Why Street Harassment is Terrorism

One night, early on in my time of living in Amsterdam, I was walking with my then boyfriend in the park near our flat, and we had a one of those inconsequential disagreements that somehow blows up into a massive argument. It got so heated that I stormed off to go home, and he didn't come after me. I was flabbergasted. I'd assumed that he would understand that the storming off was a symbolic gesture and that the correct response was to let me go but follow me at a suitably chastened distance to make sure that I wouldn't get raped or murdered on the way home. Instead, he wandered off in the other direction to get some space and cool off. After he got home, I said that the fact that we'd had a minor if melodramatic disagreement shouldn't override his underlying concern for my safety. He said that the chances of me getting raped and murdered in the ten minutes that it was going to take for me to walk home were infinitesimally small, he wasn't worried about me at all, and besides, I was the one who chose to storm off. Who was right? Well, him. But me. But also him. But mainly me.

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