These are forms of male aggression that only women see. But even when men are afforded a front seat to harassment, they don’t always have the correct vantage point for recognizing the subtlety of its operation. Four years before the murders, I was sitting in a bar in Washington, D.C. with a male friend. Another young woman was alone at the bar when an older man scooted next to her. He was aggressive, wasted, and sitting too close, but she smiled curtly at his ramblings and laughed softly at his jokes as she patiently downed her drink. ‘Why is she humoring him?’ my friend asked me. ‘You would never do that.’ I was too embarrassed to say: ‘Because he looks scary’ and ‘I do it all the time.’
Women who have experienced this can recognize that placating these men is a rational choice, a form of self-defense to protect against setting off an aggressor. But to male bystanders, it often looks like a warm welcome, and that helps to shift blame in the public eye from the harasser and onto his target, who’s failed to respond with the type of masculine bravado that men more easily recognize.
i’m sat in a dark room listening to Coldplay. It’s happened. I’m having my very pre-mid life crisis.
I had the revelation a couple of hours ago that in a couple months i’ll be twenty, and not a teenager, and i’m still doing childish as fuck shit and don’t act anything like an adult. a lot of people my age have kids and shit and i’m lying in bed all day watching netflix, like how am i meant to be an actual functioning adult if i can’t ever be bothered to leave the house and am terrified to make phone calls, or don’t go to shops that don’t have self-service checkouts? like when did this happen? how have i been alive for almost twenty years, and not done anything? i’m really depressed now and terrified.