“Why are you walking home alone?”

I was walking back from my friend’s apartment in Courthouse late at night. I normally feel quite confident walking home alone because I am 5’10, average build, and have taken a year of Krav Maga. Despite this a man was following me, which I suspected, but didn’t know for sure until he said “hey you.” I turned around because I know from my training getting attacked from the back is not ideal. When I turned around, he said “why are you walking home alone?” This was a bit flabbergasting because most men with common sense know that women walking home late at night don’t want to be approached by them. After recovering from my shock at his stupidity I replied “umm, because I can, because I can take care of myself – do you have a problem with that?” He replied “no.” And then I turned away and quickly continued walking until I could sneak around the corner of a building to see if he was following me or not. Luckily he was not following me. There was really no one around so the situation could have been worse. For the record I was wearing jeans and a tank top – nothing ludicrous (not that it should matter).

Location: Wilson Blvd @ Clarendon

Submitted by Anonymous

Submitted on September 13, 2009

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6 responses to ““Why are you walking home alone?”

  1. For the record I was wearing jeans and a tank top – nothing ludicrous (not that it should matter).

    You’re right, it doesn’t matter. That idiot would’ve approached you regardless.

    I thought you handled yourself well with him. It sucks that that area of Arlington seems so nice, but the random idiot like that just ruins it.

  2. Wow. You really stuck it to that nice, concerned guy.

  3. Anon,

    As the OP made clear, he did not come across as a “nice, concerned guy,” and women don’t generally welcome being approached by strange men when they are walking alone.

    Even if he was genuinely concerned (which I sincerely doubt – having been on the receiving end of similar inquiries, I would guess this man was using this inquiry as a lead up to more inappropriate questions/comments), the question “why are you alone?” is not a welcomed one from a stranger on the street. Period. That men think they are free to inquire at will and random about why strange women do anything – especially something totally normal, like walking down the street – is just a symptom and signal of the tremendous privilege they carry and act with all the time.

    You don’t need to protect us, you don’t need to inquire after our well being or status. What’s so hard about just leaving us alone to walk down the street?

    • What a cold world you live in. Everyone needs some help from time to time. I can certainly understand being frustrated, angry, annoyed or frightened by someone boisterously cat calling or actually following. I would never feel less than outrage if someone was physically violated; however, I’m reading far too much animosity toward actions that may be genuine concern or even harmless advance. One poster said she was sick of people saying hi to her on the street. I think there is too little gender issue being discussed here and too much complaining about being forced to be a social member of our community.

      • Sure, everyone needs some help at some time. Here’s the difference—the OP wasn’t in trouble, did not visibly need help and the man wasn’t offering help. He was questioning why she was was out alone. In no way does that fall under “helpful”.

        When you’ve been constantly and repeatedly harassed and approached on the street, you get a bit sensitive. Get enough men telling you how much they want to fuck your pussy after you’ve exchanged an initially pleasant “hello” and guess what? you start ignoring greetings because you just don’t know where it’s going to lead. I can count on one hand the number of times a “harmless” encounter stayed harmless. More often than not, it’s simply an opening.

        This is not about being “forced to be a social member of society”. It’s about men’s general sense of entitlement.

  4. To Anon: A nice, concerned guy would know that approaching a strange woman on the street at night and asking her questions is not reassuring. Also,by questioning her, the implication is that she is not allowed to be out on her own. Frankly, it’s none of his business. He should step up if someone else is bothering her but otherwise, leave off questioning her.

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