Being someone who has always identified as a woman I was raised to be hyper-aware of my surroundings when going out, especially at night and once I got my driver’s license. Constantly looking behind my back as I am walking to and from my car, looking under my car as I walk up to it to avoid my ankles getting slashed, and even being afraid to pick up any sort of paper that just so happens to be left on my car.
When I went to college my parents made sure to provide me with pepper spray. Women do all of this to avoid getting injured or even taken in public out of fear for their own lives. There are even small businesses that make self-defense keychains with all sorts of devices to help keep people safe. In the past decade, sex trafficking has skyrocketed and makes women feel even more unsafe in public.
I’ve seen TikTok’s of girls pumping gas into their car and captioning the videos as “using my ugly girl privilege to pump gas alone at night” or “using my I don’t care if I live or die privilege to pump gas alone at night”. These videos made me extremely upset to just think that women being scared of their surroundings has become so common that a sort of joke has formed around it.
“My question is, what have we done to create a society in which half of the population is scared to walk into the grocery store once it is dark, or scared to go for a run in broad daylight?”
My question is, what have we done to create a society in which half of the population is scared to walk into the grocery store once it is dark, or scared to go for a run in broad daylight? Donald Trump was notorious for his misogynistic and sexual assault jokes before and during his presidency. There are many celebrities who make these remarks as well or have even been accused of sexual assault and no one bats an eye at it. By ignoring these comments and not holding people that are in the public eye accountable for their words and actions we are showing young boys that this behavior is okay. Raising boys with this mindset leads to the type of people women are scared of.
So how do we try and fix this problem that our society and world have created? We start holding everyone accountable. If you hear your friends making a joke about sexual assault or domestic violence or sex trafficking anything of the sort, explain to them why it is harmful to joke about these things. Stop giving money and supporting people who have a history of sexual assault accusations or joking about it. We can amplify the voices of women and share our concerns on social media. By holding each other accountable we can make a change even if it is small.