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Comments

will

"The solution should not be to make ridiculous pronouncements that women should never go to parties or never travel after dark. The solution should not be to assume that having a man around is an absolute protection. The solution should not be to lead men to believe that somehow they are not at risk themselves of violent street crime."

1. Both men and women should be careful when walking at night.

2. A woman is not necessarily more safe simply because a man is with her.

3. However, there is some greater safety in numbers.

4. It is easier to overpower most women than it is to overpower most men. (Of course, a gun or knife tends to overpower everyone.)

For the most part, I think it is ridiculous to walk around at night for a woman. Just plain stupid. For the most part, I think the same thing about men. But, what happened to all of the talk about how women are more likily to get raped than men? I think you are trying to have it both ways.

I completely agree with your concept that the woman should be in control of her own safety. But that doesnt mean that she should be stupid.

"Obviously, street violence is a huge problem with major consequences, and certainly there is no denying that women are generally seen as easier or more desirable targets."

So, dont be stupid.

The Happy Feminist

Right, Will. I'm not saying women aren't at risk or shouldn't be careful.

But I would absolutely disagree with your conclusion that women should never walk around at night. It depends on where you are and the time of night. I don't think in my town that it is unsafet to walk around at 7:30. My goodness if I didn't walk around at that time of night, then I would be pretty limited. (How would I do those last minute sprints to the FedEx box around the corner to mail out last minute pleadings???)

Also, my post isn't trying to have it both ways on the issue of rape. Women are mostly the victims of rape. Usually the rapist is someone the woman knows. But STREET attacks are relatively rare. The hysteria over women walking around at night obscures that fact and the fact that men are at risk too. I know more men who have been victims of violent crimes on the street because men are more likely to do damn fool things like walk around in Brooklyn at three in the morning.

will

"But I would absolutely disagree with your conclusion that women should never walk around at night. It depends on where you are and the time of night. I don't think in my town that it is unsafet to walk around at 7:30."

I agree that it is about context/location/time.

BUT.....as someone who used to prosecute cases, I suspect that you would agree that women get grabbed at 730 at night in otherwise "safe" parts of town?

I dont see how "men are fools for walking around alone at 3am" (which they are) equals women should be fools too. I do agree that they should have equal right to be fools.

Same goes for answering your door. In Richmond, a family was brutally murdered (husband, wife, two small kids) because they answered their door. I dont answer my door to people that I do not know even though often I may be physically more powerful than they are. Women are not as strong as men. It makes even less sense for them to open the door.

But, the fact that one gender does something stupid does not mean that the other should.

However, if you are simply saying that both have the right to put themselves in bad situations, I agree.

The Happy Feminist

Women get grabbed at every hour of the day or night whether in "safe" parts of town, at home, or what have you. So what's your point? That I shouldn't go outside at 7:30 even in a safe part of town? I do a cost-benefit analysis and I have determined that the cost to me of hampering my movements to that extent is too much relative to the risk involved. Everyone engages in that cost-benefit analysis to some degree or another. After all, we all leave the house despite the fact that we would be safer from street crime if we just locked ourselves at home.

Some people, women and men, make foolish choices as a result of their cost-benefit analysis-- like my ex-boyfriend's habit of wandering around the deserted streets of Brooklyn at odd hours. In my experience, men are more likely than women to engage in riskier behavior because of this myth of male invulnerability. This is a cultural myth that hurts men as well as women.

I think you may be missing the point of my post. The point isn't that women aren't vulnerable to assault or that people shouldn't be careful. The point is that the cultural myths regarding street crime distort our responses to it in damaging ways.

The Happy Feminist

Also don't forget that the post points to instances where people have opined that women shouldn't even drive cars after dark, or attend parties! If those are the sorts of precautions that are really necessary, then that means that women really are second class citizens.

If my choice is between the risk of being assaulted or not enjoying basic freedom of movement, I would prefer to risk being assaulted. I don't believe that is really the choice that I face, however.

will

"Also don't forget that the post points to instances where people have opined that women shouldn't even drive cars after dark, or attend parties! If those are the sorts of precautions that are really necessary, then that means that women really are second class citizens. "

I agree that is ridiculous. However, I do think that the vast majority of men and women seriously underestimate their ability to get hurt by random and not so random acts of violence.

katie

The situation with women out alone at night brings to mind a somewhat analogous case: when Blizzard decided to forbid World of Warcraft players from identifying their guilds as "GLBT friendly" on the basis that it would be very likely to result in harassment. Talk about getting it backwards.

Tara

I live in Montreal which is relatively a very safe city and I walk anywhere any time. Sometimes people have asked me about it, and my response is: when women stay off the streets, *that* makes the streets unsafe for women. If we were all out there going about our business as though we had every right to do so, the streets wouldn't be so deserted or scary to begin with.

a

I agree that random street crimes are seen as more of a concern for women than for men, and agree it shouldn't be seen as such. Most street crime of that sort, in my uneducated view, is about getting some cash off the person - likely from men or women. Sure, women may seem like an easier target as we're not generally as strong, but we're also more likley to carry mace or pepper spray. I'd be interested in what the muggers view is.

I also think it is all relative to the likelihood of being attacked. Everyone should take reasonable precautions, but everyone has the right to continue to live their lives.

This train of thinking keeps reminding me of reactionary behavior to terrorism - a somewhat new phenomenon in American life, but one which seems to be less focused on gender in what people must/should/can do to be "safe".

Ann

I have a friend who is terrified to go running at night by herself, which is probably reasonable -- some of the areas we run through, I wouldn't go alone either. But fortunately, anti-feminist though she claims to be, she doesn't need a MAN to accompany her to feel safe. Who does she call? ME! Not that I'm the burly bodyguard or anything, but she feels safer just having another person around to call for help, beat the attacker with a stick while he's busy tearing off her pants, or whatever it is she envisions. And I agree. At 125 pounds I am hardly going to overpower anyone, but I don't think that's necessary, because it's probably the extra person and their ability to go for help, come at the attacker from the other side, etcetera, that matters more than my physical strength.

And carjacking? Puh-leeze. Like a man can't be shot in the head and thrown out of his car into the road just as well. Unless men have evolved bullet-proof skulls since the last time I checked.

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