It is baffling how much violence still exists against women and how so many men don’t understand the scary realities that women face everyday. I have realized that the main reason that many men don’t understand how prevalent of a threat the male species is in general to women is because we don’t talk about it. We keep these realities to ourselves because they are too painful to talk about, or people might think we are dramatic, or we just don’t want to think about them any more than we do so we shove them to the back of our mind where the survival portion is working to take care of us so the rest of our brain can focus on what a beautiful morning we are experiencing.
I would like to say that I have always talked to my significant other about these harsh realities, but I have always used the last excuse I listed above; I refuse to live in fear, so I don’t want to think about the seemingly quirky self protection measures I take by voicing them to my husband. However, now that our daughter is getting older, I have realized that these issues are soon going to be my husband’s problem as well, as he helps me in raising our daughter to be a confident, competent, and street smart young woman.
To be honest, I didn’t give a lot of thought to how differently men and women go about their day until my husband started asking questions about why I do certain things. Such as locking the door when he runs into the gas station to get an energy drink. One day I didn’t unlock it as soon as he got back and he asked me why I locked the door? Did I see somebody suspicious? No, I just always lock the door because you don’t always know what a bad person looks like until it’s too late, and I made an easy target being a woman with the car running. It was a very simple thing, but it made me realize that men, even ones like my husband who are very cautious by nature, see the world from a different perspective.
Last weekend, we were out walking around downtown with the kids on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. We walked past a parking garage where there were 2 girls, probably college students, waiting for the elevator for the parking garage. One of the girls commented to the other, I never take the stairs here. My husband was confused and after we were out of earshot he commented that was weird she wouldn’t take the stairs. He wasn’t being rude, he just lives in a different reality than a lot of young girls and women, so it never occurred to him what could possibly wrong with taking the stairs, it’s great exercise, and our society needs to walk more stairs. I almost felt bad telling him why women don’t take the stairs in sketchy areas, or even in seemingly safe areas. Not very many people take the stairs and they echo so you aren’t sure exactly where noises are coming from, and in the case of a parking garage there are a lot of easy ways to make a quick get away. For instance, a predator can wait in the middle of the stairs and as you turn the corner knock you out, either against the wall, rail, or by throwing you down the stairs, then they can do whatever they want to you there or they can drag you into their car really quickly if they had planned it correctly and were parked near the door. He gave me a look that was mixture of horror and anger.
This is why this important. My husband is an amazing man, it would never occur to him to hurt a woman, ever. This makes him less aware of things that happen, because he would never think to be aware of what another man might be doing in the stairwell because if he was hanging out in a stairwell it would probably because he was trying to catch a rare Pokemon! But now he knows to watch out for not only me and our daughter, but for other women as well, if he passes a man just hanging out in the stairwell and he sees a girl come up by herself, he will instantly be on alert because now he knows that she might be in a dangerous situation and he will be there to help her if needed. One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
It is so important for the many, many great men in this world to know what to watch for and how to help women when we need them. An important fact we can take from the recent case with the rapist, Brock Turner, was that it was two men who stopped it. It would have been easy for these two men to see some people having sex and move along, but they were aware of what it is like in a woman’s world and noticed that something did not look right. In the statement read to him in court Brock Turner’s victim thanked the two men that saved her, “I sleep with two bicycles that I drew taped above my head to remind myself there are heroes in this story. That we are looking out for one another. To have…felt their protection and love, is something I will never forget.” Buzzfeed
There are a lot of men in this world who are heroes, and who would step up to help in a heart beat, but they have to know where and how to look for situations where they can help. We have to make the great men aware of the threats we face every day so they can better understand the harsh realities of being a woman and they can do their part to change them for the better!