A Lesson in Creepology

Most female, and, I'm told, many male pedestrians in Albuquerque experience heckling and cat calls on a daily basis. For instance, two weeks ago in a single day, among other things, I got "hey, baby you've got a [either ’tight' or ’fat,' I couldn't understand what he said] ass" as I walked home. Earlier in the day after ignoring two guys in my neighborhood walking a pit bull, I was granted the infuriating, "at least smile at me you fucking bitch." I don't know why these men think I owe them my attention or feel like they can constantly dispense this degrading and unsolicited variety of their attention, but this is an unfortunate reality of living in Albuquerque.

What's worse is the perverts who take the abuse to the next level, from verbal to physical. I've also known several females who have been threatened or, myself included, assaulted. For me, I was walking home from class one afternoon, was followed, then groped, which may not sound like a big deal, but it sparked a bout of extreme paranoia for a few months and got me a prescription to Xanax.

Currently, although I haven't seen him, other females in my apartment building are having problems with a peeping tom/masturbator. And, as evident in last week's five murders, there are completely insane people wandering around the city. Thus, I think the key to dealing with this, surviving in Albuquerque, if you will, is to first be aware of this reality. Thinking back to my first few years here, I was completely naïve about that reality.

Now when I walk around alone I'm super-aware of my surroundings, and I brace myself for harassment while giving off a very pissed-off vibe. Actually, I am pissed off and that's the second key: presenting a tough image. The third key is to always carry mace. Always. And keep it in sight. If creeps see that you have it, they might be less likely to mess with you. Also, riding a bike instead of walking probably helps. (I need to get one of those.) Finally, try to avoid walking alone, although sometimes, of course, you just have no other choice.