Evan Utzman-Nichols

University of Denver - 2021

“One night when I was 16 and new to my driver’s license, I was driving home from a friend’s house. A car pulled up behind me and flashed its brights, so I pulled over to let it pass. The car then pulled over behind me, so I decided to keep driving. The driver drove close behind and repeatedly flashed their brights at me. I thought maybe there was an emergency and they needed my help, so I pulled into a parking lot. The car parked across the entrance to the parking lot, blocking my exit. I looked in the car and there were four white males staring at me. The men, seeing that I was male, backed up and allowed me to pass. I felt really shook up. It wasn’t until later when I discussed this issue with my mother that I realized that if I were a female the circumstances and how the situation played out could have been much different. My reaction to this was complete and utter disbelief over how often women must feel threatened when put in a powerless position. I felt more connected to the idea that women and girls my age had to hold this fear in their hearts as they walked the streets at night after work, or as they drove their car home. This experience made me empathetic toward women’s rights, women’s safety and standard human rights. It reminded me that the abuse of power by anyone is very limiting and damaging. This instance has motivated me to volunteer at the Crossroads Safehouse for women and children facing domestic abuse. It has also made me want to continue to live every day with a more open mindset.”