I photographed my hand print and sent it off.
Local band (and stellar human beings) Positive No had requested that anyone who'd ever been sexually harassed, groped or verbally attacked in a public place such as a street, subway or school, or a business where people come together send them a close-up of their hand print.
The purpose? The images will be used as part of cover art on their upcoming digital single which deals with "sexual harassment, rape culture and the rage of feeling unsafe in places where a human being has every right to be left alone, have their dignity kept intact and, above all, remain safe."
With decades of experience, I didn't hesitate for a moment to submit mine and this morning I was reminded yet again why.
Walking down Leigh Street on a beautiful Sunday morning, I pass a guy who pulls out his ear buds to say hello and begins walking next to me, unasked, chatting pleasantly.
Wow, you walk fast,
About four miles an hour.
Man, that is fast. Not sure I can keep up.
Most people can't.
How far do you walk?
About six miles.
Whoa, that's far! How old are you?
Damn, girl, I'd have never guessed! You look fine. Why do you walk so much?
It makes me feel better.
I could make you feel better.
You're a little young to be talking to me like this.
I don't care about age. You look good! And I got this...
And right there on Leigh Street, as I'm walking four miles an hour with my eyes straight ahead, this man, unbuckles his belt, reaches into his pants and pulls out...
"You can stop right there," I tell him forcefully and put on the afterburners to leave him standing there to zip up his pants.
This is not about my age, my attire, my body or my willingness to engage with strangers. This is about the rage of feeling unsafe in places where a human being has every right to be left alone.
Hashtag aside, this is 2016. Still. How?