I’ve been going out since I was 14. Some might argue that’s too young but that’s how it goes in Belgium. I can’t say whether that’s good or bad. I can say I’ve had plenty of encounters with men thinking they can do whatever they want when I’ve had a little too much to drink or when they’ve had a little too much to drink.

How many guys have grabbed my ass while going out? I lost count.

I get to shake my ass however I want, it does not give you the right to suddenly grab it out of nowhere. I am not provoking anyone while dancing. I am dancing cause I like having fun. Don’t you?

How many guys kept asking for sex even when I said NO the first time? Enough.

I didn’t know that when I said ‘no’ the first time that I actually meant ‘yes’. Oh right, a no is a no, no matter whom it comes from. As if you know better what I want. You don’t.

How many guys have yelled at me on the streets saying dirty stuff? Plenty.

No, I do not secretly like it when men yell at me during the day or at night. I prefer walking down the streets casually, enjoying my surroundings and my own thoughts.

One night at Student Kick Off I had a little too much to drink. A good friend of mine brought me back to my student residence and tucked me into bed when the door of my room suddenly opened. Some guys ‘thought it was the washroom’. When my friend left, she luckily locked the door cause 15 minutes later someone tried to open my door again. I’m not sure what the person was thinking but using a drunk girl to potentially have sex with, isn’t that pretty disturbing? 

Some would argue that you shouldn’t get drunk but how come men can get drunk without being endangered like that? That drunk person might not have asked for sex. What the person probably would’ve asked for, if she could, is for someone to take care of her and bring her home.

 Another night I was walking back home from the Charlatan and it felt like I was being followed. The streets were pretty empty at 4.30 am so I just stopped to let the person pass by. The person stopped in front of me. I looked up and some guy started talking to me, saying he saw me in the pub and wanted to talk to me. You couldn’t have done that in the pub?

I stayed polite, afraid of aggressive behavior but the guy kept walking with me when I said I was heading home. No one was around. Not sure what to do and thinking of how I could get out of this situation I kept walking until he suddenly said he had to head back cause his stuff was still at the pub. He left after he gave his number and kissed me on the cheek. I was ‘relieved’.

Yes, nothing happened but we live in a society that when women walk alone at night they are afraid. They are afraid of perpetrators. I didn’t feel comfortable at all but what was I supposed to do? Yell and make him angry? Run and being followed? 

I’m alone, at night, on the streets, as a woman. Do not tell me I shouldn’t be walking alone at night as a woman. Do not tell me I need friends to walk me home.

I should be able to walk home like anybody else without feeling afraid.

Instead of warning women and making them afraid of walking alone at night, we should actively condemn such behavior, campaign around the topic and create a safe environment for everyone.

I can do better. We can do better.