Note: This is not going to be one of the normal FA posts. I had one all written out, which will post on Wednesday.
This may be triggering, has to do with rape, so it’s behind the cut.
Two nights ago, after Conall arrived home from work at 12:15am (technically Sunday morning, but since we’d not been to bed yet, it was still Saturday night), the BiL saw about 5 police cars, lights flashing, on the street about a third of the way down the block. He called Conall’s and my attention to it, and we all wondered what was going on. After all, we live in a “good” neighborhood.
Last night, Conall heard some of the story on the news, and today, in a small article in the newspaper we found out the rest.
It seems a woman had had an argument with her boyfriend and took a walk to clear her head. On the walk, she was abducted by a man who forced her into his SUV, and then drove her to an empty house on my block. He forced her into the house. She pretended to be violently sick and managed to get away at that point. She got help, and by the time we saw the police cruisers, they were looking for the man who abducted her. They did find him and arrested him early Sunday morning.
Like I said, I live in a good neighborhood, but last night, Conall came home from work, having heard that reported on the news, and was extremely afraid for me. All of a sudden, he wanted me to take self-defense (not just Tai Chi), so that I can get away if somebody tries to drag me someplace.
We had an interesting argument that turned into a discussion last night. A few of his “male privilege” ideas came tumbling out and I was able to — bluntly — tell him the truth of things.
One thing he asked was, “So in your world, if a man grabs you it means he going to rape you?”
Yes. If a strange man grabs me and starts pulling me into a car/house/dark alley, yes, all it means is that he’s trying to rape me. If he wants money, he’s either going to demand I give him all my money and/or valuables, or he’s going to do a snatch and grab of my purse. If he does a snatch and grab and misses my purse, accidentally grabs my arm, he’s just going to try and pull me over so he can still get his objective of my purse, with whatever potential money it might have in it. If he grabs me, and pulls me someplace, there is only one thing he’s going for.
Hearing me say that matter of factly opened up my dear husband’s eyes and mind. In his world, nobody would try to grab him unless they were either crazy (Conall is 6’2″ tall and naturally muscular, people, even men, are usually afraid of him), they had a personal vendetta against him and wanted to beat him up (he has no enemies, so highly unlikely), or they think he’s worth a ransom (and then, even if he did get kidnapped, he’d not have to worry about being raped). He’s never had to worry about that, nor about just being gratuitously beaten up for making his aggressor angry with him.
Me? I’m 5’2″. 3/4 the men in the world are taller than me, with 1/2 the women being taller than me. Forget, for a second, that I’m fat. Just being short means I have a short stride. In running, I don’t have any speed. Then, when Conall and I moved to the mountains, I had a severe reaction to the altitude. I STILL have the reaction to the altitude. If I’m walking, I can walk for hours without any problems. Once I start running though, I run out of breath in a minute or two. All an aggressor would have to do if I got away is outrun me. And, when he caught me again, he’d be angry, besides still wanting his original objective.
Conall was angry with me for what he thought was me being “okay” with being raped. He didn’t understand my reasoning of, yes, do what you have to, but when it comes down to it, being raped and alive is better than being raped, beaten, and killed because you made the aggressor angry.
I tried to make a joke of “at least, if I’m alive, I’ve got a kick ass therapist who can help me through the effects of this rape.” He wasn’t amused.
He’s afraid for me now, because this situation happened so close to us. He’s afraid for me because I take the dog out every night when he’s working second shift (poor puppy couldn’t wait from 7pm when it gets dark til midnight without going outside). He’s afraid because he can’t be with me 24/7 to protect me.
The thing is, I’m not afraid.
Yes, this happened on our street, 1/3 a block down from where we live. It doesn’t matter. I’m still not afraid.
This type of thing happens so often, it only warranted a 4″ one column report in the local newspaper. As a woman, I’ve known for a very long time that this kind of thing could happen. As a woman, I’ve had this kind of thing happen to me (ie, sexual molestation/rape). I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that people do this, and I can either hide in fear the rest of my life, or I can live my life under my terms.
The puppy has to go out every night. I’m the only one available some nights to take her out. I’m not going to clean up puppy messes inside just because somebody might try and force me into their car. I have more fear of the coyotes, mountain lions, and bears in the area than I do the human predators.
And even so, I won’t let fear cripple me.
I hope one day that all women will be able to say, “I am not afraid,” no matter how often they’ve been violated. I hope one day, we will be able to get all men, even the good men like my husband, to understand what a different world they live in and we live in.
Mostly, I hope that one day, we can say, “I am not afraid” because there truly is nothing to be afraid of, rather than in defiance of what is out there lurking in the night.