Action Hero Maria Del Rio El Tesoro Neighbourhood, Medellin, Colombia
Action Hero Nomita : Succorro, Goa
I walked from my apartment up to and then past the Succorro Church and onwards on the road hugging the Church deeper into the same area. I chose not to walk alone. I invited a (male) friend to walk with me and did that because of the anxiety I was feeling at the thought to having to traverse, what ended up being a completely unlit part of my planned walk. Had I been on my own I might not have chosen to walk that particular pathway.
I noticed the surprise (and care) of passing motorists on the dark patch of path we walked. I noticed that while I was the only woman walking the streets, in the areas lit my street lamps, I did not feel out-of-place. At the thela we stopped at along the way I listened to the track that was playing on the radio. The singer (a woman) asks her "pia" to "kheech mere photo" in a constant refrain. Chilli bhajji's were being fried hot and served to an all-male audience (excluding myself). There were times I knew I felt safe walking with a male friend, simply because I was looked at a lot more especially as the evening wore on. Curiosity prompted the looking - it not being common in villages off the tourist circuit to see a woman walk after dark. I did walk cross a nallah, to find deep in the shadows of two trees standing side-by-side two boys, with a new bottle of alcohol and recently filled glasses. Did I feel threatened? No. I did remind me of the ways in which I would find ways to do what I was told explicitly not to as a teenager / young adult. On the walk back, the drinking twosome, had swelled in number to about 5 boys a lot louder than before, cell phones and drinks in hand. There was a perceived uncertainty in if they ought to react or respond to encountering me walk past without changing my sauntering pace.
Before my Walk Alone I felt a sense of freedom, release, anxiety. After the event I felt rested, grounded, energetic.
I think I need to walk thrice a week again - to allow the thoughts of the week to settle in me as well as make that connection to myself while I walk. It needs to be an unthinking part of my weekly/ daily rhythm.
* Action Hero Nomita walked for two and half hours.
Why Loiter-er Sameera Khan - Central Mumbai (India) – Wadala East, Wadala West and Five Gardens, Matunga
Walk Alone Action Hero 2 - On the road from Kanker to Korar, Chattisgarh, India
It is a route we travel a lot but never during the night. Wanted to explore that beautiful stretch during the night. I was very comfortable, at peace and enjoyed the night. We were the only people in that locality and felt safe in those familiar roads which we frequented during the day but never at night. Before the walk I felt worried, excited and determined. After the walk alone, I felt happy, comfortable and calm. I really enjoyed Walk Alone. Would love to do it more often. Felt more in touch with the place around me than even in the day.
* Walk Alone Action Hero 4 walked for thirty minutes.
Walk Alone Action Hero 3 - Panjim
I live there. I did feel fear, uncertainty, reluctance before the event. When I was not afraid, I was aware of consciously avoiding eye contact with Indian men. My neighbourhood is fairly well lit, but pretty deserted after 10. It's a safe space though and the groups of Indian male tourists looking at me over the only strange factor. At the end of my walk I felt
exhilaration, confident, tired (fighting your fear tires you more than walking around!)
I became aware of the non-eye contact and was a little surprised by that. Never knew I went so much of my way to not-connect with Indian men. I keep making that distinction because I don't have the same fear with foreign men. Maybe it is years of experiencing harassment and groping by our own people that have made me wary. My experiences abroad and with visitors here have only been positive, though. And it saddens me. I'm sure others have contrary experiences - after all not all men are the same, but this is mine.
Walk Alone Action Hero 5 - Jaipur
I had done a previous initiative for sleeping in a park ( Meet To Sleep) with my friends, I did feel like a part of something bigger, that is standing in sisterhood! I was excited to have this opportunity. I was also a little nervous, sceptical and scared about walking alone at first, but after five minutes I felt more comfortable.
It is a little scary when you walk alone at night, just because it's empty and I didn't see anyone else. I have walked the path a lot of times because it's my neighbourhood, or been in a car. I was aware that if I would've been with someone else or driving, I wouldn't have felt nervous there.
I felt confident and happy after walking. I felt like I need to do it more and encourage others to individually contribute to such initiatives because these experiences and fear are mostly female. A man wouldn't think twice about walking alone for fear of constant insecurity of the worst case scenarios coming true, though in fairness the fears are completely based on facts of life! Still, it felt nice!
Action Hero 7 - Bangalore
I need the company of other woman, which I trust, to feel comfortable that enables me to go for the walk alone. At least in some distance, to know in case something bad would happen I wouldn't be alone. Normally I don't look in people's eyes, I feel as if I have to shut myself in order to stay safe. But what I want to face is my fear to keep on being silent about sexual harassment towards me. I want to wear my head up high, not afraid of meeting eyes, and if anything would happen – to scream.
I felt apprehension, strength, trust before the walk . I walked in a group of three.
We walked an empty road to the village, crossing railway tracks. I see only a few men here and there. If I would be alone, I would be in a totally attentive all over state. No streetlight anymore. At the edge to nature, sometimes more afraid of an animal to appear or darkness itself. I feel nothing will happen, but alone – I wouldn't be here.Silence.Listening. Eyes wide open. After the walk I felt clarity, trust, empowerment
I wanted to see a show in the Kreuzberg area. I felt unselfconscious.
I was in Berlin .I find it safe compared to other places I have been to. I was not threatened or did not feel unsafe.I was going to an area I haven't been to before in a city I don't live in, so I was mostly absorbed in figuring out directions. I also felt excited, proud, solidarity before doing the Walk Alone. After the walk I felt happy, buzzed, solidarity. I got home and didn't sleep until later... I was a bit buzzed with excitement! On the train back, i had seen an ad for a group that helps refugee women. (i tried searching for it online but haven't been successful). it talked about women connecting with refugee women and helping them navigate the city and new life. i was a bit emotional reading the ad. it is humbling to see the efforts of so many women working so hard at every level.
* Action Hero Satya walked for one hour.
Action Hero Sukriti Suryavanshi - Bandra , Mumbai
I live and work around Bandra . I walked there because these are spaces that I have been asked to not go alone, especially at night. I was excited, nervous and feeling adventurous as I began to walk alone.I noticed that I think a lot when I walk, that I enjoy my company. I held a hot beverage while I walked alone. I did not feel threatened . Maybe because the roads I walked on would fluctuate between silence and noise every 400 to 500 meters. There was one stretch over half a kilometer which was extremely desolate. I felt meek half way through it and really strong when I was done walking that stretch. After walking, I felt calm, happy and a part of something big. Is there a word for that?
Action Hero Vira - Indiranagar - Bangalore
I was initially going to walk in Tipassandra, but I changed the location because it was my first Walk Alone and I wanted to be in a more familiar space. And even though it is home to me and I have grown up there, I rarely walk around at night after 9 and wanted to experience it. I was anxious, excited, curious.
It was raining and I had a big sweatshirt on and my hood was up. I kept wondering if I even looked like a girl, and whether if I was wearing something different i wouldn't feel as safe. I always feel cozy in a sweatshirt, so I was kind of in my comfort zone because of this. There was a moment where a bike pulled up by me and that was a little nerve racking. I didn't say anything but it definitely made me feel uncomfortable. Which is strange because I was walking around in my neighbourhood.
Defense Colony is a very familiar place to me. I've grown up walking around those streets however I rarely venture out after 9:30 by myself. Most of the roads weren't lit up. There were a few people walking but they were mostly men and cars driving by. The roads were relatively quiet. I got home feeling elated, bold, happy. It was very hard to fall asleep once I got back home. I felt like my heart was racing.
I walked alone here because it is close to home, but quite deserted post midnight.
I was feeling apprehensive, lonely, adventurous before my Walk Alone. As I walked, I began to feel confident, happy and at peace. I noticed there were many streetlights, no clean public toilets. I was exhausted, peaceful, happy at the end of my walk.
* Action Hero Neha is a member of the Why Loiter movement. Neha walked alone for 2 hours
Action Hero Vrushali - Yelahanka New Town main road, Bangalore
I walked here because I had been harassed here before, and wanted to reclaim my space.
Initially I was not comfortable walking around an area so close to my house. I felt sceptical and alert. My phone battery had died and that made me quite nervous, I clutched on to the only pseudo weapon that I had which were a pair of keys. As I kept walking I did start feeling a bit okay, but that feeling quickly washed away due to several bad experiences of catcalling on that particular road. But as I moved forward I saw a few women nearby which made me feel safe. At the end of my Walk Alone I felt relieved proud independent.
I feel the need to rethink about how safe the place was and not just assume something bad was always going to happen. I felt better in a way and felt more free to get out at night.
* Action Hero Vrushali walked alone for 10 minutes
Walk Alone Action Hero 4 - Bondel Gate Bridge Kolkata
I chose to walk here because it's the only place near my home where I'm afraid of walking alone near midnight. I was glad I'd brought along my phone/handycam since it gave me the appearance of having a purpose. Initially I jumped at every passing bike with young pillion riders. I was slightly nervous for around 20 minutes. I felt defiant, curious, nervous. I also felt threatened by passing vehicles and stares, some curious, some ambiguous. Eventually, I felt safer but not as comfortable as I would like to feel. At the end of my walk, I felt I'm not yet ready to trust idle strangers, perhaps just as much as they're suspicious of me. I would like to strengthen that trust. I'll be doing this again and again, giving them and myself more chances.
* Walk Alone Action Hero 3 walked for forty minutes.