I didn’t know.

I was about 13 at the time I think. My older sister bundled my younger sister and I up into the car I would later buy from her and drove us to the pub down the road where we planned to collect her then-boyfriend, now-husband.

She pulled up at the front of the entrance door where a few men stood smoking and talking together. One of the men approached the car, seeing a group of young girls smiling and jovial and he mouthed some words to us we couldn’t decipher from behind the closed windows.

I smiled at him, warily, and looked back at my sister who was busying herself with a text message to let her boyfriend know she’d arrived. When she noticed the man approach the car, reaching his hand to open the car door where I sat, she hastily locked the doors with the central locking button between us. Her eyes were wide and her word spat out angrily: “No” to the man who backed away with his hands in the air, the smile still on his face. It was so funny to him that he was seen as a threat. But she knew. She knew what anger and damage a man could do to her or me. She knew then and I am sad that I didn’t know about her hurt already.

Her daughter, now, years after this memory, might not realise the same thing when she cries out “Daddy! Leave mummy alone!”. She doesn’t know what ripped pyjamas mean or what bruises represent underneath the skin. It takes a few more years, clearly.


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