Living Alone in The City, essay by Dianne Moritz at
Joshua Rawson Harris

Living Alone in The City

Living Alone in The City

written by: Dianne Moritz


Unless you’ve experienced it yourself, you can’t imagine the terror of a young, vulnerable woman living alone in the city.

For instance, you’re coming home from a pleasant dinner out with a friend, when a man leaps out from the darkened bushes shadowing your doorsteps. You’re startled, of course, then see it’s a former flame, drunk and jealous. He’s been lurking, waiting to catch you there. Your date calmly leaves the scene. He wants no part of the ensuing drama. With lots of coaxing and soothing words, you manage to persuade your ex to follow suit.

Or it’s the middle of the week and you’re sleeping soundly until you hear the blade slaps of a ghetto bird hovering overhead. The helicopter’s powerful searchlights illuminate your pitch dark bedroom, causing a moment of blindness. Police are out on the hunt for criminals invading your quiet neighborhood. Fear clogs your throat, you can’t fall back to sleep as your uneasiness escalates and you obsess about how you’ll perform on your job the following day.

And you know it’s not only you, your issues with anxiety, when screams startle you awake at 2 AM. “Help! He’s trying to kill me,” cries your next-door neighbor. You grab your phone and punch in 911. “The cops are on their way!” you shout through the door, then run outside in your night shirt to see what else you might do to help her. Luckily your actions have frightened the intruder. He runs off into the darkness. She was not assaulted this time, only psychologically threatened.

No woman who lives alone in the city is safe. You dread anonymous mid-night callers, Peeping Toms, grabbers, gropers, stalkers, voyeurs, misogynists, and other creeps who seem to get a thrill from harassing women. You’re always on high alert, wondering when evil will invade your private space once again.

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