Fed up of hearing stories of sexual assault?
I left the party early, knowing I had an early 8 am kickboxing class, and a strong hankering for a kebab from the place on the corner next to home. I leave my friends having an animated conversation about bondage, and book a motorcycle taxi via Grab, the Uber of South East Asia.
The street is jam-packed with people, it’s Saturday night and this is the most popular bar in town, so it’s hard to find my driver — especially because I’m tipsy, stumbling around, checking the license plate on every bike I see. I walk past a group of guys, tuk-tuk drivers and randos just hanging about, the kind of men that make me look down, sink into myself in the hopes that I can escape the looks, the words.
“Lady?” one of them runs after me, he grabs me by the waist and says forcefully “Grab? Lady you want grab?”
“No, it’s ok, I have a booking,” I say, pulling away.
“Yes I know, I find, your booking my friend,” he says, taking my waist again, running his hand around my back. I follow him over to the other guys, but as we get over there his hand slides lower and he says “ah, beautiful lady! Beautiful lady! I take you home!” as he squeezes my butt and pulls me to him, his breath smells of whiskey as he tries to kiss me and I push him away and leave, leave, take my phone out and cancel the grab, and this guy is still following me saying “my friend! my friend is grab!” and maybe his friend really is a taxi driver but by now I’m freaked out and don’t want to be on a bike with any of those guys. I turn around and tell him, “Look, I’m scared. I’m a woman alone and you are scaring me.”
He leaves me alone. Grab charges me full fare for canceling. I walk home, instead.
Closing time rolls around and drunken men stumbling out of shady bars in dark streets call out to me and I recoil, but right now I don’t want to be alone in a vehicle with a man so I have no other option.
I have to get home, somehow, and it’s not like this is anything new. A standard of evenings out, when you are a woman.
Girlfriends look at you anxiously when you leave and tell you “message me when you get home safe!”