Women and Fear
I believe that when I walk home at night, I have the right to fear strangers. As I walk from my car, the moment my doors unlock, fear sweeps through my body. I quicken my pace and put up my defenses. The woman who was raped last week just walking home from her late class after school runs through my head. The unexpected could happen at anytime. My fear keeps me aware of the man walking down the stairs and the car parked beside me. Walking just one hundred feet to my front door, my keys in one hand and pepper spray in the other, it’s quite a journey. I’m quick to get my door unlocked and then I leap inside. Locking the doors behind me, my fears finally subside.
When I was growing up I lived in a very small town in Castle Rock, Washington which has never had a population over 2,000. Strangers weren’t ever really a problem because everyone knew everyone. I remember when I was in high school I would run every night by the river. I never felt scared. As times changed and I got older my small town grew and more crime started happening; as you might expect I no longer felt safe running alone at night so I either had a guy friend come along or not go out at all. This change in society really changed the way I looked at my surroundings.
Now I understand that others believe women shouldn’t be scared as long as they’re cautious, however that is not always the case and just because someone tells you not to be afraid doesn’t mean you aren’t. When I moved to California this past year I noticed the much higher crime rate and even felt unsafe walking just two blocks at night. Being a woman running alone at night in San Diego is unheard of because of the dangerous environment and the large population of people. I started noticing all the gyms and safe places to work out in every area I visited. If women wanted to work out after they got off work or after a long day at school they go to the gym. Women should have the right to work out in a safe environment and the gym is a great place for that.
The idea of going out alone at night is simply not an option for most women; most men don’t have this problem. Men have already been depicted as the dominator and the one who can defend themselves for the most part. How many women do you know that go for a walk and not bring some form of protection? None. Women have to protect themselves in any way they can whether that be with a dog or some kind of weapon, women just think of this kind of thing. All the lessons that we’ve heard growing up, “Don’t talk to strangers” and “Be home before its dark”, these are lessons that can still be applied to adult women today.
I am not making a change with my thoughts and opinions and honestly I don’t think I alone could make a change. The message I am trying to convey is that women have the right to feel safe at night where ever they are. Women just like me need to know they are not alone in their fears. I too have issues with the big city I live in and all the people out there I still don’t know. I hope that someday I can feel safe walking home at night; even if it’s just for a second.