So last night, I parked my car on the street (as always) and was walking down the sidewalk to my apartment building. It’s in a nice neighborhood – pretty houses, kids, dogs, all that jazz. But it is near the busiest street in town, which isn’t exactly all roses. And in front of my apartment was a truck with it’s four-ways on. Just stopped in the middle of the street. When I saw it, this is what went through my mind:
1. Maybe I should call my boyfriend. If I’m on the phone with someone then I probably won’t be bothered.
2. I should at least pretend to be on my phone, saying I’m about to meet someone so that whoever is in the truck doesn’t know I’m alone.
3. I don’t want to get kidnapped, I don’t want to get raped, I don’t want to die.
4. I wonder if anyone could get to me fast enough if they heard me scream.
And then I took my keys out and put them between my fingers, pointed out, and walked past the truck. There was no one in it. When I got to my apartment door, I passed a group of three people who were moving their things into an apartment near mine. The truck belonged to them. Perfectly harmless.
But I couldn’t help but think of how different that situation would have been if I was a man. Would I even have thought twice about a truck parked with four-ways on? Would I even have thought twice about walking to my apartment alone at night? Would I have felt the fear well up in my chest? Probably not. And I was probably overreacting – but I know from experience that all it takes is one instance of not overreacting, not acting fast enough, to find yourself in the worst kind of trouble.
I need feminism because walking down the street is not something I should perceive as dangerous.