Archive for October 6th, 2012

I’ve always seen shows like Law & Order: SVU, or news reports that showcase the vulnerability of women to society.  And for some reason, I always thought I was not vulnerable like these women.  However, we all are subject to the evils of society, no matter our gender, race, religion, etc.

Yesterday, I got to work half an hour early, so I decided to relax on a bench nearby.  The weather was nice and the air was refreshing.  A few minutes in, a passerby came across my path and we exchanged a courteous hello.  However, this passerby continued to talk to me afterwards, inquiring me about whether I was Chinese or not, what I was doing in the area, what school I go to, where I am from, etc, etc.  I felt a little strange talking to this man, but for some reason, I didn’t listen to my gut instinct.  He kept holding me in a conversation and at some point, I started to feel weird and wanted to walk away.  I think he noticed it and asked me when I took my lunch break so that we could have lunch together.  I didn’t want to talk to him anymore, so I told him I didn’t know and started to get up.  And so he asked me for my number afterwards… I told him that I don’t give out my number and he said “That’s fine, I totally understand… a woman by yourself… a little scared sometimes.”  As I got my stuff together, he commented on how pretty my dress was and forced his business card on me and told me to call him anytime.

There are no words to describe how scared I was.  He was a 40-something year old Hispanic man asking me for my number and commenting on my dress… that was when I knew something was really, really wrong and I needed to go.  I was afraid that he was going to find me during the lunch hours so I did not even leave the building for my entire work day.  And it just so happened that I got out of work late yesterday… so when I was leaving, there were no people around and it was semi-dark.  There was this uncomfortable feeling in my body that I had as I walked to the bus stop alone.  I felt like I was being watched… that someone was tracing my steps.  I even took a different path out of the building to get to the bus stop… but that didn’t seem to ease my nerves too much.  When I got to the bus stop, I found out that the next bus wasn’t coming til half an hour later and I just felt so weird sitting there by myself.  Every person who walked by made me nervous.  And so I had my mom on the phone with me all the way home… It was too weird yesterday…

The only other time I had a weird experience was roughly two years ago when I was in Flushing with my mom looking at DVDs to buy when an old Hispanic man grabbed my butt.  Since it was Flushing, it was packed with people and suddenly I felt a hand rubbing my butt cheek and I turned around and the Hispanic guy smiled and immediately walked away.  After this experience, I became afraid of closeness.  I’m still scared of people getting really close to me, especially strangers in large crowds of people.

As the fear started to grow as I was talking to the Hispanic guy in the park, I was reminded of the old Hispanic man who grabbed my butt.  There’s really no way to describe the strangeness of everything without being the person in the situation.

For the past couple of weeks, I would sit on the bench outside to clear my mind of stress before I went in to work.  Now, I’m afraid I can’t do that anymore.  It’s not even like I have someone to walk to or leave work with.  I’d feel safer if I had someone beside me.  Honestly, it’s too dangerous these days for young women to walk the streets by themselves.  I didn’t realize how scary it can be… even during the day.

It will probably take me a few weeks to get over this.  Well, I really don’t know how long it will take.  I just hope that I will never see this man again.  For the next few weeks though, I will be paranoid- I just know it.  I’m afraid of him getting there early to watch when I arrive, to watch where I go, to watch what I do, to watch me.  I only feel safe when I am in the office because I know that he cannot get past the receptionist.  It’s just… when I arrive to work, leave for lunch break, and leave work.

I am saddened by the fact that we basically have to close ourselves off from the world, from each other.  In order to be safe and protect ourselves, we have to isolate ourselves.

What has lowered the bar in our society, among our people?

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