I live alone in an apartment in my relatively small city (by national standards, quite large for Kansas). I unusually spend my early evening at my parents house and then return to my apartment around 10:00. I always have either Benny or Shona with me and when I return I usually spend a few minutes letting them go potty.
However, I hate doing this. It scares me. Why? Quite frankly because I am a woman. I know instinctually that it’s not quite safe. I flinch at the shadows and scan the streets for men who could be lurking in the corners waiting to do rape or harm me.
Of course part of this could be due to my PTSD but my rationality tells me that this is the sad reality of being a woman in our society. Being a woman in America means watching your back and learning as a teen that if you walk in parking lots to hold your keys inbetween your knuckles. It means avoiding dark areas and knowing that there is a real possibility of attack by strangers and an even bigger chance of assault by men you know. Being a woman means I can’t take my dogs out to go potty without being extremely vigilant and very thankful that Benny is a very intimidating dog and hoping that his size would keep strange men away. Being a woman means it’s dangerous to go to bars or parties alone or even to walk down a street at night. Being a woman in out society is frankly dangerous.
Something is wrong. Very wrong. We are a society who claims to be a developed society yet we also have caused this culture that promotes violence against women. Turn on the radio or the television and you won’t be able to go five minutes without hearing something that degrades women. Listen to conversations between teens or young adults and something that supports rape culture might come up. And no surprise we teach from a young age today this is totally acceptable.
Society must change. Our culture must change. I don’t claim to know how but all I know is I do not want my nieces to grow up being afraid to walk down the street.