Jan 14th, 2016

I had flown to Chicago a few days earlier and was leaving my best friend since kindergarten’s house in the loop and was about to take the Metra to the suburbs to visit some friends and their kids. In typical Sequoya style, I arrived with a minute to spare but found myself on the wrong side of the tracks (the sign was confusing- I can’t be the only one that’s happened to). Not knowing my way around the Clybourn stop but having atleast 45 minutes before I could board a train- I decided to explore a little. I found within walking distance,  a Dunkin Donuts. Anyone who’s ever lived in the midwest or visited will notice that these are a staple in the midwest. I now live in New Orleans and there is only a DD in the airport in Kenner or in Metairie. I don’t drive and am too busy to take a 2.5 hour trip on public transit to Metairie’s Dunkin so I always treat myself at the airport. An Iced Coffee sounded amazing, so I was on my way. I was ready for Chicago weather and was  bundled  up in a pea coat, hoodie, scarf, fleece leggings, and Doc Martens. I had walk on paths under overpasses and immediately multiple drivers honked their horns at me. I was walking where I was supposed to and obeying traffic laws. I never know why drivers honk at women walking- it’s frankly scary. I was especially startled because of how windy it was with the highways above me and the cars whirring past me. I was almost to the Dunkin Donuts and only had a street to cross. There wasn’t a light at this intersection and I briefly thought I’d end up in sidewalk limbo without an opportunity to cross at all. As I was debating the possibilities of missing another train and missing out on Dunkin’s Iced coffee or just running through the intersection- A truck pulled over, honked, and asked if I wanted a ride.

No, I did not want a ride- I wanted a damn iced coffee.

I ignored the person, started walking away,  and then was able to cross the street at the next corner.

I have had many people do things like this to me when I’m sitting or standing at bus stops. I have also had a man circle the block multiple times and I have been followed multiple times. This kind of thing is very scary and very dangerous. A few years ago, I was walking to a concert during Mardi Gras and a van pulled up and asked if I needed a ride, I said no and kept walking. They wouldn’t take no for an answer, and a few minutes later came around again and this time I was struck in the head and forced into the van where I was assaulted and dropped off under an overpass on a different side of town. So even situations like people catcalling or honking at me from their vehicles can be very scary because I know in my experience- that can be the beginning of an assault or an attempted assault.

Don’t offer people rides unless you know them or are a driver or they ask for one.

Don’t assault people you give rides to.

Don’t catcall women when they’re walking.

Don’t honk at women when they’re walking.

 

 

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