This isn’t a ‘woe is me’ tale but hopefully a window into a world that goes unseen.
‘Survival maths’ is a term that can be applied in several different circumstances. It is altering your visible behaviour to fit in with the people around you. To not draw attention to yourself due to a lived experience of needing to avoid conflict or violence that can arise in an instant.
Yes it does involve relying on stereotype and generalisation. Yes sometimes race or culture can play a part in the mix and we should be wary of that. But the over-riding factors are alcohol, and number of males in a group. Toxic masculinity.
Sadly too, I was already aware of the rise in domestic violence dealt to women around the times of big football matches. There are figures in the article. There is also a rise when the team wins, but smaller than if they lose or draw. The problem is the link between alcohol and the game.
So today I feel prompted to share a window into my life.
Yes I am married 🙂
In many ways this has given both of us equality, both with each other, and in the eyes of society.
But still, there is no farewell or greeting kiss from my husband without a cursory glance up and down the street first to see who is about. Still there is no casual holding of hands about town or where we can be identified.
When I have discussed this before, I always get the same answer from well-meaning friends. Just to do it and say “it’s their problem”. Always the advice from people who do not live this experience.
So, when my husband goes to our local pub, for instance and has a group of men join him at his table to spend an hour or so talking about how they hate queers and how disgusting it is, he has to do survival maths.
Without fail all my straight friends rally to show support and insist we have equality and he should have complained and had them barred.
And yes he could.
But the survival maths weighs that up against the odds of being followed home afterwards when they are angry about being kicked out and tanked up. Of having our windows put through or car damaged.of being heckled in the street. What is the likelihood of bumping into them unawares whist doing the shopping or walking the dog?
Cities can give a level of anonymity. Living in a village changes the odds considerably.
Things have changed. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a daily occurence by any means. And survival maths is something that we share with others in much different situations in our tolerant society.
Yet still when I speak of this, I usually have to defend my use of survival maths in deciding when to take a stand. It’s been decades since my husband was last assaulted, but a knife between the ribs and broken bones dies a lot to improve mathematical skills.
Perhaps using a term like survival maths is something that others can relate to. And give us an insight into each others worlds and situations.