Upon realizing that I had just missed the bus I had hoped to take and that I would have to walk through a darkly lit stretch of sidewalk to get to my destination, I cursed in frustration. It wasn’t a long walk, but it was still one that I was trying to avoid having to take. My partner said to me, “You don’t need to be taking the bus anyway. It’s a beautiful walk through the park!”
I looked at him and sighed. I was a little exasperated that I had to explain this to him AGAIN. “It’s late. And I’m female.”
It’s not his fault that he is an able-bodied cismale who has the privilege of not having to fear walking in dark places alone at night. And part of that privilege is not having to think about the fact that that privilege exists. It means that he never has to think about where he can and can’t walk and what the safest route for him to take will be, but also that he doesn’t even have to be aware of the fact that he doesn’t have to do that. Unfortunately, I don’t share that privilege. I should, of course. Everyone should. But as a female-bodied person, I am denied that luxury by society.
Not only do I fear walking alone at night because something could happen to me, but I also fear the reaction I would get from people if something did happen to me under those circumstances. “Well, you shouldn’t have been walking through there at night by yourself,” the victim-blaming rhetoric would go. I should have known better. Why would I put myself in that situation? What was I even doing walking in that neighborhood alone? All of these things would inevitably be thought by other people, if not vocalized by them.
And that’s one of the differences between the way I live my life and the way my partner is able to live his. Where he sees a beautiful walk through the park, I see potential danger. That’s what we talk about when we talk about privilege. That’s what we talk about when we talk about rape culture. And that’s what I’m hoping to change by doing the work that I do.
Cross Posted from boston.ihollaback.org
This man was on the bus asking personal questions and harassed two women and put his arm around them even when they voiced discomfort. I stepped in to talk to them and created a non-confrontational distraction. There was a security guard on the bus and neither him nor the bus driver said anything.
I went out today for a walk–I was going to a nearby park to play my kalimba by the pond, then go the library and read. Just a block from my home a construction worker on a house called out to me, “Hey Girl…” I instinctively raised my hand in greeting and he stands up and says “What’s up?” This is a nice neighborhood and I’ve never had trouble before so I had instinctively assumed he was just a neighborly person, but when I realized just what his attitude was I tersely responded, “Walking” and kept going.
Then later on the way back from the library a car slowed up and honked at me. That’s not flattering, it’s just startling and annoying.
It’s ridiculous–I’m just trying to chill out and be in my community and people are going to act like this? Not cool.
I was raped and sexually abused a long time ago by a babysitter and family friend.
I have been told that because I am a woman that my job is in the kitchen making meals. Ive been told that I’m a good for nothing babymaker and that I have to submit to the men in my lives. I was told that all I am good for is sex and that i need to use my body to please men.
I saw a woman at work be screamed at by a customer. This man singled out my friend because she is a woman and he cussed her out.
As a female firefighter I was sexually harassed and it went further than harassment by the men I worked with. I also remember being catcalled on the street when I was a kid and it would make me uncomfortable. I want to feel comfortable walking down the street and at work.
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Every morning when I go to school, an old creep start to talk with me and my friends, I just ignore him. But he’s so scary!
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