I was seated in the car at Forest Mall, waiting for a client who was over an hour late when an elegantly dressed young lady, probably in her early to mid 30s walked up to her car parked adjucent to me. She opened the back door of her car, dropped in her laptop bag and just before she opened to sit in the driver’s seat, stops, leaned back slightly and casually said “hello” to me.
Let me restate this, I had been in that spot for more than an hour, more than 5 people had parked and left this spot but no one said hello to me. I didn’t expect them to, I doubt I would say hello to a stranger seated in their car before leaving for whatever I am doing.
So I lowered my window a bit and ask.
“Excuse me, why did you say hello to me.”
Seemingly baffled I asked, she responded “is it wrong to say hello to people?”
“Not at all, but I doubt I would have said hello to you.”
She smiled and responded “It’s good manners to greet people. What if I entered and my car failed to start, would that be the point when I come back to say hello to you, because I want to request you to help me jumpstart my car? Let me tell you something.” She removed her shades and thew them into the car. “The day I reported in Makerere University, there was a group of boys at the hall and it must have been clear to my dad that I was terrified (I guess she was coming from a single sex school) so he told me something. ‘Be nice to people, people won’t rape you if you’re nice to them’.” Then she smiled, wished me a good Friday and drove off.
I don’t know how true this stands in the rapists’ code of conduct. I also don’t know if she greeted me because she feared I looked like a potential rapist, but one sad fact that has just struck me is how the fear of rape actually shapes girls’ personalities. Like OMG! Do women and girls actually live with this fear everyday and we don’t know?
Image from woman.ng