Early in the year, I was at a remote gas station pumping gas when a truck of men pulled up right across from me. I could immediately tell they were looking for trouble and I kept my head down - but they honed in on me immediately. Chewing hot dogs with their mouths open, two of the guys started moving towards my car, essentially cornering me from both sides and started with your usual pervy, untorwardly comments that grew more and more disgusting as they inched their way closer to me, pinning me against the car - one of them moving so close to my face that when he spoke, he spit hot dog on my cheek.
Luckily, I was just finishing up and managed to slip into the car through an open sliver of my car door. That's when they began banging on all my windows, shouting lewd obscenities at me, pressing faces against my window, and blocking my car from leaving by standing directly in front of it and directly behind, while banging on the hood and rear window. I won't tell you what I did next because I'm pretty sure it's not legal, but let's just sum it up as I used my gas pedal to get them to move - and eventually managed to get away.
Heart racing, my first reaction wasn't fear, but anger - furious at the fact that they had attempted to take away my power, and to make me feel lesser than them. But the next time I pulled into a gas station alone, my entire body started trembling uncontrollably to the point where I couldn't get out to pump gas until every other car had left the station, fumbling through the entire process, their disgusting comments still ringing in my ear. That's when I realized that I was actually pretty traumatized - and even worse, that I no longer felt safe alone.
So when Aubrey Lane reached out to me about their 1 button SOS amulet, I jumped at the chance to try it for myself. Essentially, it's a 1 button emergency SOS, cell phone, and GPS device that allows you to be tracked almost anywhere in the world, providing two-way communication over a global cellular network. Pressing the SOS button can notify up to five contacts that you are in danger. The Amulet will send a text message to each contact with a Google Map link to your current location. So if I ever find myself in another situation like that, I'll be able to call for help and let key people know where I am immediately.
After this happened to me and I told a few friends, people started sharing stories of being in similar situations. I realized how important a device like this is for every woman to own. While I want to assume my safety at any given point, I now know it's just not a given. It feels like shit to not feel in control of your own safety and having this amulet has really helped me feel like I've been able to take back my own autonomy. In fact, I can now pump gas by myself again, which is something I actually had trouble doing for several months after the incident.
I'd like to give the world the benefit of the doubt, and assume that most people are good. But there have been so many incidents over this last year that has shaken my trust of this, making it difficult to function as I used to. But the amulet is a great start to taking back my autonomy and I highly highly recommend getting one. You can buy it on its own and carry it with you, or you can buy an Aubrey Lane handbag and the amulet is included (their bags also come with a hidden pocket designed just for the amulet).
But whatever you do, it's important to feel safe - because one thing I really learned this year is that without that feeling, it's incredibly difficult to thrive. Have you had a similar experience or ever felt unsafe? I'd love to hear!
Photos by Nikko DeTranquilli