I am about as naive as they get. I always want to see the good in people and the beauty in our city. Last night changed a lot of that for me and taught me lessons I would like to pass along to you. 

As I was leaving my company Christmas party in downtown Boise, I crossed the street to a parking lot (across from the Reef) alone and was approached by a man who started hitting on me aggressively.

I told him I had a boyfriend who lived out of state, but he was not receptive to me telling him no. He got very in my face and continued to intimidate me with his words. He was obviously intoxicated and started tearing my boyfriend apart while trying to convince me as to why I should be with him. His persistence instilled a lot of fear in me and I knew I had to get away, but I didn't know how.

I saw a couple from the party crossing into the parking lot and I was too scared to scream or shout out for help. I made eye contact with the woman and was praying that they would recognize I was in distress. To no fault of their own, they did not stop. A second man from our party entered the parking lot and didn't recognize I was in trouble.

This man who approached me never touched me, and perhaps I'm a big baby, but the experience terrified me nonetheless.

I eventually moved away from him and made a run for it to my car. I immediately called my boyfriend and sobbed all the way home.

I feel very lucky this morning that this situation didn't take a turn for the worse, but I have suffered many similar feelings to being assaulted. I have questioned myself. "Why did I wear those knee-high boots?" "Why didn't I at least threaten him with the pepper spray I had in my pocket?" "Why was I too scared to call out for help?"

My reason for telling this story is not to gain sympathy. I know, I was lucky that he did not physically assault me or rape me. It could have been much worse.

My intention is to create awareness. These types of things can happen to you. These types of things can happen in our "safe" little city. These things can happen in an instant. Please be aware, be prepared, and do not walk alone at night if you can ever avoid it.

Men, your words have power. They can be very intimidating and make us feel very small and unsafe. When a woman tells you no, she means no. You have no right to continue to pursue her.

Please be safe out there my friends. Be respectful, and aware, and smart. I am so grateful to be okay today.