When as a man walking down lonely city streets late at night, you feel obliged to speedily walk past any woman walking in your proximity in front of you on the same side of the street to allay her fears that you might mug, rape or otherwise assault her.
Try being a woman for a while. Maintaining a respectable distance from anyone is valid unspoken street etiquette. I live in a rough nabe and you don't even want to walk too close behind the guys, they will turn around to make sure you aren't sneaking up on them.
I get this often: a quick turn of the head for examination, and an increased rate of clopping from the shoes. I want to say "Hey baby, I ain't gonna hurt you, I'm alright, just get to know me better and you'll see." But then she'd really know what I'm up to. Instead, I just walk on by hastily and pretend that she wants to attack me.
As a woman, I try to do my best to not give off the I totally think you're a rapist vibe to each and every person because I think the real predators out there get off on that fear. I generally make eye contact and nod as I pass. I figure the non-skeeves appreciate the recognition that I don't assume they want to violate me, and the skeeves figure out that I've just made enough eye contact to identify them and if I'm brave enough to do that right off, perhaps I'm hiding a knife or a gun. (Correct on the former. Don't have my CC yet for the latter.)
— Ms. Pants posted 1/6/2009
give me a break. that's a minor annoyance every so often. try scheduling your days around avoiding walking alone in the dark.
— doesnt feel sorry for you posted 1/6/2009
So often. I have to keep a proximity of about 5 to 10 feet. I know you know I won't attack you. I know that I know that I won't attack you. But it's the little dance we have to do to know that we both know what we know.
— Adrian posted 1/19/2009
Part of me feels deeply sympathetic, because being suspected of ill intent is a great way to ruin an evening (like if you wave back at a small child and the parent disapproves). Part of me had the same kneejerk reaction half the other women did to your annoyance. But then rationality kicked in - and now I'm just sad that either gender has to be worried about this kind of thing, and furious that a handful of monsters could make everyone so miserable.
— Torn posted 7/17/2009
No, we don't know we won't be attacked. That's kind of the point. It's not about you, it's about taking a reasonable precaution to avoid being among the third of US women who will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, or a victim of one of the myriad other violent crimes that disproportionately affect women. If it bugs you so much, why not help make these fearful reactions unnecessary by volunteering at an org that fights violence against women?
— Diana posted 7/20/2009
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