“Oh really? Is that right?” I said. I heard the words behind me as we were walking to my car. We had just finished up an animal rights protest at a rodeo.
Yeah, you heard me right. Honestly, you really haven’t lived until you’ve pissed off some red-blooded American good ole’ boys.
We were walking back to my car after spending the day at a rodeo protest. We had endured being called every name possible and shoved as people walked by. One man had spit on me.
You learn quickly to not take the bait, ignore and keep talking. Some took our handouts; most sneered and kept walking.
I turned around and before I knew what was happening, my friend Jane was being intimidated by another man. A big, strong cowboy. He grabbed the sign she was holding and threw it to the ground.
And he was smiling.
Another man was walking up to me quickly. I couldn’t quite figure out what was happening, but I didn’t need to. My body knew and it reacted. It sensed danger and tensed up. My heart was pounding and my hand gripped the sign I was carrying.
The parking lot was empty for the moment. We had been standing for 7 hours. My back ached. Jane and I were both exhausted. We told our other friends we were heading out and they said they would be right with us.
I backed away. I saw three of my male friends come around the corner. They looked up and saw what was happening. Soon they were running up behind him. I kept backing up and hoped I didn’t back myself into a car.
My usual response to a bully is to hit back harder and make sure they land on their ass before I do. But sometimes, you’re outnumbered and no matter how much you attack back, you’re going to lose. The trick to survival is to know when.
Two of my friends ran over and pulled the man away from Jane. She had also been backing up and now she was pressed against a car as the man continued to approach her. They threw him to the ground and kicked him. Another grabbed the guy that was coming after me, turned him around and kicked him in the leg and shoved him back.
It all happened so fast. Seconds but it felt like an eternity.
Jane ran off and I went after her. I found her crouched between two cars, shaking. She was too scared to cry. I looked back and saw the two men run off. Two of my friends ran after them and the third one ran over to us.
We were fine, just scared. I hugged Jane as we sat on the pavement, in trash, and gasped.
The men were gone. Jane didn’t want to come back the next day, but I insisted that we did.
We did and had ten body guards, all wonderful men who sneered at anyone who yelled at us. It was sometimes difficult to hand out our literature when you have 4 men surrounding you.
Instead of trying to convince us that it was too dangerous, my male friends circled the wagons and made sure it was safe for us women folk to speak up.
Most people would focus on the bad that happened and tell us it was dangerous. This is why I rarely tell anyone what really happens.
I prefer to focus on the good of the men who were there for us, protected us, and made sure we were still able to keep our voices going.