I’m not sure if my story is particularly relevant, but I think it’s an example of how pervasive fear is in our lives.
I live in a European capital city where I almost never experience harassment. (Not speaking the native language also probably helps though, since I’d never know if I was being yelled at or not.)
I was getting on a public bus last week, trying to fight the crowd, when I felt someone put BOTH hands around my waist! Because I used to experience so much public harassment in the United States, I was incredibly freaked out and spun around scowling, ready to fight back against whatever strange man was touching me. Imagine my surprise when I turned to see an elderly woman smiling back at me a bit apologetically, struggling to keep her balance as the bus lurched forward. I could hardly be angry, but she’d absolutely terrified me! She didn’t seem to have any awareness about how her actions had affected me, and since I didn’t want to try speaking through our language barrier, I just sort of stared at her. She got off the bus one stop later. It was the only time a person has purposefully touched me in public in the year I’ve lived here. What a bizarre coincidence.
Location: European Capital City