In response to the #YesAllWomen campaign that has been setting Twitter afire (aimed at raising the consciousness of men to the ongoing violence that women face from men), the Washington Post acknowledges that true.. we have a point.. but it’s not that simple:
“This social media outpouring makes it clear that some men pose a real threat to the physical and psychic welfare of women and girls. But obscured in the public conversation about the violence against women is the fact that some other men are more likely to protect women, directly and indirectly, from the threat of male violence: married biological fathers.”
So apparently women just need to surround themselves with married men in order to be safe when walking home from a party, filling up the car with gas after 10pm or just walking down the street at any time of night or day? Good lord, if only I’d known.
Now not wanting to be a downer, but almost all (if not all) women have at some point in their lives felt unsafe or threatened by a man. Whether its hearing someone jogging up behind you at dusk, a weird guy you encounter when out walking the dog on a trail,an angry boyfriend who punches the wall or just walking to your car when you leave the airport after an evening flight. Many, most, all (?) women have sped up, changed direction, left the house, grasped their keys as makeshift knuckle dusters or even decided to invest in some pepper spray.
Why I’ve been so blown away by the response to ‘YesAllWomen’ (cleverly entitled #NotAllMen) is that so many men weren’t aware, or didn’t care, or doubt that many chicks are walking around seriously worried about being attacked, threatened, robbed or even raped. It’s just not part of their reality. After all, if your straight, white and live in middle class neighborhood, threats to your safety are pretty much self-imposed as a result of too much beer.
Now I’m not a nervous nelly kind of chick when it comes to going out and about. I’ve been burglarized 4 times in the UK, had more mountain bikes stolen than I can remember, and once even had to clean a turd out of my bathtub from a junkie who, after taking all my left shoes and CDs, decided to leave me a little gift. Lets just say, I’m aware of crime.
But I moved to the US knowing not one of the 360 million people in the country, and I felt fine. I drove around Chicago at night, working on projects in Detroit, Dallas and downtown Miami without fear and knew to trust the hairs on the back of my neck. I hiked alone, I flew 100,000 miles alone, I lived alone and spent an inordinate amount of time in places I didn’t know, guided only by a crappy Hertz map and the name of a random hotel (I was a consultant in my former life, not a hooker).
I knew that some places were safe, some behaviors weren’t and unless I was silly, I wasn’t ever worried about violence. Right up until someone assaulted me on the street in the middle of the day on the Miracle Mile in Chicago. Then someone assaulted me, again in the middle of the day, on the subway in New York. And while I didn’t wind up sobbing in the shower (per the movies), I certainly took a while to leave the house again. And I bought my first can of pepper spray.
And I’m one of the lucky ones.
I haven’t been raped and I’ve not feared for my life since coming to the US. But I have noticed an increasing level of fear creeping into my daily life, as the violence and anger against women seems to be increasing. I don’t walk home in the dark any more. I certainly wouldn’t walk my dog after 9pm and despite living in one of the safest areas in town, I sleep with my gun next to my bed.
Overkill? Maybe. But hearing about an attempted rape at 4pm, just 4 blocks from my apartment, tends to make you leary. As did the series of assaulting taking place last summer in our neighborhood park. All during the daytime. All on women out running on their own.
Now I’m not sure if these women were running in heels and a bra, a mini skirt and fuck me heels or simply shorts and a t-shirt, but it’s highly unlikely ‘they were asking for it’ or putting themselves in a ‘dangerous place’. But according to the Washington Post, they simply should have taken a married man along with them for safety.
Yes its laughable. Ridiculous. But that’s the advice we’re getting these days. Not – stop the violence – or ‘why is this happening?’ or ‘how can we fix it?’ but ‘take a married man along’.
In fact, according to the Washington Post, just grabbing the nearest dude with a ring isn’t enough.. I actually need to BE married in order to be safe;
“Overall, another U.S. Department of Justice study found that never-married women are nearly four times more likely to be victims of violent crime, compared to married women. The bottom line is that married women are less likely to be raped, assaulted, or robbed than their unmarried peers”
I’d love to see the Washington Post suggest this to men. That they surround themselves with married women in order to protect their personal safety. That they should themselves, get married in order to avoid violence or aggression in their lives. It even sounds ridiculous typing it.
But for women.. that’s what we got.
So in the quest for personal safety, I guess I should go re-write my match.com profile.