I like to walk alone at night. The city is so peaceful and beautiful. Walking alone at night calms me. The quietness of the streets gives me time to think or to turn my iPod up to max and not think at all. Being someone who works variable shifts, sometimes I walk at night to get to or from work. Sometimes I just do it for the sheer pleasure of the walk. These times I can walk for miles and find myself in unexpected places, seeing the city from unexpected angles. When things have been roughest in my life, I have been known just to walk all night, wending my path back towards home just as the birds start singing. In the meditative state of walking at night, I have made some of my most serious decisions and realisations.
It’s not something I even think about. I don’t think that I ought to be scared or maybe I shouldn’t do it. I just go ahead and do so. Back when I was a young teenager and things were really bad at home and in my head, I would climb out my window after the rest of the household was asleep and just walk. I’ve walked in small towns and big cities. I’ve walked through places I know well and places I’ve never been before. I’ve walked to the wrong side of the tracks. I’ve walked at night in strange foreign cities. I’ve
walked staggered home drunk, carrying my high heels. I’ve walked home after a shift at a massage parlour in full hooker regalia (Yes, indeed – dressed exactly like a whore).
But I am never scared. I refuse to be scared. Allowing myself to get scared, modifying my behaviour and staying home after dark – that would be letting the rapists win.
And maybe one day I will get attacked. I’m not naive. I don’t think myself bulletproof or impervious. But should that happen, I won’t tolerate anyone telling me I’m even slightly responsible for the actions of another. Being female, alone and out after dark all at once does not form any level of consent or “asking for it”.