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Bystander's Log

by K.B Roscoe 2 years ago in activism

The Bad

A man entered the car from a restaurant where he had lunch with a sales client. He smiled and did a double take from the door. He commented about my appearance first off, which under normal circumstances isn't inappropriate, but still makes me uncomfortable. He asked me if I was married or had a partner, where I was from etcetera. I answered in kind and asked similar questions to which his responses were; Texas Gulf area, he is married, has children. So for propriety's sake, we'll allow that the boundaries based on his and my answers were set. Platonic, family-oriented conversation, staying away from prying inquiries that veer toward sexual innuendo. He broke these boundaries immediately. He commented that my top was inside-out. He said what kind of a partner would let me leave the house without informing me of this mistake. From my interpretation, this was said with flirtatious intention, and sexual tone. From there forward, it never quite left the conversation for the duration of the ride. He began to ask me what I did for fun. I answered with my hobbies. Shortly there after he asks again. I answered again and I asked him what it was he meant or what he was looking for specifically. He said sex, drugs, and rock'n roll. "Can't help you there, pal." I told him where people go to drink and get silly downtown. He said "Where do you go for fun?"... I had answered this question in very similarly phrased terms for this man twice already. I respond, "Nowhere, really." I stop responding. And more than a few times, he interjects with, "Huh?"

"I didn't say anything."

"Oh! I though you said something."

Eventually I asked him after a little bit of silence what intentions he had from those questions, especially after I had given him the same answers twice before. He read that not as an indictment but as an invitation to persist in his now moderate and ever increasing levels of harassment. I proceeded to shutdown conversation again. He kept staring at me in my mirror for the next 12 minutes.

Upon leaving the vehicle, the man makes me shake his hand.

I soon realized how deeply I was effected by societal implications of female subservience. I rated this mother f#$k%# a 3-star so that he would still be able to get a ride, just not with me. Within 30 minutes I realized my error. I couldn't correct it, but I provided feedback that he was unsafe for female drivers. I still have some anxiety about men who look like this man even just in my peripheral vision. I identify as a woman, I was born biologically female. My parents demonstrated atypical gender roles in the household from nearly day one of my consciousness. My father the stay at home dad and caregiver with part time jobs; my mom was and is the breadwinner. I don't expect special treatment. I expect people to treat other's as humans, not a man to treat a woman as a woman or vice versa. We are all people. Have a conversation or don't, but if you have an attraction to someone, save that bit of info until you're getting out of their vehicle. Leave it on their terms. Be respectful, and responsible, for your actions and know you are not entitled to behave rudely, lecherously, or expect the driver or any other person to attend to your feelings. If you have preferences state them upfront. In any one-on-one situation, don't make people uncomfortable, except to remove yourself from danger. Rate a passenger a 1 if you don't want to see them again, rate a driver a 1 if you don't want to see them again. Stay safe. Act like a person. Stand up for yourself. Compassion and courtesy should be the basic expectation for the code of human interaction.


K.B Roscoe

Human, student, listener, artist, writer. University of North Texas allum. Autism and special education representation advocate.

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