I wanted to make a list of habits I've developed or red flags that set off personal alarms because of situations I've been in with, or because of, men. So here we go:
When driving, if there is a car pacing next to me for a length of time, I avoid looking to see who it is because of a time when I was driving home. The guy in the SUV next to me had his rear view mirror angled so that I could see him masturbating (and doing a very poor job of it).
If I go on trips involving a team I'm on, I either room with guys I can trust, or I room alone (assuming there are no women to room with). Because a teammate made sure I got no sleep one night.
I have trouble accepting compliments on how I look, because a friend thought I was dressing up for him, and tried to force himself on me. And, when I went to a gala after I got out of an abusive relationship, my bf at the time leered at me and said, "I can't wait for you to get home so I can molest you."
When I go to concerts alone, or in strange places, I sneak my spiked wrist bracelet in with me. I wrap it around my fist so I can interest people to move away from me. Because someone at a concert thought my being near him was reason to put his hands in places they shouldn't be.
On a trip to my favourite swim spot on the river, I made the mistake of taking a teammate who I wasn't comfortable in being around (I chalked it up to cultural differences). He tried to force himself on me. When I told him no and decided we were going home, he went and told the inner circle of the team that I had sex with him.
I learned BJJ because an ex used leg locks and choke holds to "keep me in line". Learning it led to the one above, along with learning that someone I respected wasn't worth the respect.
I locked myself up both emotionally and sexually, because I was told by an ex that I was too emotional and I needed to get control of it (I'm still trying to unlock all of that).
I'm fearful of overly affectionate drunks both because of the demon I call my grandfather, and because I'm fearful of having to hurt someone because they won't listen to the word no).
I have bolted away from what might have been first dates, because the guy was just trying to be nice, or paid for something I didn't expect, because I was getting the wrong signals. I'm pretty sure they were both just nice guys, but it set off alarms from "nice guys" who were expecting repayment.
A guy who decided I had wronged him, put my unlisted home number up in a gas station bathroom, with the note "for great anal sex call *my name misspelled*". I got so many phone calls between the hours of midnight and 4AM that I almost had to quit my corporate job because I wasn't getting any sleep. I called the cops, they took my statement, and I never heard from the detective on my case. I ultimately had to change my number and move. This is why I don't answer calls from numbers I don't know.
In college, a guy called me – wrong number. Apparently, he had a female friend who would let him talk to her while masturbating. He did it to me quite a few times. I hung up on him, a lot. The only way it stopped, was when it turned out a friend of his fiancee was on the hockey team with me. He told her. I started making sure my dorm number was unlisted. As an RA, it was only available if you were a student in my building.
I won't get into the catcalls I've gotten, walking down the road. I also make sure that, if I'm on the bus or the train, I'm sitting or standing with my back against a wall and my bag between me and other people. I also walk with headphones on, normally – not necessarily listening to anything. I used to walk with my keys in my fist, now I only do that in places I'm not familiar with, or when I'm alone. I'm always looking at my surroundings and sizing up everything and everyone.
None of this is fair to the really nice people who don't deserve this. But it is because of a few – because I don't know who they are and they are good at hiding. I differentiate between the "nice guys" and the Nice Guys. I love the Nice Guys because I'm like their sister, and they protect me like their sister. And I have their back like a little sister and will beat the crap out of anyone who messes with them. I just wish there were more of them, so everyone can have a little sister.
The other day, while I was waiting on the train. A stranger walked up to me and asked if I could use his phone. I stood there frozen, not willing to let my phone go because I had been witness to how phones get stolen, and conflicted on that. I was very hesitant on calling the number because I felt sorry for the excuse he gave me (and his phone really was dead), and afterwards I kicked myself because he now had my phone number. How messed up is it, that those thoughts go through my head in trying to be nice and help someone out.