Why Should Women Have to Pay the Price for ‘Safety’ on a Daily Basis?

“Don’t be at the wrong place at the wrong time”, “Don’t go out too late at night”, “Always carry pepper spray in your hand luggage when you’re out” and many more. There’s an endless list of what women should do to protect themselves from sexual abuse when they are around men. Coupled with that, there are so many new technologies, targeted at “shielding” women. As much as this sounds progressive, it’s not. How is it that in 2021, we are still advising women on the steps to take to avoid abuse? 

In 2019 alone, about 652, 676 women were raped (including date rape) in the USA and nearly 80% of female sexual assault victims encounter their first assault before the age of 25. So if these numbers (which are underreported) speak for themselves, then how are we still encouraging these “new techy gadgets” that reinforce that women should protect themselves from assault, rather than men not assault women at all? 

What is the price for safety? How much money, time, energy, the experience must women spend to be fully emancipated from the shackles of sexual abuse in the hands of men. I recently read somewhere that anti-rape underwear was launched and I found it extremely amusing. I think it is very insane that we have gone to the lengths of creating special underwear for women to coexist in peace without experiencing assault at the hands of men. 

Rather than expecting women to continue to pay for protection and safety from men, I believe most efforts should be centred around creating safer spaces for women and enforcing stern punishments for sexual offenders.

The truth is, women already live every day in fear, trying and doing everything possible to protect themselves from sexual abuse. It’s a reflex action for us and sometimes, we barely ever pay attention to it. From automatically saying no to evening dates, to wearing special defence rings, to carrying small knives around, it’s almost a norm for us. Earlier this year, I picked up running as an exercise to clear my head on most evenings.

During my runs, men would catcall me, interrupt me, and even try to touch me. I haven’t gone for a run since August and now I loathe the thought of going running. Letting go of running is the price I have paid for my safety, in this case, some women have had to even pay with their own lives. That is only a small example of the kind of life you live as a woman.

Every day, watching your back, looking over your shoulders for any appearance of danger. Being a woman is constantly trying these new “techies”  to ensure you can defend yourself when a man attacks you but the truth is women don’t want these technologies. We just want to catch a break and live a safe and secure life, away from all forms of sexual abuse.

Read Also: How the Everyday Sexism Project Helps Women Find Their Voices

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