Last night I got a drink with a friend and got home before my fiance returned from hanging out with his buddies, around 10pm. The trashcan needed to be taken to the curb because the garbage truck comes around 6am, and both of us had forgotten to do it earlier in the day.
So, I came inside, put down my purse, collected all the trash from the house (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom) and took the trashcan down our decently long driveway to the curb.
I would say that most women walking alone when it is dark are on high alert, simply as a part of social conditioning if not personal tragic experience with the night. Even taking the trash out, I was scanning the street, listening. And I noticed, about a block away, a group of three men walking towards me.
Then they saw me. And started walking faster.
I tried to act casual, but I immediately got very very bad vibes. Normally when I get catcalled or harassed on the street I lash out, I give them the finger and tell them to fuck off as aggressively as I can, like when my cats see my dog and puff their tails out. Not this time. This time I felt… unsafe. So I grabbed the mail as quickly as possible and did the fast walk all women know how to do, where you cover ground at an unbelievably quick pace without outwardly looking like you are running. And that’s when they started shouting at me.
"HEY. HEY WHAT’S YOUR NAME."
"DON’T IGNORE US."
"WHERE ARE YOU GOING."
"HEY TURN AROUND."
Why is my driveway so long? Why is my house set so far back from the road? When I was almost to the house they were at the entrance to my driveway. When I was on my porch opening the screen door they had started walking down my driveway, still calling me. I slammed the front door, lockhandlelockdeadbolt, and ran into the kitchen in the back of the house, shaking. I texted my fiance, When are you coming home? I’m afraid, and told him what happened.
I shouldn’t be scared to take my own trash to the curb at 10pm. I shouldn’t be afraid to tell a group of 3 men catcalling to leave me alone. I shouldn’t have to hide in my own house from strangers harassing me just because I have two X chromosomes and chanced across their path.
But this is normal for women, and actually a rather tame event by most people’s experiences.