There have been times when I have walked down a road with no-lights, in the dark, with a stranger who just happened to get off the same bus, in the same bus stop, and his house happened to be in the same direction!
And if you’re like me, your legs involuntarily start walking fast! Well, there was a time when I was half running only to find that the man had already disappeared into one of the streets on the road. I couldn’t be more paranoid of a man following me while taking the same road and walking towards the same direction.
There is something about being in the same place with another man on an empty street with no lights. The vulnerability can sometimes feel overwhelming in certain cases. Especially, when a guy is probably just singing to himself to kill the silent night but you feel it’s directed towards you. It’s happened to me and the first thing I know, my hairs all over my body were standing upright and I had broken into a cold sweat!
It’s a good thing, for a woman, to be careful. But, at the same time, our fears can be deceiving. In my case, what was really happening was- it wasn’t the place or the man or the combination of the two that was perturbing but over-thinking the situation and playing it out in my head of what’s probably going to happen if served with such a scenario made the situation all the more scary to me.
Now, I don’t deny the atrocities that happen everyday all over the world. And such incidents must be strongly condemned. But, I am faced with questions of my own-
Does a woman have to fear being alone in the dead of the night in the presence of an unknown man?
Do men read the situation and walk away?
Or do they have to care about the situation if it is none of their business to care about a woman who is drowning in her own fears and paranoia?
And have you ever frowned in such a situation even if you didn’t know the reason why a frown would help?
Do you expect a man to walk away looking at your frowning-face?
Has that ever happened to anybody?
Do you wait till the coast is clear or stop walking mid-way, pretending to adjust your shoe or check the time, and let the man walk past you?
I admit I have actually done some of the things that I mentioned above.
I think the general uncertainty that a woman feels is natural and justifiable if you live in places similar to mine. The men in a country have also had a part to play to make a woman feel so vulnerable and unprotected. But, at the same time, it’s easy to judge and accuse someone in certain significant social matters but, it isn’t easy to trust.
There needs to be an understanding between men and women when it comes to certain fears faced between each other because of their gender. And safety at night shouldn’t be considered a luxury for women. The road to such an understanding between everyone, and to see a change in a woman’s perspective when alone with a strange man may be long or short. Because that depends on us raising awareness that women feel that way in certain situations and a lot needs to be done to really see and feel the change!
When I was a kid, I read somewhere that if you ever fear being on stage and talking to an adult audience, just pretend they are pineapples. Suddenly, I am tempted to go out and place a sign on the road that reads- “Men are pineapples at night. So fear not Woman!” 😛