Polimicks

Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

Street Harassment

As those of you who read my personal LJ know, I got street harassed last night while walking home from the bus stop. A little background first. I do live in an area that is “in the city” and not so far away from the strip that is one of the most notorious for drug deals and prostitutions, but there’s this hill that sort of acts like a weird buffer between our residential area and Aurora. So it’s not like we don’t get creeps, but it still is infrequent enough to be startling.

It was raining fairly hard, so I had my hood up on my gigantic hoodie. I had a black knee-length skirt and black patterned tights on, as well as big clunky shoes. I was carrying a backpack and a plastic grocery sack with my lunch dishes and coffee cup in it. I had my head down, and was walking quickly, hoping to get home before I was completely soaked.

As I passed a drugstore, someone beeped their horn. As we know tons of people in that area in spite of just recently having moved in, I looked. Didn’t see any familiar cars. Head back down, kept walking. A silver car drove over to the driveway as I crossed it and beeped again. I peered at it through the water beading on my glasses. Nope, didn’t know them. I turned back around and kept walking, a little faster. He watched me go up the street and when it, apparently became obvious where I was headed, he pulled out of the driveway and turned left onto the street where I turn left. As I turned, he circled a traffic circle and pulled to a stop on the opposite side of the street.

It’s dark. I can’t see well because of the water on my glasses. The street is wet and slick. I don’t have a weapon. I’m starting to actually get freaked out. As I approach, an unfamiliar voice calls, “Want a ride?”

“Sorry, no!” I yell, and bolt up my street, listening for the sound of him following me. I’ve been hit by a car before and have no desire to go through it again. I’m looking around at yards, wondering if I can vault a fence to safety, looking for houses with lights, but hardly anyone’s home yet.

I got home out of breath and shaking, and finally starting to get angry rather than scared. My husband asked me what was wrong, and when I told him said, “Carry your straight razor again.” The room-mate said I should call her next time, and she’d wait in the yard with a bat and a phone dialled at 9-1-

Now, I can already hear the rolling of eyes, mostly from men. “What were you afraid of? He was just a nice guy who wondered if you wanted a ride home in the rain. What a paranoid bitch.”

And if I’d actually been dumb enough to get in the car and something, Gods forbid, had happened to me? “Stupid bitch, she should know better than to get into a car with a stranger. What the hell was she thinking?”

Given that my paranoia, which is the paranoia of the majority of womankind, has kept me alive so far, I’ll stick with that, thanks. Let us again name the reasons that this situation was scary.

It’s dark. It’s raining. I can’t see. I’m encumbered with a backpack and a bag. The footing is poor. He’s IN A CAR. I don’t know if he’s really a nice guy or a fucking serial killer. I don’t know if he has a gun in that car. I don’t know anything but that he has very creepily followed me, a complete stranger, from the drugstore parking lot in spite of my continued indifference.

Do you really have to ask why I was freaked out, after all that?

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11 comments on “Street Harassment

  1. javagoth
    January 15, 2010

    Maybe there’s something in the air – because J was menaced by 4 guys on the Ave for lightly bumping someone’s car while parking. The first guy jumped her shit when she got out of the car. She looked and there was not the slightest mark on either car. It’s fucking Seattle with not enough parking. A small bump happens now and then & it’s no big deal. It wasn’t even their car. They were just looking to harass someone. She was embarrassed because her flight or fight reaction was to fight this time around and she screamed back at them. Thing is, she had tried to walk away a couple times and then more of the first guys friends got into it and started threatening her so she decided that if they were going to jump her that she wanted as many people as possible to witness it and know about it.
    What the fuck is wrong with people?!
    And if anyone harasses you again and I’m home I won’t just wait in the yard – I’ll head your way. I would rather have it known that people should not mess with the crazy women on our street than to have you have that experience again. We should be able to walk around our RESIDENTIAL neighborhood without this kind of crap happening!

    Like

  2. wire_mother
    January 15, 2010

    don’t forget that the area of the drug deals is also a well-known area for street prostitution (and the two, sadly, are connected). there’s a good chance that the person in question was looking for a “date”. in any case, your paranoia was definitely warranted, and would have been so anywhere (i once, foolishly, accepted a ride up to my neighborhood from down on Denny, and had to jump out of the car at a red light when the driver didn’t stop or turn where i asked him to – that was, at the time, an allegedly “good” neighborhood, as urban neighborhoods go), not just in that particular area. i’m glad that you’re alright.

    Like

  3. caprinus
    January 15, 2010

    My first thought, which I’d already started writing, was “I’d be surprised if any of your readers questioned why you were freaked out or rolled their eyes and called you nasty names in their heads, even the men! I know, I know, rant rhetorical devices.” But then I remembered there’s probably more people who come to read this journal than just the people who choose to put you on their friends list… And yeah, you’re probably right.
    If it takes people having to assume that the streets are roamed by “wild women with steak knives” before single females casually get the same right to autonomous personal space in public places that most men take for granted (it helps if you’re a hairy biker, but on the whole it’s pretty much assumed), so be it! May your straight razor cut true.

    Like

  4. garpu
    January 15, 2010

    I’ll flip out on people like that. I don’t care if they think I’m a crazy bitch, so long as they leave me alone. legitimately nice guys would think before going up to a woman they don’t know and asking her to get into a car.

    Like

    • lexica510
      January 15, 2010

      When I imagine what a legitimately nice guy would look like, he looks like the guy who was walking in the same direction as me after dark one night, who a) crossed the street so he was walking on the other side, not the side I was on; b) picked up his pace slightly so he would pass me, rather than making me feel like he was following behind me; and c) called out a cheerful-sounding “Evening!” as he passed, so I’d know he wasn’t lurking silently trying to escape my notice.
      That’s what a legitimately nice guy looks like when dealing with an unknown woman after dark, IMO.
      Not “Hey, you want a ride?”

      Like

      • garpu
        January 15, 2010

        oh agreed.

        Like

      • velvetindigo
        January 17, 2010

        Your “nice guy” is a excellent example of why this kind of rape culture predation is a bane for everyone. My children (both born male) are “nice guys”. An aware “nice guy” needs to go to these lengths to reassure their justly frightened sisters. This oppresses us all.

        Like

  5. palereverie
    January 15, 2010

    That’s not paranoia, that’s caution.
    Honestly, I think the nicer his car was the bigger chance he was a creep. People are less likely to feel charitable when it’s raining and some stranger is going to soak their nice seats.
    I would recommend picking up some good mace from Bass Pro or somewhere. Better range than a knife or razor so you don’t have to get close to some sicko who’s bothering you.

    Like

  6. kitsuchan
    January 15, 2010

    Something like that happened to me once. I was in a slightly sketchy area of Portland around 1 AM, and this car with two guys in it drive past me. Then a block later the drive past me again. Then I look behind me and I see that they’re very slowly following me about a half-block behind and I start to get nervous. Then a pick-up truck pulls up beside them, and they drive away. The truck pulls up next to me and this guy leans out and says, “Those guys were following you, so I told them off. You want a ride somewhere?” I turned him down and he says, “Okay, be careful” and I walk the rest of the way home unbothered. It was really scary, especially since I was only 19 at the time.

    Like

  7. darkphoenixrisn
    January 16, 2010

    I’m sorry that happened. I would have been freaked out, too. *hugs*

    Like

  8. velvetindigo
    January 17, 2010

    So many Dicks so few Richards.
    A bumper sticker spotted on 522 in Kenmore, Wa.

    Like

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This entry was posted on January 15, 2010 by in Uncategorized.

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