Nationality Is Not An Excuse

My colleague gave me a ride back home today, after a teacher’s training session that finished at 7pm, and I told her how I was followed by a guy Saturday morning after I went grocery shopping. It was one of those female bonding moments where she gasped and looked worried and told me if I was alright….until she ruined it.

Basically, Saturday morning I woke up and went to buy a few things. As I was walking back home, a guy started commenting on how the plastic bags, aren’t really that resistant. Unlike condoms. I comment politely saying that if they weren’t that would be a problem. Then, he asked if I lived nearby and I said no, wished him a good day and walked a few more blocks to make sure I wasn’t followed before I headed back home.

Now, before I could even go into all these details, she asked in a matter-of-fact tone:

“But he a foreigner?”

And my mind went, “Seriously? What the fuck?” as my mouth went, “No, he was Italian.”

Because that would justify being followed back home; his nationality. Nothing justifies a man following a woman back home. And ok, the guy might not have had bad intentions; I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. But women are rightly paranoid, and at that moment all I could think of was not letting him, this stranger, know where I live. For obvious reasons.

I didn’t care where he was from. I thought about it only when my colleague asked and remembered he spoke perfect Italian. Otherwise, he would have remained a man following me home. Period. Nationality is not an excuse for making it ‘understandable’ or ‘normal.’ Nothing is.



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