Angry and Aware
I grew up in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood, with nice people surrounding me. I didn't have to worry about the people walking up and down the street or whether or not I had to lock the windows on the first floor of my house. I grew up in safety.
When I moved to Boston, I took the idea of safety with me. I walked alone at night with my headphones in, although my heart picked up speed whenever a man--or worse, group of men--came down the sidewalk in my direction. I once stayed out all night with my friend (another female) wandering the streets of Boston, and only returned to our dorm once we saw an unsatisfying sunrise.
Through all of that, nothing bad happened to me. It perpetuated the thought process that I'm sure a lot of people--a lot of women--have. It won't happen to me.
And, sure. Up until now, it hasn't happened to me. But that doesn't mean that I think all men are nice, or that I don't watch my drink at a bar. It makes me angry that my male neighbor can be on his phone and listen to music as he walks his dog. I can't, because I need to be able to hear if a car slows down beside me, or if someone walks up behind me. It makes me angry that, while walking my dog, I was scared because a man walked up his driveway ahead of me and slowly walked down the street, in the same direction as me, to his car. It was because he kept glancing around, and had a backpack, and seemed to pause for a second between every step. The whole time, I gripped my dog's leash tighter and wondered, If he attacks us, will she defend me? She loves people. Would she know the difference? It pisses me off that a man walked up the sidewalk toward me in front of my house, and I kept walking past it so he wouldn't know where I lived. I do that a lot, actually.
And it's all for safety, because guys, you might not be the direct problem. But are your actions perpetuating fear? It's a scary goddamn time to be a female. "Not all men" are bad, but ALL women are afraid, at least on some level. Think about THAT.