I am a 22 year old female and I live in Canada. I’ve had a few scary experiences involving strangers, mostly older men, probably in their mid to late 30’s-40’s, maybe 50’s. This is the most recent experience I’ve had and it happened in November of 2016. This story takes place in a small town in Alberta, Canada, which I lived my entire life.
I have a huge fear of walking anywhere alone at night. It makes me extremely anxious and paranoid. I’m a tiny human so it would be pretty easy for someone to do whatever they wanted to me. Because of this, I try my best to avoid going outside alone at night but this night was one of those times I couldn’t.
It was around [7:30] or [8:00] PM. I was at home doing dishes. My boyfriend at the time called me and asked me if I wanted to have dinner with him at Wendy’s after he was done at work. I was totally down for a taco salad so I said yes. My boyfriend’s initial plan was that we would meet at Wendy’s but I refused because I didn’t feel safe walking that far all alone at night. It was a good 10-15 minute walk for me, due to my short legs. I suggested we meet at the mall because it was closer to home and was in between the restaurant and our apartment. My boyfriend understood and agreed, though he wasn’t too thrilled about it since the restaurant is on his walk home from work. This meant he would have to pass Wendy’s to get to the mall and then walk back to Wendy’s. So the new plan was we would meet at the mall and then walk to the restaurant together. I got ready and once he texted me to head out, I left the house and started walking to the mall.
There’s 2 paths I could take to get to the mall. The first one is through a neighborhood, with houses lining both sides of the street. The other path is through a schoolyard. Both ways probably take the same amount of time. I decided to go through the school yard because I thought I could just run through and it would be quicker. The schoolyard has a paved path through it on one side and a football field and a playground on the other.
There are absolutely no lights anywhere in the schoolyard so I turned on the flashlight on my phone. The light wasn’t very bright but it helped me feel a little more safe and calmed my anxiety. When I was almost halfway through the schoolyard, a man started walking towards me. I couldn’t really see what he looked like because it was so dark. The man was coming from the direction of the mall and at this point, he was probably 50-60 feet from me.
He proceeded to whistle at me. It was a very distinct whistle, one many people use for calling their dogs but I knew he wasn’t whistling for a dog because there was no dog anywhere in the schoolyard. Also, I was very familiar with this schoolyard and the people living around it as I frequently took my dog to run around there when it was empty and the man was walking toward the school so it just didn’t make sense he would be calling for a dog. No one else was anywhere to be seen. It was just this strange man and I.
After he whistled at me, I started to feel uncomfortable. The pitch blackness of the area didn’t help either. Something in me was screaming “GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE. NOW.” But I knew better than to run so I decided to stay 10-15 feet away from him and I picked up my pace. I felt more and more anxious as we were getting closer to each other. My heart started pounding. As soon as we were parallel to each other, the man stopped and just stared at me.
At this point, I felt like he was going to harm me somehow, whether it be solely physical or sexual or both. Whatever this guy was planning wasn’t going to be good. I didn’t want to look at him so I took a couple quick glances directly behind me, getting glimpses of the man while doing so. From the glimpses I got, I saw he was facing me, still standing in the same spot, watching me walk past him. I saw him starting to take a step toward me. I was freaking out inside, trying not to show the immense amount of fear I was feeling.
I decided to call my boyfriend to let him know what was going on and calling him always made me feel a lot more safe. The process of calling him felt like an eternity. The whole time, the man was just standing on the path staring at me. I was really worried my boyfriend wouldn’t answer because before I left the house, he told me he was going to talk to one of his friends until we met up. Thankfully, he picked up and was fine with talking to me until I made it to the back of the mall. I could feel the man’s stare burning into my back as I quickly walked away.
I made it to the mall safe and unharmed. But now my fear of the night is worse than it was before. Before this happened, I had been making progress in conquering that fear by taking my dog to that schoolyard by myself late at night. The progress I had made was completely destroyed and I will never walk around late at night ever again.