In order to get away from her abusive husband, my 61 yr old mother recently moved into a small studio cabin among a group of other studio cabins. At dusk a few days ago, she was having a cigarette outside and chatting with neighbors when one neighbor said out of nowhere, “so, I’ll come over at nine.” She was confused and said “Wait, do you mean nine in the morning or nine at night?” (He clearly meant that same night.) He responded, “Tell you what, leave your shades open when you want company and closed when you don’t.” Now she’s keeping her shades closed all the time because her neighbor thinks he’s welcome to dictate what her open/closed shades *mean.*


My married-with-kids neighbor, who I thought I had a mildly positive, completely neighborly relationship with and whose children I’ve played with, tried to kiss me and told me about how he’d seen me naked. And how great my breasts are and that I’m sexy. He’d apparently been spying on me through the window in my master bathroom, which I didn’t think anyone could see into due to the angle of the houses. He also told me I shouldn’t be offended/embarrassed because this kind of thing “just happens in society.” But don’t tell my live-in boyfriend because he doesn’t want to be beaten up but it’s normal. And don’t be offended.


My next door neighbor shouts quite a bit. He shouts at his mother, his brother, the cars on the street, everything. Often he shouts obscenities. In my opinion the most disturbing thing he shouts about is “you women.” He will get into argument with his mother (or just begin berating her for not being able to find something) and it will eventually circle around to “you women.” “You women just want everyone to be nice,” “you women think men are all the same,” “you women just don’t get it,” etc. The implications of all of his “you women” comments are that the world is a naturally violent place for which we are unsuited. That we are all naive and require men to explain the world to us and to defend us from it. It seems that he yells at his mother about these things when he thinks she has forgotten it. When she is, to his mind, ungrateful for his protection. It is scary how he never lets any of this on when I speak with him. I have a small garden in the back yard/alley and he likes giving me gardening advice. His advice is unsolicited. I’d rather not speak with him. But when he does speak to me he is nice, polite, and seems to genuinely wish to help. In the back of my mind I’m there’s always the question “what does he actually think of me?” I suppose he views me as yet another woman who needs his protection. Part of me wants to speak to him about it (his emotional abuse of his family, his frightening behavior, his views), but I am scared. What will he do if I seem ungrateful?


#wheniwas 11 I was visiting an old neighbor man with my cousin who had a nice dog we played with. He offered us both sodas. I got up the play with the dog and the old man patted me on the butt (longer than a simple tap). It made me feel very uncomfortable and my cousin and I went back to his house. I never told my family because I was afraid they would make fun of me for feeling uncomfortable and it would become a family joke. To this day my husband is still the only one who knows this.