All too familiar fear


I rolled my car up to the exit of the parking garage, ready to pay for parking with my GRCC ID card and leave, as the evening class my friend and I take at GRCC had just ended.

An angry beep sends frustrated dismay shooting through me. There was no money left on my card. My friend and I screamed in anguish, our defeat and lack of sleep manifesting into giggles and hysteria.

I slowly backed my car out, waving my hand out the window to signal the car behind me to back out as well. As soon as I had enough room to maneuver my car out of the exit, I whipped around the corner, eager to park my car and reload my card on my phone so we could get home.

We parked, and my friend and I blubbered, cackling at our own stupidity in our stressed delirium. It was almost 10 p.m. on a school night, we were overwhelmed with school and college applications, and we certainly wanted to be home instead of downtown GR.

I looked up to see a car park next to us; the boy inside waved to me, signaling me to lower my window.

My friend and I were two seventeen-year-old girls in downtown GR in a parking garage that was growing more and more empty by the second.

I turned to my friend, our blubbers instantly turning from laughs to panic.

The boy got out of the car and began to approach my side of the car.

I think at that point one of us began to mutter, “We’re gonna die, we’re gonna die, we’re gonna die.”

He crouched to look in my window, and my fear-stricken fingers, not knowing what else to do, rolled down the window.

A million scenarios flashed in my mind at that moment; not one was good in the slightest.

However, my friend and I just happened to be one of the lucky ones.

The sad part is that I am no stranger to that fear. I, and every other girl, have scary stories stowed away like a sickening collection of near-miss nightmares.

For all the times that girls in this country have been told to dress a certain a way or act a certain way or carry themselves a certain way, there is a still a sexual assault every 98 seconds in America.*

Time and time again, desperate voices have risen, bearing their wounds, attempting to call attention to the problem no one wants to do anything about.

Finally, finally, those voices started to gain some traction. Maybe now things will start to change. Maybe now we’ll transform the way we approach this issue, treat survivors, and punish perpetrators. Maybe now our government will step in with legislation and just judiciary action.

Maybe nominating a man accused by at least three women of sexual assault for the highest court of the nation is the perfect way to encourage such reform. In no way does that disparage and denounce the movement and stories of millions of survivors in this country.

The boy from the parking garage turned out to merely be offering us his ID card to pay for parking. My friend and I were touched and stricken by the surprise of such unadulterated kindness.

The boy was simply a generous stranger. We were lucky; too many others are not.

*Stats provided by Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network