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Male Strangers Offering Girls Rides

September 23, 2010

Whenever an incident happens that the school district’s administration wants all students and their guardians to know about, they send out mass emails and telephone calls. If no one answers the telephone, one of those automated services leaves a message. Apparently, today some creep tried to talk two girls into his car while they were walking to school. Here is one of those identifying girl moments. Naturally, perverts have and do target boys; however, I don’t think I have ever met a female person who was not “asked” to enter a car driven by a strange male.

In the summer of 1975, I was twelve years old. Michelle, a friend of mine and I were walking back from the public swimming pool about two to three miles from her house. We were walking because she did not want to stay until the designated pick up time. The following summer we were in a similar situation when she again did not want to wait for her mother to collect us when left at a lake, —a four to five mile walk home. I could have stayed longer both times but it was her house and I was the visitor. Although, I didn’t have the words for it then, I felt something eye rolling worthy and I understand now it was frustration. Frustration because swimming at the pool and the lake were luxuries to me, but so commonplace for her that she did not care if time was taken away from actually playing and swimming and instead spent on walking home just in time to meet her mother about to leave to get us.

When we were walking back from the public pool we had made it passed the most dangerous road with the highest possibility of being hit by a car, and across a large shopping center’s parking lot, and the spooky back entrance into her heavily wooded neighborhood. The back entry was spooky because it was behind the shopping center, many people did not know that it existed and many who did used it as a public dump. It was not uncommon to have to move an abandoned refrigerator out of the road in order to drive down that road. Once we were on the first street with houses we had two choices. We could walk down that street until we reached another street way passed the woods that connected that street with her street or we could walk through the woods and come up on her street two lots over. We called it the woods but it was actually the equivalent of five or six lots. Each house sat on almost an acre so essentially it was an undeveloped lot for the right side of the back street and another lot for the left side of the front street. Kids being lazy and not wanting to publicize their movements to the watchful eyes of nosy adults had formed a solid path. Sometimes kids road their bicycle through half of the path. Fallen tree branches blocked the trail from allowing the bicycles to go all the way through and no one volunteered to clear the way. Besides, without the blocking branches, the appeal of walking along the path would have been lessen. Nothing to hop up and over.

It was not too late in the day. The sun was still shining bright. As Michelle and I approached the point in which we must decide to walk down to the connecting road or go through the woods, a man in a blue mustang pulled along beside us. There was loud music coming from his car. He had to have come from the way of the shopping center. He knew the area or he followed us. His hair and dress was typical of the time. A combination of David and Shaun Cassidy but not as polished. He asked if we wanted a ride. We both said no. He asked repeatedly. We did not engage, stop, giggle, or encourage. We just walked straight ahead. He drove beside us as we walked. He would not drive away and allow us to walk unmolested.

Without saying a word, the second Michelle and I saw the path leading into the woods we took off running. I don’t know why we chose the woods. I guess because we must have both thought that his car could not go in the woods even though he could have gotten out and chased us. But there was something about him needing our “consent.” As we were half way down the path, I heard his tires squeal and what sounded like his car speeding off. When we got to her house she told her mother right away, who turned around and called the police. I remember standing there thinking how I had not planned to tell her mother or anyone else. For some reason I was still processing how it was something I should be ashamed of or my fault. There was nothing much to tell the police when they arrived and we never saw that blue mustang again.

However, that was just the beginning.

Once I was old enough to start riding the city bus alone, especially going to and from work, I never experienced a day waiting at the bus stop without having to deal with some man riding up and asking/begging/demanding that I accept his “kindness” of offering me a ride. Some men would laugh off my rejection and say something along the lines of “Maybe next time” and many others would curse me out as they sped off. Totally oafish. There was no way in hell I was ever going to ride with any of them. And you know what? I didn’t have a concrete reason, such as I heard a story or had rode with a man and had something awful happen. I just knew that I could never ride with any of them.

How about you? Are you a female person who has never been offered a ride by a male? Do you remember being offered a ride by a male when you were a child?

20 Comments
  1. September 23, 2010 5:11 am

    I was seven when my mother told me, don’t accept rides from men on the way home… and it was like, 2 hours after she warned me, that it happened the first time! I always wondered if she was psychic or something.

    But that is why I remembered it so well. It happened countless times afterwards. At age 19, I was in a big hurry to get somewhere, and accepted the ride. The creepy guy (but big expensive car) asked me if I “wanted to fool around a little bit?” I told him my first priority was getting rid of all the fleas in my house (which was true, actually) and that I was sure I was covered with fleas, so not a good idea. Not another word from the guy and he dropped me off at the bus stop like a hot potato, LOL.

    I’ve heard claiming scabies and/or lice is also very effective. 😉

  2. September 23, 2010 8:25 am

    Fuck, it’s crazy that you bring this up. The other day, I was walking to a friends house from the near-by train station and a ute-load of young men drove really slow next to me, jeered and leered at me and then tried to forcibly pull me into their car, after I’d told them, no I don’t need a lift and please leave me the fuck alone. It was fucking terrifying.
    Very fucking lucky for me that a cop-car was going the opposite way at that minute, the guys sped off and the cops went after them (though, presumably for speeding, not for harassing strange womyn on the street.)

    When I was younger, and first hitting puberty, I got my breasts at age 8, pubic hair at age 9 and my period by age 10. It was around then that men started to get me to go into cars with them. Or take a walk with them. Or come look for their dog with them. Or whatever bullshit they choose to spin.

    I just knew that I could never ride with any of them.

    It’s like that hey, and you always feel so strange, awkward and uncomfortable, before, during and after turning them down. I’m always afraid they’ll try and knife me or drag me off anyway.

  3. la redactora permalink
    September 23, 2010 10:54 am

    I think all the above were the reasons I was always under relative house arrest. So no, shit like that never happened to me when I was growing up.

    The first and last time a man asked me “politely” if I wanted “a ride to x location where I was not going” I was walking to work. He was kind of like a walking Viagra commercial, replete with the sports car of desperation and “touch of gray just for men.” What really got me was that it turned me into a total twit. I was all “Oh teehee no thanks.” And then he just drove away, thank god.

    “His hair and dress was typical of the time. A combination of David and Shaun Cassidy but not as polished. He asked if we wanted a ride. ”

    Yes, but was his name Arnold Friend?

    xttp://jco.usfca.edu/works/wgoing/text.html

    They all seem to always have burst forth from the same school of sleaze, don’t they.

  4. September 23, 2010 1:25 pm

    I don’t remember exactly how old I was, between 8-10 for sure. I had just came out of the local party store that was about 3 1/2 blocks from my house. I hopped onto my bike and started to pull away from the step of the store when two guys from a car parked in front of the store as well offered me a ride. I said I have my bike. The passenger male then holds out some cash as if to bribe me into their car. I don’t know why I didn’t go right back into the store and tell, but I instead pushed off the step of the store as hard as I could (for momentum) and tore off on my bike till I got home. Once I felt safe, feelings fear and shame washed over me, and I said nothing to my granny or brother (whom I lived with).

    An hour or so later my granny received a call from a neighbor asking my granny to ask me have I seen John (Parker). John was a neighborhood friend. I hadnt seen him btw. Apparently he had been missing for a few hours. As soon as my granny hung up, I thought about the men in the car, thinking they had got John. Trying to be casual about it, I told my granny and brother some guys tried to give me a ride at Kettles (the party store). They looked freaked out which didnt make me feel any better. My granny called John’s mother back, and at this point the police were at John’s house. John’s mom told the police what I told my granny and they wanted to come over and talk to me. I think I felt more scared then than when they men tried to get me into their car. I guess I felt ashamed of my powerlessness, and that maybe had I done something (what, who knows) right then and there John wouldnt be missing.

    The cop came over and politely questioned me. I told him what I knew/remembered. I continued to worry/feel bad, then maybe an hour or so later John’s mom called and he was found over at another friends house. He had lost track of time.

    dirt

  5. September 23, 2010 5:07 pm

    My childhood home was near a mall, and I would frequently walk there with a friend. Around age 12-ish probably, we were on our way back and walking by a bus stop when a car with a couple of young men in it stopped beside us and asked us if we wanted a ride. We said something like, “No, thanks, we’re fine,” and they pushed it with a, “Are you sure?” and I think mentioned something about it being hot out. We stood our ground, and, luckily, they just left us alone. Ugg, I have so many male-terrorism-related stories involving going to or from that mall or being in it.

    A couple years ago, I had gotten off the bus, coming home from campus. Two men (probably in their late 40s) had just gotten out of their truck in a parking lot and walked over to the sidewalk where I was. I had my headphones on, but I could tell they asked me if I needed a ride. I acted like I didn’t notice anything and just quickly walked across the street. They stood at another crosswalk (perpendicular to where I was headed), one of them said something dismissive-sounding once I got across the street (in an unmistakable “fine, be that way” tone). I looked back a bit later to make sure they weren’t following me and, luckily, they weren’t. It all just comes down to luck, doesn’t it?

  6. September 24, 2010 12:02 am

    Men attempt to coerce in the name of asking and coaxing so they can feel separate and different from the men who flat out force females into their car. That way he can convince himself that it is okay to do what he wants to her if she gets in the car because when it comes down to it, he “asked” unlike the overt rapists who don’t “ask.”

    • September 24, 2010 12:25 am

      Which is why males love it when the conversation is about “consent.” If rape is an issue of whether or not a girl/woman “consents,” then it’s not about the fact that a man can be (and is, in my opinion) a rapist, regardless. And that’s why males are always on-board with the “yes means yes” brand of “feminism.”

    • September 24, 2010 4:12 am

      Second this.

  7. Liberate-her permalink
    September 24, 2010 4:58 pm

    The male-bodied can’t even begin to fathom how much privilege they garnered in the all-important formative years of childhood. And I’m so glad you all acknowledge the myriad ways that is true, unlike purveyors of certain brands of feminism (yes means yes feminism, I guess, MJ!) who will only acknowledge it up to the point where it might hurt a privileged MtF’s feelings!

  8. Liberate-her permalink
    September 24, 2010 5:00 pm

    (I am new, and a fan. Hello! A great blog you have here, KittyGlendower!)

    • Liberate-her permalink
      September 25, 2010 2:05 am

      I am also not a fan of proofreading.

    • September 25, 2010 2:24 am

      That is the luxury one has at her own blog, she can edit her own words. Unlike at other blogs. I re-read my comments left at other places and cringe. And there is nothing I can do about it, —other than bother the blog owner to edit, and that is not really an option.

      I am very glad you like our blog, Liberate-her. Welcome.

    • Liberate-her permalink
      September 25, 2010 3:16 pm

      Thanks for the edit! 🙂

  9. September 24, 2010 9:17 pm

    Oh yes, this happened countless times. Once, after one of the many times I had ‘run away’ or been kicked out, I was sitting at a bus stop with not much to do until morning. It was very late and at least -20 outside. I was getting really tired and worried I would freeze to death if I fell asleep, so when a man came along and asked me if I wanted a ride, I actually got in. No sooner were we back on the road than he had his disgusting dick out and was saying ‘get on’. I was fifteen.

    I started to cry in terror, shame, and exhaustion, and he took ‘pity’ on me and dumped me on the side of the road. I had no idea where I was and ended up having to accept another ride from two men this time, to get back to where I was. I was so scared the whole time I was in the car but they didn’t try anything.

    So yes, it always does come down to luck.

  10. September 24, 2010 9:22 pm

    My friends and I used to walk home from town at night, and men would always stop and try to pick us up. They would kerb-crawl us – drive really slowly next to us for miles. My mum drummed it into me to never, under any circumstances, get into a car with someone I didn’t know. She and her best friend when they were teenagers got kidnapped and locked in a room by two men who had offered them a lift. Luckily they managed to break out and ran for their lives. I used to think my mum had made that story up to scare me – it sounded so dramatic and terrifying.

  11. September 25, 2010 8:40 pm

    I don’t remember this type of thing happening to me much before puberty, but that could be because of where I lived/grew up (on a hill with looping, twisting streets where the real estate agent joked to my parents that the reason there was no [outside-the-home] crime was because criminals would never know how the fuck to get back out of there if the cops were chasing them so they didn’t bother). Maybe also because I rarely if ever walked anywhere alone – was always with my sister and/or other friends, but also didn’t do much walking-to-places in the first place, usually always got rides. You pretty much had to drive to get to any place besides other-parts-of-the-hill-which-was-all-residences.

    Anyway, it definitely has happened to me in young adulthood and beyond of course. I looked underage well into my 20’s, and I remember walking back to my rented room in Santa Cruz one afternoon after buying a sandwich down the street, and some young-ish man pulled up beside me and asked if I wanted a date. And I was so fucking sheltered/naive that I didn’t understand at first. I thought, why would he think I was hoping to meet a man to have a date with when I’m just walking down the block like this? Granted, it was before internet dating took off, but I was still certain that people mostly met each other for that type of thing in bars or at parties or from mutual friends or whatever.

    After he explained what he really meant (thanks for taking the time, mister!), I got angry at him and was like, what the FUCK? Not because I was mad to be “mistaken” for a prostitute (incredulous was more like it – these were the days when I wore no makeup and dressed as much like an adolescent boy as possible), but because I already fucking hated men who used prostitutes, especially street prostitutes. He got mad back at me, saying I should have known that someone would through no fault of his own assume that I was out there hooking and had no right to judge him.

    The best part was that this was the day after I’d been raped by someone I was dating, and had left my rented room with a great deal of fear about the outside, but had finally gotten too hungry to stay holed up inside. It was one of the first times that I consciously experienced being female as living in a constant war zone.

    • la redactora permalink
      September 25, 2010 11:07 pm

      “being female as living in a constant war zone.”

      Yes.

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