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Safety and the City

March 5, 2013

If only we lived in the fictional world of Sex and the City where Carrie can argue with her mugger over a pair of Manolo Blahniks… This scene came to mind when I considered how safe I felt on a girls’ night out in Seattle this past weekend. A friend and I left the bar early so that we wouldn’t be out too late with the “creepers” when a man came up to us and asked a series of inappropriate questions. We were faced with: Do we walk away? Do we ignore him? After he conveniently got on the next bus that arrived, I considered how fearful and how much my personal safely felt jeopardized. While I know that cities are not the safest places to live, they are particularly threatening for women. I don’t want my fear to keep me from going out and having fun, yet it is something that lingers in the back of my mind (i.e. How long will I have to wait at the bus stop? How long has that person next to me at the bus stop been there? Are they staring? Is my purse closed?)

I question this experience because the reality is different for men versus women. I can’t believe the number of conversations I’ve had with men who don’t believe that women are harassed or do not feel safe at night. Of course, I am not saying that everyone who looks at you is a potential mugger or creeper, but the fear is real for women because how do you know? How do you maintain that “safe feeling” without needing a man around when you are walking late at night? Even with a group of female friends, I feel that fear for my safety.

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