“I tried to think of an alternative path”

Latest in a series of posts in the wake of the George Floyd murder

Gadfly often asks you to role play.

Try this one on.

A woman’s experience with two different strangers in her house, two different calls to the police.

Involving so many issues that we have been exploring here on the Gadfly.

Abstract theory meets terrifying reality.

If her, what would your final decision have been?

“Should I Help Incarcerate the Man Who Tried to Sexually Assault Me?
I thought I was a prison abolitionist. But then a stranger broke in to my bedroom.”
Ayelet Waldman

He was the first stranger to enter our house in 105 days. It was 4:13 a.m. on a Friday, and my husband, who works at night in an office in our backyard, was listening to music with headphones. He didn’t hear the stranger pass through the gate, walk up the back steps, and enter through the back door of our house.

I woke when the man switched on the bedroom light. For an instant, I was simply confused, befuddled by sleep. The stranger was standing by the side of my bed. His wide, protuberant eyes stared down at me, and there seemed to be something like a smile on his face. I asked the obvious questions. I can’t remember my exact words, but they were the questions of someone whose bewilderment was turning rapidly to terror. Who are you? What are you doing? The stranger told me he had permission to be in my room. You said it would be all right. He took a step closer to the bed. He slipped his hands under the covers, and I felt the shock of his fingers sliding up my leg. . . .

The Atlantic, September 29, 2020

tip o’ the hat to Joyce Hinnefeld

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