This week I was driving home from work when four police cars came flying down the road, lights and sirens going crazy. Moments later three MORE police cars whizzed past.
Earlier that day, I sat with my pre-student teacher and the lone junior left in my anthropology class and the subject turned to the harassment of women by men, as it does when you have more than one female in a room.
One young lady recounted her visits to a donut shop where the manager would joke that she was his child bride.
He was in his 50s.
She was 12.
He would give her free donuts and make the joke again and again.
Hilarious! Hard to believe he was selling donuts and not making HBO specials.
The other young lady recounted her tale of being asked to help a man jump start his motorcycle. She sat in her car while he arranged the jumper cables, but she made sure to slide her pepper spray out and have her phone in ready emergency mode.
He didn’t make a pass. In this case he really needed a jump for his motorcycle. It wasn’t a euphemism.
So of course, that opened the very girly conversation about the merits of different pepper sprays. Mist? Gel? Foam?
Yeah, this is what the ladies discuss. Ways to jack yo man ass up if needed.
After that we painted our nails and talked about The Bachelorette.
On Monday, I took Derek to baseball practice at a local state park and decided to relish in the peace of the trails. But before, I had to pee.
As all women do, I surveyed the parking lot beforehand and noticed two gents and a young lady with her dog. I noted details of the men, like what they looked like and what they were wearing and what cars they were driving. Because this is what women have to do in order to survive.
As I walked to the restroom, the story was immediately in my head. Of another young woman who dared to pee while on a run.
Seattle jogger Kelly Herron was four miles into her run when she stopped in a public restroom for a break. As she told ABC News, “As I was drying my hands I became aware that something was wrong,” and turned around to see a man who had been hiding in one of the stalls. “He immediately took me down to the ground, hit both my knees and legs, and then it was a fight on the bathroom floor and I just kept screaming, ‘not today motherf****r,’” which she referred to as a sort of “battle cry.”
During the attack, it occurred to her “this doesn’t have to be a fair fight,” which is when her self-defense training kicked into gear. “All those little things that I learned in my life … how to punch and everything came back to me,” she told ABC. “I started to feel like I was going to lose consciousness … but I got another surge of adrenaline and I reached for the door and was able to get out.” In the class she took just three weeks before, “I learned, hit with hard bones to soft fleshy places so I just started hitting the side of his head.”
She is the badass I want to emulate. But I would just say “motherfucker” without all the asterisks.
I’m uncouth like that.
So, I entered the stall, sat, and suddenly heard a door bang.
Was it this restroom or the men’s next door? No clicks of paws. One of the men? Another door shut, this time on the other side of me.
So, like all women, I instantly tensed and prepared for a fight. I peered through the crack in the door while I pulled up my pants. Without turning I reached behind me to flush. I burst through the door looking both ways quickly, and then as normal women and Avengers do, I kept my eyes on the closed stall door while I washed my hands.
Once outside, I, of course, felt ridiculous.
Ha ha ha… I thought I might get attacked… silly me! So dramatic. So overly sensitive. So a woman who is under constant scrutiny from men who view her as an object to be overpowered…
I did my trail, but kept my eyes and ears open. Watched the shadows. Checked out rustles in the foliage. Made eye contact with everyone who passed.
And I finished. Relaxed, but not as relaxed as I should have been.
Oh right. Those police cars with their sirens blaring?
A 47-year-old man is in custody after a woman was nearly sexually assaulted Tuesday while jogging in the Oakwoods Metropark but fought her attacker off in Huron Township.
Darien Noel Fickling, of Romulus, is charged with kidnapping, robbery, assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct and assault with intent to commit great bodily harm.
According to police, a 26-year-old woman was jogging alone on a bike trail at about 3 p.m. when a man attacked her from behind and hit her in the face multiple times. She was knocked to the ground.
The attacker told he “was going to kill her” and attempted to sexually assault her, police said.
The woman was able to fight the man off and ran away. During the assault, the man stole the woman’s cell phone.
What. The. Fuck.
I just want to run. And pee. In peace. To get some peace.
Maybe we need penis-free parks.
Or this is maybe a business opportunity for running bodyguards. But the bodyguards would also have to be penis-free, because that would defeat the whole purpose.
Or I could market running shirts that say, “SCREAMING CASE OF HERPES. MANY OPEN SORES. STAY AWAY, MOTHERFUCKERS!”
That probably won’t be enough, though.
What pepper spray was that again?