“…felt like a full body scan” – Victoria’s story

I decided to leave the rally on Penn-North and head home through the metro. I got off at the State Center stop and it looked pretty much like a ghost town. My boyfriend called, I answered, but I couldn’t focus. I got this sinking feeling in my stomach. There were tanks lined up to the side of the State Center parking. Feeling a bit tense, I kept walking and attempted conversation with my bf. Then I noticed a group of state troopers, all men (all with guns), chilling to the side of one of the cars. They were all laughing, and I noticed that they all noticed me (in a way that felt like a full body scan, one of them pointed in my direction-the rest casually looked away laughing to themselves.) My resting bitch face on, I kept walking until one of them stepped out of the crowd and puts his hand up as if to say “halt.” I came to a full stop. He coughed, with a feigned serious tone, said something I didn’t quite catch. I asked, “what was that?” He laughed and said “I said…you’re not allowed to walk and talk on the phone.” They all laughed, I rolled my eyes and walked past them. Then there were more state troopers, all men, sitting on the wall along the pathway. It felt like a second body scan. As they looked me up and down, I sent them a furious glare (lip curled, brows scrunched.) I didn’t even feel comfortable saying something like I usually would. I saw a couple state troopers that were women at the end of the street, but they seemed completely separated from both groups (probably with good reason.) The closer I got to the intersection the more I could breathe. Black women go missing everyday without so much as an ounce of outrage I felt at the rally earlier. I’ll never understand how people can feel comforted by men with guns filling the streets. It’s just one more thing to make me dread the walk home.