Rachelle’s story: “It still bugs me and makes me feel unsafe”

This is a few years back, but it still bugs me and makes me feel unsafe. There wasn’t a space for me to tell my story then, even to the people I knew. My girlfriend and I were renting a small room on the ground floor near the arm. We were watching tv or something on the couch and she grabbed my shoulder to silently make me look outside. Right outside of our window some dude was masturbating and looking at us. Our reactions still seem strange to me, or kind of sad. We silently both got up and walked into the bathroom, closing and locking the door. Neither one of us said anything for a while, and we debated calling the cops because we felt unsafe. We stayed in the bathroom for about an hour, until we thought he might be gone, and then came out, closed the blinds, and never opened them again for the year we lived there. The next day, our apartment complex was broken into, and there was glass on the floor outside our door for a month – and all I could think was “I’ll never be safe.” I felt angry, that he could do this to me and that if I were to attack him or yell, then somehow I could hurt and I’d “deserve it.” I felt angry at how unsafe and fearful I felt. But I think what upsets me most looking back on it is how ashamed I felt – ashamed because I knew that my girlfriend and I were being sexualized, ashamed because I felt powerless, ashamed because I felt, somehow, that I deserved this – that I should have known better – should have drawn the blinds better, should have been more secretive, should have never thought that this wouldn’t happen to me. And over the next couple of years, when it would happen again, in other spaces with other people, I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that this is normal – that feeling like this, so ashamed, is the reality of being a woman, and of being a queer woman, and I shouldn’t expect anything more. [got_back] The Northwest Arm (view from Google Maps)