Wednesday, May 28, 2014


The Washington Post reports that over 40% of women are afraid to walk alone in their neighborhoods after dark.

Ok, though, but what does "afraid" mean?  Afraid like I wouldn't do it?  Or afraid like I make extra sure I have my keys between my knuckles?  Who are these women saying they AREN'T afraid?  Did their mothers let them walk ten blocks to the ice cream shop without their guy friends when they were teenagers?  Did their college security people never tell them to yell "fire" instead of "rape" if they got assaulted?  Have they never been pressed to let someone drive them three blocks home at 6pm in December, because "it's dark!  You can't walk home!"

Nothing in my life has ever suggested that walking outside alone after dark is a good idea, or a safe idea.  So I want to know, who are these women who aren't afraid?  And should I try to teach our girls to become these women, or is it safer to be afraid? 

I am SO ANGRY that I have to ask these questions.  That on top of the fact that we live in a world where anyone would commit violent crimes to begin with, we also live in a world that takes for granted the notion that women will be the victims of a disproportionate number of those crimes, or at least of certain types of crimes.  That I have to choose between trying to make my students afraid or worrying that I am endangering them by making them fearless.


  1. I have always been afraid of walking alone after dark. So much so that I just don't do it. Like, ever. I'm 35 and (obviously) don't live with my parents anymore, but I still worry what my dad's reaction would be if he ever heard that I was out walking solo in the dark. You know what? He really shouldn't have to feel that way, to worry about my safety doing something so simple as walking from point A to point B. Nor should I, or any other female for that matter. Problem is, I don't have the foggiest how to change all of this. Sad, isn't it?

    1. Sometimes I wonder if the fear we grew up with is justified, or if it's just convenient for society to maintain the conventional wisdom that it's dangerous for women to be alone in some situations. But of course, it's not something I'm keen to test out! So it's a really hard thing to fight against because I'm not even sure whether it's a real thing or not.


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