After years of working in sexual assault prevention, my radar is overly tuned to potentially dangerous situations. It took me awhile to see that I was a little bit too tuned, that many situations were completely fine and that I was just a bit too sensitive.
In the past I’ve spoken up when I saw what looked like a stranger intimidating a woman. But in every one of those situations, I was sure that something was not right, based on the girl, her body language, her tone of voice. And I myself was in a right state of mind.
Last night my husband and I went to a wine tasting at a friend’s house. It was one of those deals where the person comes to your house and samples different wines and then you place an order with them. The part that none of us were expecting is them leaving behind the remainder of the 8 bottles we tasted. So a few glasses of wine were consumed and we ended up staying out pretty late.
By the time we were walking home, it was around 130am, prime time for all sorts of crazy to be happening. We were walking down our street when we saw a man and a woman walking towards us arm in arm. The woman was in a short skirt and very high heels and she was stumbling all over the sidewalk, using the man to keep her upright. He seemed pretty sober and was laughing at/with the girl. We couldn’t hear any of their conversation at first, but then she stopped and started hiking up her skirt right as we neared them.
“Is this too short?” she slurred.
“No,” the man laughed.
“What about now?” she asked as she pulled it up a little more.
“No,” the man laughed again.
As we were passing her, she pulled it up to the point that her butt was starting to hang out. As tired as I was from the late hour and more than one glass of wine, I couldn’t just walk by and say nothing.
“Yes!” I said. “It is too short!”
She turned to me and said, “Really?”
“Yes,” I laughed.
“Aww man,” her male companion laughed, walking backwards in the direction they were going.
“Thank you,” the woman slurred. “I won’t believe him. I’ll only believe you.” With that she threw her arms around me and mumbled “thank you” in my ear again.
I don’t know the relationship they have. They could have been a couple, he could have picked her up in a bar, they could just be friends. But regardless I could not let some poor girl expose herself at one thirty in the morning on a busy street. Any number of things could have happened by my speaking up, including being told off by either the girl or the guy to preventing something awful from happening. While the awful thing last night was simply a girl showing a little too much in public, I’m glad I didn’t overlook what part I could take in that not happening.