Ever quicken your pace while walking home just because you feel like you're being followed? Or had to pretend to be deeply interested in your phone screen when a car full of strangers stops right next to you at a signal and turn up the volume in an attempt to get your attention? Ever had to yell at a taxi driver to take a Google maps route because you weren't sure where the route he had chosen would lead to? Ever felt guilty about dragging a friend to the toilet along with you when they didn't need to go because that person staring at you from across the bar might chose to align his move with your biological needs?
Experiencing any one of these things is, sadly, part of being a woman. Many of these situations which would otherwise be completely normal if only you hadn't been born female.
1. Leaving a drink unattended at a bar or returning to a possibly spiked drink because you diverted your attention for a few moments.
2. Keeping quiet when someone verbally harasses you for fear they may become physically violent.
3. Becoming extra alert when a man walks near/towards you on the road for fear he may grope you.
4. Being in a crowded area and getting groped.
5. Worrying that you're being followed when you are travelling alone by cab at night.
6. Going to a toilet alone. No, this isn't a selfie thing. Toilets could be deserted, someone could approach you with the intention of causing harm and the people you are with should know where you are and to expect you back.
8. Going for a drink with a colleague and having them misinterpret your intentions.
9. Opening the door to delivery men, handymen in your home clothes and having them ogle at you because you're dressed a certain way.
10. Worrying that a stranger’s phone pointing in your direction is taking an unsolicited photo of you.
11. And whatever said stranger can do with those images.
12. Running/ exercising alone at night.
13. Doing anything really, alone at night.
14. Fearing that your Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram pictures could land up anywhere on the internet in a context you didn't intend for them to.
15. Carrying a jacket around like a safety blanket because you're scared of the stares you might get otherwise.
16. Having a smile be misinterpreted as an invitation.
17. Being in a strange part of a city and realising your cab driver is taking an unfamiliar road.
18. Being outdoors at night and having your phone battery die.