BLOG POST: Eye of Boudica Event at Red Lion Books
The Eye is all-seeing, all-consuming, always being watched and judged for good or bad actions. Big Brother is Watching you, as Orwell said. People correct themselves when they’re aware an eye is on them. Crime decreases, and people clean up their acts, behaving themselves as the ever-present Eye observes them closely.
It makes sense why the Eye of Boudica is named such and why their symbol is a fiery eye watching you.
The Eye of Boudica came to Red Lion Books in May to give a Standing up to Harassment Course. The Colchester-based movement and organisation wanted to provide women with information on how to stand up to harassment and help be active bystanders when they see it happening to another woman.
It was smouldering hot, and the downstairs in the shop is significantly cooler, so when I went down to give Rebekah, one of the founders of the community awareness project, her coffee, the cold air was a blessing. We began to chat.
I mentioned to her the issues I had with harassment. A few boys had purposely disturbed me with awful messages, their inability to respect me, and my wish to be left alone.
‘It’s awful,’ I told her, ‘I had to make my Instagram account private and turn messaging off because they kept making new accounts to harass me. I used to love posting my photography there; now it feels different.’
When the other women arrived, they shared their stories as well. It, frighteningly, is a common thing amongst women: the Harassment Story, or Stories, because some have too many to count.
Rebekah’s talk was less like a lecture and more like an open dialogue where everyone could intersperse their questions, experience and comments. It was a modern-day salon.
Discussions included each woman’s experience with men and harassment and advice on how to handle men when they became intense. Aside from what to do and what not to do, we were also advised how to help another woman if we saw her in trouble with harassment from a man. Not a single point in the night were our stories dismissed as ‘learning to take a compliment’, ‘being dramatic’, or anything else like they could have been with men when we told our stories.
The Salon played an integral role in France during its early days following the revolution, especially for its cultural and intellectual development for enlightenment. Much like the Salons of old, this one had an inspiring host and women played a crucial role in the conference.