I’ve decided to use this blog as my feminist and women’s issues blog. I may blog about other topics here, but this blog is far enough away from where my family and close friends look that I can feel safe sharing these issues with the other feminist bloggers on WordPress. My family and other folks, the Facebook crowd, might not readily understand the depth of anger and such that I feel, and the necessity of putting these issues out there. I begin with something that happened a little less than four hours ago.
I felt the threat of rape while walking to the drugstore. Admittedly I placed myself in harms way by walking through a park after dark. Never mind that it was only eight o’clock or so–the rapists aren’t out that early, are they?
I have been doing some things to remove the jangly, headachy feeling–leftover from the sinking, sick, fear feeling of earlier. Did some exercises to remove the feelings of tightness and weakness. Was washing my hands, and washed my face as well-wanted to take a shower, but, that would be too out of the ordinary. Also stood in front of my altar, breathing deeply. I also watched that Z. Budapest video where she curses the rapists, I may watch it again.
As I walked through the park, I saw that someone was very swiftly closing the distance between us. No one has the right to get within arm’s length of you if you don’t want them to! Always keep a distance of five to seven feet between yourself and someone who makes you uncomfortable when you are out, more if possible. I have been followed in a scary way many times before, and I have always done this, it has kept me from getting dragged into a car and I believe it is a good tactic.
This man (who was almost young enough to be my grandson–I’m almost 47) was walking alongside of me and closing in, so I wheeled around and faced him, in order to show him that I was aware of how close he was getting. His energy was very off putting to me, he seemed to be drunk or stoned and wandering a little aimlessly, but with enough purpose when it come to getting close to me. Almost as though he had a very bad intent, and was even a little scared of it himself. I don’t think I was misreading things.
As I turned to him, I said, in a way that I hoped was benign but also showed I wasn’t a pushover, “Hi, how’re you doing tonight?”. This may have been the wrong thing to do, he seemed to think I was issuing an invitation of some kind.
“I’m good. How are you?”. “I’m good.”. I walk a little further ahead of him, still keeping distance, hoping he will get that this is the end of the conversation.
No such luck. He continues to walk too close to me, I shoot glances behind me and wheel around in front of him a couple more times. He says, “Would you like to fuck?” in a way that is SO creepy, I get that sick, scared feeling.
I say very loudly, “No, I do NOT!” And I guess I am nervous, or part of me still wants to be a people pleaser, so I say loudly, “You have a good evening, now!” as I attempt to beat a hasty retreat out of the remoteness of the park.
Of course he wants to keep things going, so he says”What?” as he continues to follow me. “You have a good evening now!” More insistently. Why should I have given a rat’s ass WHAT kind of evening this cretin was going to have? We are processed as women to be nice…
I go to the drugstore to get a birthday card for a friend, thankful I am around people. I should have avoided the park altogether on the way home, but nooooooo (read that like John Belushi), moronically I have to cut through it again. I have been using that park as a route home for many years, longer than rapist boy has been alive. I thought, instead of my usual way back, I’ll use the other entrance to the park. Yeah, that’s the ticket, I’ll be sure to be safe then!
This could have been a bigger mistake than it was. Never insist on going through an unsafe area.
I failed to anticipate how dark it was, and forged ahead. It was as if the guy KNEW I would be coming through, and had been waiting for me in the darker areas I couldn’t see as I entered. All of a sudden he was there. If I hadn’t maintained the distance I would probably be telling a different story tonight about worse consequences of my idiocy. No more words were spoken but I kept good distance and kept looking at him. As I left the park, I realized he was continuing to follow me. He was still sort of aimlessly milling about in the park, seeming to watch me.
Not wanting him to see where I lived, I sat on the back of a car and glowered at him, in a way that I hoped conveyed that I was a badass that would hurt him if he messed with me. He faded back, and this time I went behind an RV an called 911. I saw some neighbors walking a dog and told them to stay out of the park.
I didn’t feel safe about going near my house til a police officer came and talked to me. Let this be a lesson: Be very careful walking at night.