Monday, 26 January 2009

I demand the right to walk safe at night

I want to come at this from a position of strength but that's hard with my windows locked and a hammer standing by on the floor.

I was rolling down Liberty St pleased with everything, the chilli stuck in my back teeth fresh from Spencer's garden, my hair, the walkman rolling tape in my left hand, the way my jeans were folded up nearly to my knees, even the curve of the earth seemed to be at the right angle but then I noticed the car, again.

The first time I saw the car I was walking out of the service station stuffing some cat food into my handbag, its important to note that I paid for the cat food. I noticed the car pulling in becuase I'm like that, I look both ways before crossing a road, so I looked both ways, saw the car and kept walking. I waited at the lights, turned the tape over in my walkman, cranked the volume and just as soon as the flashing man went green sauntered on across the road.

Turning down Liberty St I saw the car go past me, pull over and turn around, I thought they must be lost when they drove past me again not one minute later, this time they went on down to the round-a-bout, turned all the way around and drove back past me, very slowly indeed.

He was driving past so slowly and so often that I could see it was a man, a man in a car by himself. He matched my pace and started talking to me with one arm hanging out the window. He said "Get in the car. Come on, you and me, get in the car now." I thought maybe I know this guy so I swivelled my head to take a look but it was no one I've ever seen before. I said "No. I dont' know you. I'm not getting in your car", but he kept on following me.

I was three houses from home and telling him no on infinite repeat when he accelerated away. My relief was extreme, for four and a half seconds. He stopped the car outside The Peach and jumped out, leaving the door open and the engine running. He was coming straight at me when I made it through the gate and up the front steps. This seems a simple enough story, me pounding on the front door while The Spatula finds something to wrap herself in and walks down the hall. I had my keys somewhere in my bag underneath cigarettes, red lipsticks, tampons and a small wind up Mexican American on a horse but using the fast calculating powers of my brain I decided that pounding on the door was the best option. There ain't nothing like a pair of Peachettes to confront all known kinds of danger.

We locked doors and windows, drew curtains and turned those adjusting rods on blinds, I thought fondly of tea cups and fresh breezes, The Spatula counselled me to telephone the police. The policeman called me "Hon" but I told him my story anyway.

It wasn't a kind of panic, I was thinking of options, plans and tactics under the steady drone of flashbacks and memory, you see something quite like this has happened before. I was walking around the outskirts of my old town in red tracksuit pants and an inside out t-shirt when a man in a car pulled up next to me and opened his car door but that time the story wasn't so simple. There weren't any doors to pound on, nothing but starlight, sleeping ducks, cows and a partially obscured church steeple. It almost ended with me talking the man out of raping me, twisting words and perspectives, telling him everything was alright then prising his hands off my right arm where they were holding my hand on his erect and naked penis but he came at me again and again. I got away, dashed away in darkness, crawled through mud, under bushes and hid until I was sure he'd given up and driven off. I walked the whole way home with my bruised right arm held as far away from the rest of me as possible thinking I'd had a lucky escape until I woke up without my sense of safety.

I'm angrier than you can imagine, I'm not holding this hammer for decorating purposes, I'm not rocking in my one chair to soothe myself to sleep. Excavate my eyeballs and youl'll only find steel. I demand the right to walk safe at night.

I demand the right to walk safe at night. I demand the right to walk safe at night and I'll keep on demanding. I demand the right to live without fear of men. I demand the right to visit a friend without requiring an escort home. I demand the right to wake up every morning unafraid. I demand the right to look at men like they're ordinary people and not vessels carrying nothing but harm. I demand the right to safely navigate across town finding rhythms for words with footsteps, playing tapes on my walkman and thinking fondly of the undulating earth, the fresh chilli stuck in my back teeth and the importance of friends. I demand the right to walk safe at night and I'll keep on demanding, perhaps you'd care to join me?

4 comments:

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

This is horrible, Dale. I hope he drove into a pole on the way home, banged his head on the steering wheel and woke up realising that women are people.

I had an almost identical version of your last night's experience a couple of years ago, except that the doofus was on foot. I rang the doorbell at my home too, because I didn't want him to know that I lived there, and my amazing, ferocious tae-kwon-do blackbelt housemate opened it and saw him standing with his hand on our gate and told him, before I'd even explained, to piss off. But if noone had been home ...?

It shakes you up badly, and for months after that I got taxis and buses when I couldn't afford to because I was scared to walk (and I love walking). I don't think those who do this kind of thing have any idea (at least, I hope they don't) how much hurt their fun way to while away a Sunday evening does.

It astonishes me (but maybe it shouldn't) the way people persist in thinking that it's okay. I guess the porn script, with "no, no, no, no" turning into orgasm, scrambles the meaning of "no". But it's more than that. It's the whole woman=sex thing.

TimT said...

What a horrible story. (Both of them.)

I hope aforesaid idiots got apprehended by the police shortly afterwards. No-one should have to go through that sort of shit.

Dale Slamma said...

I am hoping that the idiots will wake up tomorrow morning burning with so much shame that they will be unable to ever wear matching socks again. This is the bare minimum that I am hoping for.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your demands and feel ashamed that a few fucksticks ruin the general name of male-dom.