Saturday, March 10, 2007

Fear

I'm having a nice night. I'm a borderline teetoaller so it doesn't take much alcohol to make me happy (in fact being drunk is such an exciting rare event that I have to talk about my drunken state constantly to whoever is around). About 11.30 my friend is heading home, so I walk with him. We stop and admire the shop that has left alone the "Clint Rickards: Rapist Scum" graffiti and the fake recruitment poster.

We go to the dairy that is open until midnight and buy some snacks. I buysome chocolate and water; he buys some strawberry and cream lollies and a red licorice twisty thing. I make him sit down and talk with me for a bit, because I don't want to walk up the hill just yet. We sion the corner and yell at the police cars that go by ("Clint Rickards is a Rapist", "Stop Police Rapists" and a rather ridiculous "Police Rapists Suck").

Then I say goodbye and head up the hill. I'm thinking to myself about the blog posts I am going to write when I get home (mostly about why the existance of the police are the problem, not a few bad apples). From about a third of the way up the hill there is park on both sides of the road and that's when I became particularly aware of my surroundings . I notice the man walking behind me; I notice the cars going past.

I am about half way up when a car stops about 40 metres in front of me. No-one gets out. There's nothing there. The car just stops.

What I usually do in these situations (because fear is regular enough that you have a plan) is unlock my cell phone. But I don't have a cellphone so I just hold my keys (interlaced between my fingers) and a half empty water bottle (weighing all of half a kilo).

I just keep on walking; I don't look at them. I try to keep breathing and wait to see what happens. I just get past them when they start moving again. They follow me slowly for a few steps, and then drive off.

I'm relieved; all these two men and their car wanted to do was scare me. I'm OK now.

I walk home and start composing a new blog post, about what just happened. Because all I can do is write about it. All I can do is register the power that fear has over me.

12 comments:

  1. Oh Maia :(

    I know that feeling so so well and I hate it and I hate that you experienced that last night.

    I was stalked by a middle aged man when I was 19... he always used his massive car as a 'weapon'... idling up beside me, leering and waving etc. He even did that to my mother and younger sister one day. I informed the police and they actually told me he was an ex convict - just out of prison. They ended up going to his house and threatening him. Of course I was not allowed to know why he had been in prison before but by the seriousness of the police it was at 'least' for rape. Maybe murder.

    I go through stages of being very agoraphobic. I do not leave my house on foot. I don't drive either because of my stress condition, so that makes me reliant on my husband or a taxi (if I can afford a taxi).

    This kind of crap is aimed at putting women in their 'place'. At home, I guess. In the kitchen?

    You had every reason to be fearful, Maia. I hate to say it because I really wish it wasn't true, but... one can be abducted, raped, murdered. I do not know what to do about that. I would never tell someone not to walk freely around because that concept disgusts me terribly. Maybe some kind of weapon that is only issued to women? I consider mace but then I worry about men getting hold of it and using it to disable women and then attacking them :( Same with all small weapons like that. It's a real dilemma.

    Sorry for the complete lack of answers.

    I see no reason for people like those guys who were terrorising you to be in the world. Some people just cause pain and that's it. They don't contribute, just take away.


    Take good care Maia.

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  2. Big electronic hugs Maia!

    Like z, I know that feeling too. Sadly I think most women in NZ do.

    I've long admired how you don't let the fear get to you, you are much braver than I! Don't let them take your power. (Of course it's easy for me to say that when I curtail my own actions because of my fear :-( )

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  3. You should carry your keys with you. If you have many, you should thread them inbetween your fingers like a knuckle duster. That is the last thing they will expect -- especially at nighttime (in the dark).

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  4. Anonymous1:07 pm

    mfghuMaia

    I have to admit I've been wanting to start a femininst Blog for ages but am scared and am not really in a position right now to keep it going.
    I'm eager to get a cell phone with the ability to press a button, take a photo day or night and send it on a very quick broadband connection.
    This would give you a bargaining tool with a prospective rapist. If you are aware a man has been following you then take a photo before he attacks. Send the photo to your mom or better still a female security firm then if he attacks you, you can tell him a photo of him has just been sent to whoever and will be used to immediately alert the authorities unless you can be contacted and found to be safe. Most, but I acknowledge not all would be rapists would give up chase at this point.

    As surveylence cameras improve and get cheaper I will definitly install quite a few if finances permit.
    The thing is most of us can't really afford safety equipment like this can we but I dream of technology making my life more free, but realise the very real danger of technology being used to become a prison for us all.
    Like other women I live in a state of semi-imprisonment so that rapists can be released from jail and have a second and third chance to rape more women. The judges most often male are not threatened by rapists so its rich of them to take away mine and the female populations freedom so that a few rapists can live to rape again.

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  5. Maia

    Re - last post. Don't know quite how the security code migrated to the beginning of your name :)

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  6. Anonymous1:13 pm

    Now that's weird. I anonymous not John in any shape or form.

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  7. First off, good on you for standing up to those stupid fucks, Maia. Also, for refusing to be baited on Alas into arguing the whole gun angle all over again. Fuck, I'm sick of that shit. It dates back at least to the very first feminist board I was ever on, and it never fails to piss me off.

    One of the main reasons I decided to do a "voluntary demotion" to lurker on Alas is because I'm sick to death of the same old assholes marching happily --over and over again-- into "feminist friendly" threads as if they truly understood what the phrase meant. I don't even know why you bother to warn them before expulsion at this point. It's not like the fuckers care about your feelings, or mine, or any woman's. [scowl]

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  8. Anonymous4:50 pm

    maybe we should start an aotearoa "hollaback" - where you take a pic of the offender and post it on the website. here is a New York one

    http://www.hollabacknyc.blogspot.com/

    there are holla back pages for many different cities in the states as well as canada. anyone keen to set one up?

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  9. Maia, you got blog of the week in the Herald on Scumday today ;) Oh joy...

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  10. Anonymous3:43 pm

    there are a lot of bad people out there (and as it happens we know who most of them are since people who are antisocial once are antisocial many times). But I'm not sure how getting rid of the police (or cripling their ability to do what they did for z) would help.

    At times I slip into paranoia where I contemplate how I would defend myself against random people at home or on the street.

    But that is both not a nice state of mind nor does it make me a nice person to interact with. Much better to be able to look at the police and think 'they have it more or less covered - I don't need to worry'.

    GNZ

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  11. i'm glad you weren't harmed!! that's a horrible feeling - and one that no woman should ever have to feel. i had someone do something similar a few weeks ago, in broad daylight, as i was out for a walk with my toddler. i have no idea what i could have done if he would've stopped and came at me. as soon as he drove off, the fear turned to anger. i should be able to walk anywhere i want without having to be afraid.

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  12. Anonymous10:50 pm

    Can I ask a question? Did you get a good look at the car to see if they were undercovers? Just wondering.

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