in Newcastle, but before that I would have a quick shlep up and down the easy route to Slieve Croob for the exercise. Fiona isn't into hillwalking but for a short walk like this she'll happily wait in the car and do a bit of crochet. So it was we rocked up at the car park around 2.45pm...glorious sunshine, about four other cars and a few people around. My plan was walk briskly up, run down, drive on, drown in ice cream. Job's a good 'un.

So off I trotted. I passed a couple of people on their way down and was at the top in just over 20 minutes. I got out my phone to let her know I was on the summit and turning around. I then discovered she'd sent me a series of texts starting a couple of minutes after I set off...

A bloke in his late 40s, scruffy, seemingly drunk, had appeared at the car window and asked if she'd talk to him. She'd said no thanks, upon which he'd stepped even closer and asked again. 'Don't you want my chat? What's wrong with you?' and reaching for the door handle. 'I'm not a creep. I only want to talk to you. I won't touch you.' He then proceeded to stare at her through the window for five minutes before backing off and getting into the car. Throughout this time it became unfortunately obvious that there were now no other people in the car park.

Shortly afterwards the driver of the car returned and my fiancee called him over. He said his name was Martin and my fiancee said he had a Southern accent. He said the man Fiona had seen was his brother and that he'd been drinking. He was apologetic but didn't seem surprised at his brother's behaviour.

When I got back to the car (quite my fastest ever descent of Slieve Croob, I'm telling you) she was utterly distraught. She was sat in a car in car park in a mountain area, dressed plainly, minding her own business, and yet she's getting intimidated and harassed even there.

So I'm sorry if anyone feels these things don't need saying and I'm being patronising. But anyone who thinks that female empowerment and women's equality has gone far enough needs to remember that situations like this NEVER happen with the genders reversed.
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