Dear guy on the street or in the car next to me,

I see you. I know who you are, and what you’re doing. I hear you too, whistles and comments under your breath. They don’t go unnoticed.

But you know what? Thank you. You have helped me realize something. I’m not alone in this world. The lady in the car beside us that honks at you when you come too close. She’s there. And the old man who yells at you to get away from his granddaughter. Even though we’ve never said more than, “Have a good day.” He’s there too.

It takes time to understand that it’s not my fault. I never asked for you to do any of this.

Dear guy who follows me several blocks and yells, “Hey bitch,” out your window,

You make me feel afraid. You’re bigger and stronger and I’m terrified.

I hate you, and I don’t understand you. But I know nothing’s going to change, because you will never change.

You are the reason I walk with keys laced between my fingers, and earbuds that don’t play music. I can’t understand you, and that scares me.

Why do you do what you do?

Do you really think it would be okay if we weren’t kids? You apologized when you saw that we were barely in our teens, but would you have apologized if we had been older? But instead of saying, “Oh my bad, you’re just kids,” would you say, “Oh my bad, you’re a human being,” a person who deserves respect just like any other.

Do you even understand what you’re doing?

I don’t even know if I do.