While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. `’Tis some visitor,’ I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door – Only this, and nothing more.’ -Edgar Allan Poe
Early this morning (3am), I heard a sound from my front door. I thought there was a dog scraping against it or something – my cat’s in heat and there have been more than a few animals coming up to my front door – but then, then, there was knocking. And dogs, to my knowledge and first-hand experience, don’t knock.
To make a long story filled with me crying and yelling while clutching a rather wicked-looking kitchen knife, I’ll get straight to the point:
A boy (who I initially thought was a man), 17 years old, was drunk. He works at the store near me. He delivers water and ice to many people around here who know me. This morning he got drunk and decided to break into my house.
When I was at the police station, the police showed me the broken spoon handle he was using to try and pry my door open at the latch.
He was caught in the act (being drunk, apparently my yelling at him, in English and Thai, that the police were on their way had no affect on him), so there was no question what he was trying to do. He also told them that he was wanting to sleep. It was asked if he knew various things about me and my living situation, and he said he knew nothing, but I find that to be highly unlikely given that I’m known to most of my neighbors, and his employers even more than some.
Because of this, my cats and I are moving to a new apartment. Not very far away, mind, still in the same neighborhood. Because this is a good location. It’s a really good location for me, and I won’t have some teenage jackass scare me away. I’ll take understandable precautions, and I’ll certainly be more careful from now on (not that I did anything wrong before, because I didn’t, because it worked and I’m fine), but I will not fall slave to fear.
But there were some surprising thoughts that came from this event. No one has talked about rape near me, but no one I know is stupid. We’re all thinking it.
I’m a feminist (I believe in women’s equality and rights, and equality and rights for all peoples, it’s only right to be a feminist!), and I’ve long fought against the idea of victim blaming. Yet my first thoughts were “Did I wear something that gave him some idea … did I say something, indicate in any way?…”
When I realized what I was thinking, I was stunned. For the sake of facts, I’m not really the “sexxy clothes” type as I’m too lazy to bother with all the prep that goes with it, and I’ve not said more than a passing ‘hi’ to a group that he’s been part of. That’s completely outside of the point, though. HE attacked MY HOUSE. I don’t know his reasons, why he targeted me, and he DID target me. There are other places right next door to me that are more accessible. I have a gate and a fence on all sides. Sure you can step over the one between my neighbor and I and my neighbor lacks the gate, but, thus the point: why me and not the neighbor?
Because it was ME he was after in some way. But it is NOT my fault I was targeted. It’s HIS fault. His and his alone. This is true in so many instances.
Do not blame the victim.
(Edit to add a followup post. On December 27, 2013.)