The reason I’m voting tomorrow…
Last Saturday night my friends and I went out for Halloween. We were dressed up as Serena and Blair from Gossip Girl (it’s similar to a school girl outfit if you’re not familiar with the show) and my other friend was dressed as Bill Clinton with balloons (genius- I know.)
The night started when we requested an uber from our house to a friend’s house. And sure enough that’s also where the night started to go downhill…
A car pulls up, I confirm that it’s our uber driver, and we’re on our way. But we’re not in the car for more than 5 minutes before the uber driver, who was male, makes a comment that it’s the first time he ever wished he were back in Catholic school- referring to my friend and mine’s schoolgirl costume. The three of us politely laughed and hoped that was the end of that. But of course, it wasn’t.
Then our uber driver told us that he thinks we both need to be spanked with a ruler.
Spanked. With a ruler.
Is he serious?
The car went silent. I thought for sure that I hadn’t heard him correctly because there’s no way he would have just said that, right? But my roommate heard it clearly, and she scolded him for talking like that. Told him that it’s not okay. He laughed it off and apologized, asking us to please not give him a bad uber rating………
This is the point of the story where people might wonder why we didn’t just ask him to pull over and get out of the car. And to those people I say- yes. That’s a great idea. Except that we were scared. Except that this man who just joked about assaulting us, is the one driving the car.
We could have asked him to pull over, to tell him that that was disgusting, to maybe even tell him to go f*ck himself (which would have been SO rewarding). But let’s think about that for a second.
If we did that, we would have been standing on a street we don’t know, in an area we don’t know, late at night, while we waited to request another uber. And that’s best-case scenario. Because there’s also the chance that he wouldn’t pull over, that he would get angry, that he would make the situation worse, and that we would be in danger. He is the one driving, he is the one responsible for getting us from one destination to the other, and HE is the one with the power in this moment, not us.
So would stopping the car and getting out have been our best option? Or would telling him to stop talking like that and changing the subject be the safer option?
We went with the latter. Because we were scared.
I hope some people reading this story are shocked that this would happen, but I know most are not. This is just your average night out for most women.
And that’s why it’s truly important to acknowledge that it’s not just locker room talk. It’s terrifying, it’s harmful, it’s disrespectful, it’s offensive, and IT’S NOT OKAY.
This, along with many, many other reasons, is why I’ll be voting tomorrow and I hope you will too.
…Ironically, we were on our way to a gay bar that night because we just wanted to dance, to have fun, and to not be groped, or harassed, or sneered at. Just for one night.