There are so many things that I experience differently from men because I am a woman. Part of that is because I can imagine so many worst-case scenarios in which I could get very hurt from doing things that men might do. Some of these imaginary situations are ones I wouldn't have thought of if it weren't for the pervasive images and messages of rape culture around us; others are inspired by the very real fear for me that is expressed by men who care about me. Comrade Dziga goes running after dark all the time. Would he ever feel comfortable if I went jogging at night? No.
All of this is running through my head right now because I am working in a building that has had its plumbing cut off for the week and all employees and the general public are forced to use portapotties in the parking lot. Today, upon exiting the portapotty, I saw a teenager standing outside the building in an odd place. I looked at him curiously for a moment, until I figured out what he was doing. He shouted at me that the bathrooms weren't working as he continued to urinate on the sidewalk. I was freaked out and ran inside to get a man from one of the other offices to go talk to this kid. Yes, I could have told him that there were portapotties. But I just didn't feel particularly safe talking to him given the circumstances.
Now I'm wondering if I should have just said something brief rather than "running to daddy" and getting a man to take care of the situation. However, it's the fact that he yelled at me that made me freaked out. Was he angry? Was he just trying to justify his behavior? I had no way of knowing from his tone, and ... it seemed safest to assume the worst, and act in a way that wouldn't leave me alone outside with him. Sigh.