While driving to work today I had a very vivid memory that I haven’t thought about in years.
When I was in high school, I walked to and from school every day. I lived really close, and the walk took about 10-15 minutes. One day while walking home, I was close to my neighborhood entrance when a loud car pulled up to me with all of it’s windows down. It was full of older, intimidating, aggressive looking men who started simultaneously all yelling “Hey baby, nice ass!”, “What’s your name?”, and “Wanna go for a ride?” at me. I became clearly uncomfortable. I was an awkward teenager just coming to terms with my own developing body, wearing jeans and a blouse. Crossing my arms over my chest, I silently acknowledge that none of my shirts seem to conceal my ever-growing bosom anymore and I am growing red with embarrassment. I try to ignore them, and their car keeps following me. After 10 feet of this, they are still yelling at me, and begin waving wads of money out the window in my direction screaming “How much, baby?"
"Please leave me alone” I finally answer, and try to continue walking. They burst into laughter. When they continue to follow me, despite the blatant fear written all over my face, I quickly turn around, cut through a backyard, and walk in the opposite direction, even though I can still hear them yelling from where I left them. When I cannot hear them anymore I tear off my backpack, dig through it for a black hoodie sweatshirt, quickly throw it on over my clothes, despite the absurdly hot weather, and walk down the mile road that borders my neighborhood.
My family’s neighborhood is 1 square mile, stretching between mile roads. I am so terrified that I will run into the car that followed me into that entrance, I walk a mile and a half to the other side, and make my way home from there. By the time I made it to my front door I was exhausted, overheated, and completely terrified.
I never saw the car again. I never saw those horrible people either. It wasn’t until recently that I even remembered this story. If there is no other reason why I need feminism, it is because horrible people like that think that they are entitled to talk to anybody that way, and that when a clearly frightened young teenager actually asks them to stop, they can only laugh.