Friday night I was leaving my sweetheart’s house around 12:30. It’s about a 30 minute drive to home, and I stopped about ten minutes in at a 7-11 on a busy, well-lit corner to buy a bottle of chocolate milk.
A male customer, who I barely noticed, with whom I made no eye contact at all, who I certainly did not encourage in any way, got in his car and began to follow me home.
I was frightened. He periodically would pull up next to me and drive parallel to my vehicle, beeping his horn and waving at me. I grabbed my cell phone and put it to my ear, pretending to make a call. This did not deter him. He continued to drive parallel to me whenever possible, slowing down when I slowed down, speeding up when I sped up, and stopping well short of traffic lights just to stop his car directly next to mine. Occasionally he would resume beeping his horn repeatedly to get my attention.
My heart was beating fast. I was scared. I didn’t know what his intentions were, but I just wanted him to leave me alone. I didn’t want to drive home because my children were there, fast asleep, and I didn’t want to lead an unknown person to my home. I was trying to think who to call that would be any help, where to drive where I could be safe, when he finally decided to leave me alone.
I checked my mirror all the way home, looked all around me, and drove around my block to make sure there were no cars in sight anywhere before pulling onto my street and into my driveway. I was still frightened for quite some time.
As scary as this experience was on Friday, it’s mild compared to what this woman went through on the subway one day. Her story is important to read, especially if you are a man. Men, please know that you have no inherent right to be spoken to or responded to by a woman. Being in our personal space or following us isn’t a turn on, ever. It’s scary, always. Before you interact with the next pretty female you see, think about an unknown male interacting with your sister, mother, wife, grandmother, or other beloved female in your life. Think about her being frightened by this unknown male’s proximity or other aggressive behaviors. In short, please think twice before you treat a woman like an object, like something you have a “right” to be with, speak with, or pursue.
Because this is terrifying.