Facing a Predator

The light in his eyes grew, his eyelids lifted slightly, an idea had taken formation. Like predator and prey, he had identified me, the Muslim woman walking alone, as a victim.

by Deedra Abboud in Mindset, Muslim, Solutions
November 13, 2016 0 comments

While walking down the street in The Hague, I was reminded of many of the Facebook comments I have been reading on Facebook since the election.

I heard guys making loud noises in the distance and getting closer. Not quite barking like dogs. Not quite howling like wolves. Something in between.

I saw the guys coming my way. Three guys in total. White men in their mid-twenties, yet obviously still with the mentality of boys.

As I continued walking, one of the guys making the noises looked at me. I looked back. Our eyes met.

The light in his eyes grew, his eyelids lifted slightly; an idea had taken formation. As predator and prey, he had identified me, the Muslim woman walking alone, as a victim.

We both believed we knew what would happen next.

But he would be wrong.

I kept my pace and direction… my eyes never leaving his.

He continued making noises, bouncing around the sidewalk. He bounced right up to me, within inches of my person… within inches of my face… making the howling/barking noise so close I felt his breath on my cheek. I held our eye contact. I never stopped moving or flinched.

I saw the instant disappointment in his eyes.

He and his friends continued past me, weaving along the sidewalk, continuing their loud antics.

But they got no thrill from me.

The fear in such a situations is not so much the real external threat but the innate fear of ‘what might happen,’ the scary unknown.

Courage is a special kind of knowledge: the knowledge of how to fear what ought to be feared and how not to fear what ought not to be feared. – David Ben-Gurion, Former Prime Minister of Israel.

Technically, I was alone – in that I was walking by myself – but it was not late (6 pm) though it was already dark (Netherland sunsets are 5 pm in November) and there were a few other people walking around in the area.

I knew they were just being stupid, immature, man-boys. I knew they thought they saw an opportunity to increase their thrill by startling, or even scaring, someone they saw as weaker.

Had I shown any hesitation, any weakness, they would have responded with howls of laughter and shared their story of ‘scaring the Muslim girl’ with all their friends for days to come. In the future, they would likely have wanted to get that same thrill again with another unsuspecting victim.

I knew I would not give them that thrill. I knew I would not give them that story. By not reacting in fear, I might even have made them less likely to try it with the next Muslim girl they see.

And that is how I carry myself everywhere I go.

I never expect to encounter predators or even hateful people, and I rarely do, but I won’t allow them to intimidate me should we meet.

[Note: Everyone else I have encountered today has been more than friendly and gracious. Stupid knows no country or culture. Also, I do not believe this had anything to do with Muslim hate but more about how Muslim women are seen – as weak.]





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