Ladies of Fargo, how many of us know that we should never get into a car with a strange man?
That would be all of us.
Every woman with a brain in her head knows that it is stupid and unsafe to get into a car with a strange man.
Yet here in Fargo, there have been well over 20 times in the past two years where men have stopped their cars on the street and in parking lots, and yelled out their car window to me, "Hey lady, do you need a ride?"
Now, keep in mind, I live in Village West. Everything I would ever need-- grocery stores, Target, Aldi, etc--are within a 10-minute walk of my home. So, yes, I walk everywhere for the fresh air, the fitness, and the mental well-being. However, for some reason, the men of Fargo seem to think I am some damsel in distress because I choose to walk home two to three blocks carrying two to three shopping bags.
I grew up in North Dakota. However, I've lived in five countries in the past 20 years, and have done extensive traveling around the world, all by myself after age 50. So, how incredibly ironic that when I lived in Winnipeg, or Newport, Wales (UK), or Gdynia, Poland, no one pestered me or harassed me when I walked down the street to buy my groceries. In fact, no one bothered me when I walked around Mumbai, India, or Liverpool, England, or Palermo, Sicily, when I was on vacation in those cities by myself, as well.
Last week, when a man stopped his car in the Aldi parking lot to harass me, I wrote down his license plate number and reported him to the Fargo Police. The police did not bother to get back to me. Just yesterday, another man stopped his car outside of the Fargo Dollar Tree to harass me and "offer me a ride." I told him I was going to call the police. He quickly drove off.
I was born and raised in North Dakota.
I've lived in this state for 40 years, and I'm 55 years old.
But it is sadly pathetic and downright scary when I'm unable to walk home from the grocery store, bank, or mall---safely and peacefully---and without harassment from so-called "helpful" Fargo men trying to lure me into their cars.
Jill Whitcomb lives in Fargo.
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