A.K.A. "It Couldn't Happen To Me" this is a short story I wrote about a young woman in the city's inner dialogue on the likeliness of sexual assault and harassment to happen to her and the universal feeling of uncertainty and lack of safety that everyone shares.
"It Couldn't Happen To Me"
These aren’t a waste of money…I tell myself as I put my plastic alarm shaped like a panda and my purple compact taser in my bag. Women can be crazies too…my mind states thinking of my experience growing up not like the most popular girls with bigger boobs and butts who wear more makeup. I don’t envy those who have been more explicitly objectified…I wouldn’t wish for sexual harassment as a compliment. Rape is a power struggle...I remind myself as I make my way out on to the street on a path towards the train station.
Mugging is especially so. Greed has no gender and yet who comes to mind most often when we think of robberies or assaults of any kind? Is it a pseudo tough feminine body? A long-haired figure? An angry female face with a masculine appearance? Or is it one who is most obviously, a man. Older…non-discerning…
The streets are a cold place and the station is a world of metal and stone with a lone security officer who knows neither my name nor my worth. I’m just doing what everyone does…Honestly, I’m not even important enough to be targeted. Nobody would care to…
“Nobody would care to…” I absentmindedly utter aloud as I sat down on the train and an older man who looked to have an ambiguous class somewhere between homeless and general manager looked up and met my gaze.
Embarrassed, my eyes fell to the lit-up screen of my phone as I typed out three routine yet vital words to send to my partner: “I am safe”. The sentence ended with a period but I unconsciously left a floating question mark at the end and hugged my chest as the train whirred past the first two stops without me noticing who boarded or left. The inflection was palpable in my ears alone, as all the other passengers were stuck in their own little worlds, lit screens illuminating their gazes and shielding them from the perils of reality if only for a moment.