Nightscape.

Artwork by Hajin Bae
Photograph by Eduardo Acierno

Trigger warning: Street harassment, misogyny

I, as a girl, am terrified of the night —this world owned and ruled by men since the first dawn.

I find myself engulfed in its obscure depths, comparable to a small fish darting in the abysses of the ocean, this place of corners and hidden holes that the sun does not touch, deserted in some places, teeming with unprecedented creatures in others. In it, men lie in wait like eels that could snap you without you even feeling it, others like angler fish that lure you with the illusion of compassion, and yet others who, in their numbers, amass the strength to harass.

At night, my very existence is an anomaly, an anachronism begging the question: “What is she doing here?”

My presence is an open invitation. After all, how dare I be in the world of men, if not to serve them in some way? If not to please their eyes, then to relieve their itching hands, to caress their deflated egos in dire need of a superiority boost? They inflate, these men of the night, when they understand that their presence can intimidate women. It is perhaps the only time when they have that power — when the world is stripped of expectations of good conduct, and all is let loose.

Their eyes are aggression enough. Their gazes land on me like unwanted touches, lingering like dirty hands that come too close for comfort or decency.

Most of them do not do anything, though. After all, they are not the sort of men to do that kind of thing, no. They are just men – boys, really – looking for some innocent fun. So what’s a taunt compared to actually touching a girl? It doesn’t mean anything if they walk close to you — what, the streets belong to everyone, right? If they call after you repeatedly, that doesn’t make them bad men, you know?

Women can’t take a joke. Now, that is the real problem.


I feel as if they win though, if I let them take the night away from me. If I let myself be scared.

There is a night that does not belong to men.

A night that is all cool breaths and freedom.

An ancestral night, the first one that welcomed all the stars and you and me in it.

There is comfort in darkness, as all the world fades into the distance and I retreat into the shore of my inner home.

I cannot let them take this away.


Note: It’s been a long, rough week. I don’t think I’ve ever posted something of this nature on here. I think it means I’m growing up, who knows. But either way, I hope that this coming week treats you well 🙂

3 thoughts on “Nightscape.”

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