Before the clock struck 9:00 this morning, I had lost all faith in humanity compliments of back-to-back vile events. I spent the tail end of my commute seething over a message I just received… a woman we recently profiled had just found herself on the receiving end of death/rape threats, one of which detailed gang raping her children. Anxious to speak with her, I could not get to the office fast enough, but less than a block away I was stopped dead in my tracks.
As I neared the last, very busy corner I needed to cross, I passed three construction workers (their profession was self-evident). The next few seconds unfolded in slow motion because I knew what was going to happen, and there was nothing I could do about it.
Without looking left, which is where I was walking, the clueless guy closest to me turned his head and spit. His projectile wad of saliva and bio-godknowswhat hit me right in the chest and across my left arm. I stood there motionless for a nano-second trying to comprehend what had just happened. He saw what he had done.
This is how things unfolded from there…
Me: You just spit on me!
(While spitting is rude, disgusting, and illegal in NY, the moment of impact might be argued an “accident” by some. Regardless, it was the spitter’s response that’s the bigger issue here.)
Him: Ohhh… HON, I’m so saaawee…
(translation: “sorry” said in a condescending, baby voice, as he further attempted to make amends by reaching out to put his arm around me and/or stroke me… I pulled my arm back before he succeeded)
Me: 1) Don’t call me Hon! 2) Don’t put your hands on me! 3) What’s wrong with you?
At that, I was laughed at by the threesome and the conversation ended when one of the stooges tossed me this rotted olive branch… “Go fuck yourself!”
I just stared at them in disbelief, as they walked on laughing.
I am still too enraged to draw an earth shaking conclusion for this piece, so you can take from this whatever you choose.
What I will say is that I know I got off easy… a little biohazard, an f-bomb, some ridicule delivered straight to my face. That pales in comparison to the mind boggling depravity that was hurled by faceless cowards hiding behind computer screens and telephone lines at the woman I was racing to speak with this morning.
But both events, hers and mine, with their varying degrees of offense, are yet more proof positive that there is an underlying current of misplaced disrespect, aggression and hatred being directed at women, and if we don’t dig our heels into the sand, face it head on, and attempt to change it, then we are not only failing each other, we are failing as humans.
Jen Jones is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Women You Should Know