Here is a story that I remember hearing as a child. I was walking uptown in my hometown, headed toward the library. Suddenly my parents appeared in their car, insisted that I get in, and whisked me back home.
They later told me that one of my father’s employees–who lived between us and the library–saw a pickup truck following me really slowly along the back street where she lived. Bea called my folks and they came to pick me up, to rescue me from the would-be abductor.
I do not know if this is a real story, or something I dreamed. My 86 year old mother does not remember this happening. But I have held fast to this story for more than fifty years. It is as real to me as anything. I was almost kidnapped. I was almost taken. I was–almost–abducted into the greatest horror ever.
All my life something in me watches for kidnappers. For men in pickup trucks to slow down, to stop, to take me away from everything familiar. To perhaps rape, violate, kill.
I thought, perhaps, that I was alone in my silent fear. In my ridiculous over-imagination. (Even though so often it just shows up as a background hum of wariness, a backdrop that can never quite be forgotten.)
But I have spoken with many other women who feel the same way. Who are wary. Who look left and right. Who sometimes think–this car might be the abductor. This truck might be the man to knock me unconscious. This next vehicle might just carry that gun, that rapist, that violator.
Even today I turned left on our country road when I saw a vehicle stalled up ahead. That scared part inside wanted to protect itself. That scared part that was sure a man waited for me–just because I was female. Just because I was female.
(It turned out that the stalled vehicle was a dear friend. I almost missed talking with him because I didn’t approach.)
My blogging friend, Lori, just wrote a post about her own experience of a possible near-victimization. Her story inspired me to share this.
How many of us women carry horror stories of victimization in our bones? How many of us unconsciously–or consciously–always keep the possibility of abduction close to the surface?
I do not think it is wrong to be aware. To be surveying the environment. To be conscious of possible danger.
I do think it is very, very sad that so many of us carry fearful conditioning that prevents us from feeling safe. Even if we live in a pretty safe remote corner of the planet. I wonder how many men understand this?
Have any of you readers experienced this?