Reading this made my eyes well up and my heart start to rocket and my gut fall into my lap.
I've been on that side street so many times.
I've felt the sheer fear that overtakes a person when she is suddenly surrounded by men who tower over, threatening her, laughing as they harrass her openly on a city street.
I've run home with groceries--an outright sprint--to escape beer-soaked promises of sexual assault.
"I'd fuck you so hard, girl." This is followed with grunts or smiles or even high-fives with onlookers.
Once I escaped two men who were coming at me on a sidewalk, then split apart to surround me on either side. They spat out crude demands, and I was so new to New York, that I felt like I might never be seen again.
After ridding myself of the two men who divided in efforts to conquer, a young man met my gait as I continued home.
"You did pretty good back there," he told me. "Way to handle yourself."
I told him thanks, but was badly shaken.
"So. You live around here?," the young man asked. "I do. Maybe we could get a drink sometime."
I looked at him and shook my head in disbelief that he would come onto me after he witnessed what had just happened.
I walked--no, marched--home. There I am safe, mostly. On the streets, I am subject to the whims of those looking to intimidate, harrass or worse.
Everyone reserves the right to go about their lives undisturbed. Everyone deserves the right to enjoy a level of bodily and emotional security that should not be subject to the whim of others and their selfish actions. Everyone, no matter what they look like, where they walk, or what they do, is precious, and should be treated as such. No one should ever be interfered with against their will.