Male Strangers Offering Girls Rides
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?