Right, that’s it. The next time a man tries to chat me up in the streets at night, I will go to the nearest people and tell them I’m being followed. It has happened to me a few times. I’ve been out partying with friends, and after the clubs close, I’ve had to walk home alone because no one lives in the same area with me. Or maybe I’ve wanted to leave the club earlier than the friends who live nearby. Once or twice I’ve taken a taxi to avoid walking home alone, but it seems stupid to take a taxi for a 20 minute walk when the queue for the taxi is 30 minutes, and when you eventually get a taxi, it costs an arm and a leg.
So I’ve often walked home by myself, in the dead of night. It never feels safe but the feeling of danger escalates when a strange man tries to strike up a conversation. Guys, when I’m walking home alone in the wee hours, I’m not up for making new acquaintances. If you can’t figure out why, you should probably read this: http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%E2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/
Up until now, I’ve always felt like asking for help would be a massive overkill when someone imposes their company on me. After all, if the guy isn’t trying to grope me or anything, he doesn’t pose an obvious threat. He’s just making a desperate last minute attempt to pull someone, having failed to do so on the dance floor… but he wouldn’t rape me, right? He doesn’t seem to be aggressive at all, so going into full panic mode and imploring strangers for safe escort home doesn’t seem like a viable option in that situation.
On the other hand, a girl just got raped close to where I live. She had been queueing for a hamburger after a night of partying, and when she left the grill with her snack, a man started following her. He had been making small talk, as if he was just chatting her up, but he had followed the girl persistently all the way to the apartment building where she lived. Then the man had raped her in the courtyard, only metres from her front door. Up until the actual attack, the man hadn’t behaved aggressively.
Once I had a particularly persistent unwanted companion on my way home from a club. I had told him several times, in no unclear terms, that I wasn’t interested. But still he wouldn’t leave me alone. He kept asking if he could come home with me, or if I would go to his place, or if he could have my number. He kept at it while we walked for three blocks or so, and before long my only answer to his repeated questions was, “No, go away!”
Then I saw a large group of people half a block away and I started walking towards them. I had decided that if the guy wouldn’t quit following me by the time we reached those people, I would tell them I’m being followed. I felt silly and embarrassed even though the man who was bugging me was clearly behaving in a threatening way. Luckily he turned on his heels as soon as he saw we were heading for that group. I was relieved I didn’t have to ask for help after all. It would have been so embarrassing!
But guys, just so you know, next time someone tries to chat me up in the streets and doesn’t take “no” for an answer, I will go to the nearest people straight away and I’ll tell them you’re harassing me. You may just be a desperate, lonely guy rather than an actual threat, and me asking for help will probably embarrass you, but you know, I just can’t take the risk that you are a rapist after all. Besides, if you are stupid enough to keep bugging me after I’ve told you no, you deserve to be seriously embarrassed. All men should have learned by now that they need to back off when their advances are unwelcome.