I love writing for O! I’m thrilled to report that I have a very tiny piece in the October issue. The theme of the issue is “How to stop worrying and start living.” So, I wrote about how I survived a classic “stranger in a dark alley” attempted rape back in 2009.
How on Earth does that fit with a “Stop worrying” theme, you ask? Well, the basic idea is this: Ever since my teens, people have been perturbed and alarmed by my habit of walking around, alone, anytime I want to walk someplace. But you’re a female, they say. What are you thinking, going about unescorted? Shouldn’t you be cowering in fear, alone in your home? Or better yet, finding a big strong man to protect you?
Of course they don’t really say that in so many words, and of course people just genuinely care, which is not a bad thing. But still! I like to walk around as though I have I every right to be at liberty wherever and whenever I choose… because I do have that right! So, pestered by these worriers, and being a worrier myself, sometime in college I took a self-defense class.
Fast-forward ten years, and the worst actually happened. I was someplace unsafe, alone, after dark, and sure enough, a crazy rapist attacked me. And some simple tricks from my self-defense class came back to me, and I did them, and I got away with some ugly bruises, a bad case of the jitters, and a strong urge to take the longest, hottest shower of my life… but alive and in one piece.
Was it awful? Yes. Did I have nightmares for a while? Yes. Was I scarred for life? No! Am I ashamed of what happened, do I blame myself? Hell no! Do I now cower alone in my home, afraid to go out after dark? NO! I take sensible precautions, like any sensible human, and I go where I want to go.
I could write a million words on this topic, but anyway…. live your life, and TAKE SELF-DEFENSE, people!
Check it out! I’ll scan the clip and put it up soon, but for now, the issue is still on newsstands! Support O magazine, they tell great stories, they hire amazing people, they are a deeply humanitarian and feminist publication while also being a lot of fun. I’m serious! 🙂