Sooo, I NEVER want to ever hear anyone say shit like a woman was asking to be harassed or assaulted because of what she wears or how she looks. I also NEVER want to hear about how women need to ridiculously adjust their actions to make themselves safe or avoid danger.
Tonight, I spent hours cleaning out my pantry. At 8:30, I went to throw the massive amounts of trash living in the same place for 22 years inevitably builds up. There was a creepy guy standing outside by the dumpsters. Just standing there. Not smoking. Not seeming to be waiting for someone. Just standing in the shadows next to the place I had to go.
So, trying to not blow the situation out of proportion despite the creepy vibes, I just grab the two over-stuffed bags of trash over my shoulders and give him as wide a berth as possible.
“Big bags for such a little girl.”
Not exactly a pickup line, but still giving me even more creepy vibes. “Yep.” I quickly throw my bags into the dumpsters and turn around, painfully aware that I have six more bags of trash waiting for me in front of my apartment door. I slip my keys between my knuckles and rush for the door.
I see my neighbors wave at me as they get out of their car. I wave back before heading to my apartment, where I stare at the bags of trash I still need to bring down to the dumpsters.
I hear a knock on my door. I see my neighbor there with her partner and she asks me to do her a favor and let her son take my trash down to the dumpsters. Then she tells me that the reason she’d waved was because the creepy man had started to follow behind me.
It was 8:30 in my apartment parking lot. I was in my dad’s old boxers, an old puffy ski jacket, a scrunchy, and not a bit of makeup, not even lipgloss. I’m covered in three-months of leg hair and twenty-two years’ worth of dust, carrying literal trash. And I needed my neighbors, their son, and keys tucked like makeshift brass knuckles to feel safe in my own home.
What’s worse is that now I have to wonder what the guy was doing there. Has he noticed me taking out the trash everyday for a week? Will he be there tomorrow?
No one asks for this. No one wants this. That’s the exact point the women in your life are trying to make: these creeps are not waiting to be asked. They are not asking. That’s precisely what makes them creeps. And it doesn’t really matter what we wear or do, we have to live in a world where, some days, it collectively takes neighbors, their sons, and weaponized keys to throw your trash.