Stranger Danger

Illustration by Octavio Contreras

I am 21 years old and I am still afraid of being abducted. It is, admittedly, a ridiculous fear, especially considering I come from clean, suburban, dead-after-11pm Aurora, Ontario. Still, every time I walk past a parked vehicle the image of someone opening the side-door and kidnapping me crosses my mind.
My mother’s overprotective nature likely has something to do with this; she still gets anxious about my night classes. When you consider society as a whole, however, my fear seems a little less farfetched. After telling my boyfriend about an older man who approached me and asked if he could “sit down and talk for awhile” at the park, he said “The world is so much different for girls.” This got me thinking. For females, going anywhere at any time of day can result in unwanted and unprovoked male attention. Getting honked, hollered, and leered at may sound great to some girls, but I’m sure many more have experienced feelings of fear or anxiety when faced with male(s) undesired advances or comments. Don’t get me wrong guys, I understand – at the bar. But at two in the afternoon on the streets being screamed at by a group of five guys, no matter how ‘flattering’ these sentiments may be, can be unnerving, and in most cases, rude. Just because you’re a male and I’m a female doesn’t mean you have the right to express your thoughts about my appearance, touch me, or leer at me for extended periods of time. I AM A PERSON. Respect that. If you think I’m attractive and are in an appropriate setting where you think I might enjoy that information, calmly approach me by yourself. Talk to me like a human instead of a piece of meat. Respect that I might not feel the same way about your ugly mug and leave me alone if I don’t.

P.S. I don’t think anyone ever got laid by honking their horn.