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I was reading about the discussions on curfews and how women should stay home regarding the Sarah Everard case, and it reminded me of a time in college when a friend and I went to get some snacks late one night. While walking home, I looked over my shoulder, and a man was walking behind us. We kept walking, and then I felt him put his arms around me from behind. With a combination of flipping him off me and stumbling over his feet, he hit the ground, and my friend and I took off. We got back to the dorm and called the police. I held a lot of guilt after thinking that maybe I shouldn’t have looked back at him. My actions must have provoked him, and so perhaps it was my fault. I can not count how many uncomfortable interactions with men I’ve had while walking down the street and riding on the subway. These instances had nothing to do with how I looked or what I was wearing. I’m sure this happens to many woman every day. Probably more, if you live in a big city. My New York years were the worst. And if you think it only happens at night, you are wrong. I’ve been chased into a church, followed home from work, had my ass touched, had my boob grabbed, got punched in the stomach, followed while having uncomfortable comments spewed at me, and called a whore, and slut when I didn’t respond. All of this chips away at a woman.

Little by little, it has you questioning your actions. Did I ask for this? Why do men think they can treat us this way? I think more people should talk about their own experiences and how unsafe they made them feel. Staying home or only go out with others is not the answer. Men need to stop making women feel uncomfortable about walking around in the day or night by themselves or in groups because we are not provocateurs. We are not guilty. We have to look over our shoulders. We should feel safe walking down the streets where we live and work. We should not be called a slut because we do not respond to your rude intrusive behavior.

What are your experiences walking down the street? I know many women have stories that they need to share, so men, sons, brothers, and fathers need to hear how bad it is for women who are just trying to get from point A to point B. Share your stories in the comments below.

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