I recently had one of those elementary schoolyard “boys are dumb” moments.
I’m not trying to generalize here. A more appropriate way to say it would be “the men I am currently talking to on online dating apps don’t understand what it is like to be a woman” but I didn’t think there was much humour in that.
The stranger danger messaging we are taught as children does not go away. All my life, everywhere I go, I am cautious, because I have to be. I try not to walk alone at night. I tell people when I am going away for the weekend and when I am coming back. I’m careful when I’m drinking because I need to be able to find my own way home if necessary. I generally don’t go somewhere alone with someone I just met.
In spite of all of this, I have still felt threatened and unsafe.
Think I’m over reacting a little bit?
I’ve been groped in bars, and propositioned out of the blue by my friends’ friends who then proceeded to yell in threatening ways and toss accusations around that I didn’t deserve but also had no defence for because I was scared.
Just the other day a stranger sitting on a bench told me I was beautiful, when I smiled in response and continued walking he yelled after me indignantly. Because in return for a compliment, I apparently owed him my affection.
One of my roommates in university ran home from class because the lights were out along one of the sidewalks that lead to our townhouse.
A friend of mine had to kick a guy in the chest to get him off of her when she said no and he wouldn’t listen.
Just the other day, missing Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang’s body was found in Nanaimo. The RCMP are investigating this as a homicide.
People go missing. People, often women, are assaulted. Crimes aren’t always reported. Perpetrators aren’t always charged. Bodies aren’t always found. I am going to do whatever I can to prevent that from happening to me.
So no, random boy I met online, after exchanging three or four messages that reveal absolutely nothing about character or trustworthiness, I am not just going to tag along on a road trip up-Island into the middle of nowhere, where cell phones are good for nothing but cameras.
Maybe we can meet for coffee in a very public place and see how that goes, but only after I find you online and see if you are actually who you say you are.
And I will tell my friends where I am meeting you, and what your name is, just in case.
They will check in on me every half hour or so, just in case.
We have an agreement that they will call and give me an excuse to leave in a hurry if necessary.
Sure, most people are amazing, but I’m not willing to risk it. And really, you should be more careful too.