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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Walk Home

Tonight I was walking home with a friend from a wonderful dinner/girls' night out in D.C. Normally she would have just taken a cab and I would have walked home, since the restaurant was in my neighborhood.

But she was concerned about my safety (which I thought was silly, because that's how I am) and we were engrossed in a good conversation. A few blocks from the restaurant, a completely trashed guy came up behind us and started walking along side us/just behind us, speaking loudly. "So, where you ladies been? Was it nice? Where you off to next?" I ignored him and kept walking, while my friend gave very abrupt, short answers.

Eventually, when it appeared he wasn't going to back off, I stopped with my friend and told the guy to go on. He turned around and muttered something about us "being like that" and moved along. The entire thing was so jarring, a firm reminder of how vulnerable we were on that street. I couldn't help but feel at once relieved that he hadn't been more agressive and threatened by the idea that I could have been alone. I couldn't help but wonder how that might have altered his behavior and I felt like a complete moron for thinking previously that I could walk home alone--clearly a luxurious privilege to which I am not entitled as a woman.

While I'm fairly sure he was just a drunk asshole and that either way it would have been fine, the entire thing was a reminder of how free men feel to violate women's personal space and to continue doing so, even when it is very clear that they're uncomfortable and not at all interested in pursuing the conversation.

It also pissed me off. I'm a grown woman. I shouldn't have to feel stupid for considering walking home alone for five blocks in my own neighborhood. I also shouldn't have to feel that I need to take a cab everywhere in the city not because I'm too lazy to walk, but because I'm afraid of the insensitive and unpredictable predators that I might find along the way.

When I got home, I found this blog by accident through Blogger's Blogs of Note. I'm just sad it didn't occur to me to take a picture, but next time, I'll certainly try. This is a wonderful idea and means to give voice to the small disturbances and demeaning experiences women face all the time, and pretty much accept as part of their daily lives.

Dude, if you're out there and reading this, you should be ashamed of yourself. I'm ashamed for you.