Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I'd Rather Be Safe Than Polite

When I was a teenager, I was out waiting at a bus stop one day. A car with 3 guys in it drove up and offered me a ride. I smiled and said, "No thank you."  The guy in the back of the car leaned out, sneered at me and said in a voice dripping with contempt, "It's not like we're going to rape you or anything."  I continued to smile and again said, "No thank you."  They squealed away from the curb and I never saw them again.

There was nothing that seemed particularly wrong with these guys. I just simply was not going to take the chance. What ever fun they thought we would have was not worth the risk.  They do, however, illustrate a common problem.  I was a young girl by myself. No one knew precisely where I was. These guys tried to make me feel bad for being cautious. They tried to embarrass and shame me by insinuating that I was crazy to consider that they could be up to no good.

Let's assume they meant no harm whatsoever. Do you think if they are all grown up now with daughters of their own, that they would want their daughters to get in that car?  I certainly hope not.

Never let anyone make you feel stupid for being safe. If we could tell the rapists, muggers and murderers at a glance, no one would ever get hurt.

When it comes to your personal safety, it is better to offend that complete stranger than take the chance that they mean you harm.   Making you feel stupid for being cautious is one of the best tricks in a rapist's arsenal. So go ahead and be safe; be cautious. 

I would rather feel a little stupid for being overly cautious. I know I can survive that.

And if your instincts are telling you something is wrong? Above all, listen to that little voice in the back of your head that says tread lightly.  Do not let trying to be helpful or trying to be polite, put you in a dangerous situation. You can always leave and go call for someone to go help them if they are truly stranded.

Your safety comes first. If a voice in your head tells you something is wrong, listen to it and get away.  There is only one you and I would rather you be around in twenty years to have the opportunity to feel silly about not taking that ride. But then, I don't feel silly about it at all.

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