“I think this man chose the wrong woman… I don’t want to keep quiet about this anymore”
Lizzie Fleming was shocked and scared when an intruder she discovered in her living room one night made a lewd comment. But she was also very surprised by the accusation against him. She has decided to add her voice to those of the many women speaking out in Ireland at the moment, about their experiences
A WOMAN who lives alone and found an intruder in her home has called on society to take a more serious approach to crimes against women.
Lizzie Fleming from West Cork was surprised late at night when she left her bedroom to find a man standing in her living room.
The drunk man also made a lewd proposition to her and after a tense conversation, he finally left.
Lizzie was surprised when the man was charged with trespassing, rather than any crime relating to the lewd sexual comment he made, but says she understands the gardaí felt they had no the choice.
“I know the gardaí felt they would have more success with the trespassing charge, and I understand why, but I think the system needs to change,” she said. The southern starhaving decided to go public with his experience, in light of recent conversations in Ireland on violence against women.
The crime against Lizzie will now be recorded as trespassing although she felt there was a definite sexual element to the incident.
Lizzie, who moved to West Cork from the UK over a decade ago, said she prided herself on being a very calm and rational person. Indeed, on the night of the scary incident at her home, she remained calm throughout and was even able to give the gardaí a good description of the intruder and details of the car they had arrived in.
But some time later, she found that her behavior began to change. She became much more nervous about the safety of her home, became very anxious at the sound of any car in her lane, and became very agitated when visiting the town where the abuser lived.
She would also lie awake at night thinking about the “what ifs” if she or the intruder had acted differently at night, as her house is in an isolated area with very few neighbors.
“Those kinds of thoughts are not healthy and I try not to dwell on them. I feel lucky that none of this happened, but I feel sick thinking about it,” he said. she declared.
“I also have anxiety about gossip and who might know what happened, although I have nothing to be ashamed of.”
“I wonder what the defendant’s motives were and these thoughts are deeply disturbing and anxiety-provoking,” Lizzie added. “Although like most people I don’t want to be limited by gender stereotypes, I can’t help but feel what women everywhere feel in such situations – threatened and intimidated by men. The events of that night did little to assuage my negative feelings about a culture of misogyny that is enabled and encouraged in pub jokes, on social media, in pornography and even in conversation. between certain men that lead directly to the kind of thing that happened to me, and worse.
She said the intruder later apologized, describing his lewd comments as “brazen jokes”, but she considered them to be much more sinister than that. Society needs to stop shedding light on these types of comments, she said.
Women are advised not to retaliate or say anything to escalate a situation, Lizzie said, lest it provoke more violence and make the situation worse. “We can’t always run away – I, for example, had nowhere to run. We tend to freeze. Lizzie says she would describe herself as a ‘feminist’ and, in light of the conversation that has taken place in Ireland over the past few weeks, she thinks it’s up to women like her to speak up and say he there is a certain male behavior that is simply not acceptable and should not be treated lightly.
If a crime has a sexual element, there should be laws that make it easier to prosecute on this basis, so that these crimes are not hidden and visible in the statistics.
“I see it as a conspiracy of silence. I feel like I needed to talk about these things to set a precedent. We don’t want to live in fear.
Lizzie also thinks the system needs to protect women who choose to come forward if they are victims of serious crimes like sexual assault or rape. “I’ve heard the statistics about the small number of rape cases that are prosecuted and how victims feel they’ve been dragged into the mud by the system. There is an appalling conviction rate for some of these crimes, so I understand why women say why would they bother to report it. All of this must change.
She said women should be encouraged to come forward and report incidents, and not be swayed by what their friends or family might think of them. And also, all of us as a community need to support all women when they come forward. We may also have to accept that the men we love should be held accountable.
But Lizzie has huge praise for the gardaí who came to her house that night.
“The gardaí were extremely professional and supportive. One of the male gardaí even urged me not to take the incident lightly when I wondered out loud if I was making too much of a fuss.
She says she would normally be a very private person who keeps her head down, but her strong beliefs have led her to want to “control the narrative” about women today.
“I hope more and more women will come forward and tell their stories. I hope what has happened in the past few weeks will create a snowball effect and lead to change.
Lizzie added: “I think that man picked the wrong woman, to be honest. I love where I live and I don’t want it to change me. And, for the women of the whole world, for the mná, I no longer want to be silent on this.