Women can’t do that

Fear of attacks keeps women on edge, limit what they can do alone

Keyana Burries, Co-editor-in-Chief

Growing up I was taught that women should travel in packs and there’s power in numbers before I even learned how to spell my name. I was taught how to defend myself and what I should do in a hostile situation before I learned how to ride a bike. I learned how cold the world was before I even had a chance to explore it.

I was constantly told:

“Make sure to walk in packs or to walk with a guy.”

“Don’t show too much skin; it makes it seem like you want it.”

“Always walk in well lit and populated areas.”

I got feed up when I realized none of my guy cousins or friends were told this.

They were running around without a care in the world; the world was their oyster and they were determined to explore every inch of it. They never understood my hesitation when they presented me with plans to hang out at night without an adult. All they could think of was how fun it would be to run wild, but all I could think of was how I could get kidnapped or raped.

An online survey by Stop Street Harassment found that 81 percent of women face some type of sexual harassment during their lifetime.
It’s statistics like this that make all the advice and forewarning necessary to teach girls at a young age. We can’t take the chance of this number becoming higher just to shield the harshness of the world.

As I got older, I started to realize how these fears were pushed in my head. I walked through every parking lot quickly stepping in between the light posts with my keys gripped in between my fingers, my only form of safety, a friend on the phone just so I could go in Walmart to get a drink.

While most of our fears as women lurk in the night there are many that appear in broad daylight too.

For example catcalling. Catcalling alone can be terrifying, but rejecting the man that just catcalled a woman is when the fear really sets in.

A quick Google search can reveal the stories of women rejecting men and having the man retaliate with violence. This doesn’t only physically harm females, but it can mentally harms us too. These encounters can be life altering and make people fear walking alone.

I know I’m not the only one that fears this. A 2015 Gallup poll states that 46 percent of adult women fear walking alone at night. We shouldn’t have to be scared to exist anymore.

I want future generations of girls to learn how to read and ride bikes before they are taught tips on how to survive another day. I want to hear more people telling their sons and daughters how to be a good person before they are teaching them how to protect themselves from evil.

We need to push the importance of getting consent from people before acting on desires. If kids can learn to ask a stranger to pet their dog before petting it, it shouldn’t be hard to do the same for people. Kids get it.

They just need to be trained so they know how to act when they are adults because I’m tired of being scared to exist.