I’d like to say firstly that I am a young single woman, college educated, and working full time. However independent you may find yourself, there will always be some truth to “always needing a man.” Let me tell you a story that might help you understand where I am coming from.
Due to the nature of my work I often have to go to different locations within my region to outreach and engage families in our services. This is something I’ve been doing for quite some time and I am very comfortable approaching families in a public setting. Earlier this evening I found myself doing exactly this at a public library I had been too various times before. As with any public library in an urban region there are bound to be interesting characters who stroll inside.
On this particular evening one of these characters happened to be a man who appeared to be homeless and possibly under the influence. He immediately came up to me to ask what we were doing and commented on my good looks. I said “Thank you” and he went off. He returned within minutes and commented more aggressively about my looks and proceeded to ask if I had a boyfriend. I lied and said yes. He returned about four more times often closely and said things such as, “You’re just so f***in hot”, and “I’m sorry, my hormones are going wild!”
He took notice that I wasn’t responding the way he would have liked me too. He then went on to say, “You should be thankful that a guy off the street is coming in here to tell you how hot you are,” as if I should have been grateful for the attention I was getting. I’d like to note that each time he returned his voice became louder and he got closer. His eyes said even more than what he was verbalizing.
Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve been hit on or approached by a stranger in public. It’s something I’ve learned to deal with and deflect, as most women I’m sure have learned to do.
This man had instilled fear in me and succeeded in making me feel extremely violated. By the time he finally left, it was dark out and I was to be leaving soon. You can imagine what was going through my mind. I was too scared to walk to my car because I feared he would be waiting to do something outside where I wouldn’t be protected by the four walls of a public setting. As soon as I saw the security guard walk in I asked if he would accompany me to my car and he obliged.
On my drive home my fear turned to anger, and eventually into tears. I had never been in a position where rape might have been a real possibility, but I felt that today. I was angry that this man expected me to be happy that he was “complimenting” me. But most of all I was angry that the only way I would feel safe and secure was if I had a man beside me to get to my car. Those who know me, know that I pride myself on my independence. But today I needed a man, even if it was in the form of a public security guard. There will always be men like the one I encountered today and I expect this won’t be the last time I experience this.
To the women who have experienced this or worse, I’m sorry, and you deserve to live in a world where it’s safe for you to take a late night stroll or do something as simple as doing your job without feeling your safety threatened. I don’t want this story to ruin the reputation of all men, but I would like it to make us all more aware of what’s really happening out there. May you appreciate those people in your life who are good to you, men and women included.