If you don’t understand how women have to always be thinking about protecting themselves, let this Twitter thread explain it to you
Despite all the national conversation about gender violence and rape culture that’s been happening lately, there are still people who don’t get it. So for anyone who is still wondering how the inherent violence of gendered power structures affects women on a day-to-day basis, I present to you this brilliant (and scary) Twitter thread.
Men, think about the last time you had to sell something online. It probably wasn’t a terribly traumatic experience for you. You may have taken some safeguards to ensure you wouldn’t get mugged or something, like meeting the buyer in a public place. I don’t know. I’ve never had to sell something online as a man. Do you guys even do that? If you do, surely you don’t worry about getting stalked, harassed, raped or murdered in your own homes.
But women do.
Twitter user @tragedythyme spelled it all out in her thread about selling a dryer on LetGo. As a woman reading the thread, I was nodding the whole time because yeah, totally been there.
A quick reminder for men: Common events for you can turn into really scary situations for women in a snap.
Case in point: This week I listed a clothes dryer on the Letgo app. Because it was a dryer, a neutral meeting location was impractical. I needed it taken out of my house.
— SaraSuze (@tragedythyme) October 7, 2018
Obviously, you can’t meet in the Walmart parking lot to sell a dryer. So this woman did what she felt was practical to keep herself safe.
To try to stay safe, I decided to only allow people to pick it up after 5 when my husband would be home. But a guy who works nights asked if he could come in the am instead; I said yes as long as you're here before husband leaves for work.— SaraSuze (@tragedythyme) October 7, 2018
Except that didn’t work.
The next morning, buyer isn't here before husband leaves. I message and tell him not to come. He shows up 15 min later. In addition to being late, he has no dolly or help, despite the ad saying the dryer was in a basement & you'd have to remove yourself.— SaraSuze (@tragedythyme) October 7, 2018
He says he will come back with help, I say after 5 would be great. He then asks if he could just see it real quick before coming back and bringing someone over, in case he doesn't want it. So, now I have a decision to make.— SaraSuze (@tragedythyme) October 7, 2018
Oh how many times women have been faced with this decision. Every time we show up for a blind date with a man. Every time we climb into an Uber with a male driver after dark or when we’ve been drinking. Every time we see a man walking toward us on a dark sidewalk.
I quickly try to assess my likelihood of danger, as every woman has done so, so many times. It's instinct. First, what's his age? Late 60s, early 70s. He's tall but thin. Wearing a wedding ring. Hasn't smiled at me strangely or looked at me for too long. I make a judgment call.— SaraSuze (@tragedythyme) October 7, 2018
Feeling like he's more likely to be safe than unsafe, and feeling badly about not letting him see the dryer, I invite him in. Once in the basement, he's POSITIVE he can get it out with just a LITTLE help he says, looking at me.— SaraSuze (@tragedythyme) October 7, 2018
Fuck it. I pick up a side.
Walk to the stairs is fine. We're sharing the work. With each stair, I'm feeling more and more of the weight. I'm sweating. Heaving. Pissed. Halfway up the stairs and it feels like he's doing NOTHING.— SaraSuze (@tragedythyme) October 7, 2018
And then I see it. The look on his face.
Women will understand what’s coming next. That pit in your stomach when you realize you faced that decision – and made the wrong choice.
He's staring at me, hard. Right in the eyes, sly smile on his lips. My hair is matted to my forehead. I can't get a comfortable grip. I'm just about to ask him what's going on - is he even lifting? - when he starts to speak.— SaraSuze (@tragedythyme) October 7, 2018
"Damn, girl. Look at you. Man, those thighs. Put em to work, huh? That sweat looks good on you. Workin thighs like that, I bet your husband is a happy man. C'mon, show me what you got." I was mortified. And I'm realizing I can't get out. He & a dryer I'm lifting are blocking me.— SaraSuze (@tragedythyme) October 7, 2018
So I do what women do, lower my eyes, pretend to laugh a little, start lifting faster. The comments and staring hey worse but I try to block them out. As soon as I am free of the basement I walk straight past him to my phone, wait 5 seconds, and say, "honey, the buyer is here!"— SaraSuze (@tragedythyme) October 7, 2018
And wanna guess what happened? He left without buying it. Was this guy going murder me? Probably not. But I'm not sure. Am I pissed I had to worry about being murdered in my own home because grandpa creeper likes sweaty women? Yeah. Fucker.— SaraSuze (@tragedythyme) October 7, 2018
Sure, no one got hurt in this situation. But a woman is likely to lie awake at night wondering if her family is safe because this man knows where she lives and what time of day her husband is gone at work. In her own home, she cannot relax from the constant fear of violence from men.
The point - other than my being pissed and wanting to tell people - is that events like this, even when we come out ok, take an emotional toll. I was scared. He left more and more of the weight on me & watched me squirm. And now I have one more "thing" that I have to worry about.— SaraSuze (@tragedythyme) October 7, 2018
So men, if you want to be allies, then recognizing that assault is bad is just the minimum. For every sexual assault, there are thousands of events that don't lead to violence but which scare the shit out of us, especially after our "assessment" turns out to have been wrong.— SaraSuze (@tragedythyme) October 7, 2018
And obviously, if you ever are in a woman's home alone, whether during a service call or an online sale like this, accept if she's home alone, she's likely done the assessment. Respect her space, don't do gross shit. The basics. Please.— SaraSuze (@tragedythyme) October 7, 2018
Oh, and in case anyone wants to call this interaction harmless, there was an update posted to Twitter later.
UPDATE: This man just showed up at my house. It's 10pm. Husband answered doorbell, drunk guy mumbles "wrong house" & goes back to his truck. I looked out the window and saw it was him. Tomorrow I'll be here alone with my 4yo while my husband is at work. Terrified in my own house.— SaraSuze (@tragedythyme) October 8, 2018
UPDATE 2: called the police, they were VERY helpful & said I'm in a great spot for rotating cars to sit outside as much as they can tomorrow. Going to see about taking my little one & spending the day at a friend's house tomorrow just in case. Thank you to everyone for support.— SaraSuze (@tragedythyme) October 8, 2018
There it is. The reality of surviving as a woman in America in 2019. Courtesy of Twitter. If you’ve somehow been missing this conversation up until this point, well, now you know. And men, as you are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of this violence, it’s on you to fix it.