safety first

03.17.2003 - 6:00 am

We were watching Six Feet Under tonight. The opening scene is a girl leaving a club, being chased/harassed by three men. She runs into the street to avoid them, realizes they are friends kidding around, and is then hit by a car and dies. The mom & sister go to the funeral home to make arrangements and the sister is telling the story of what happened. She tells Nate & Rico that the boys didnít understand why the girl was scared and reacted the way she did. This just royally pissed me off. How can men in this day and age not understand a single woman being frightened like this?

There have been way too many times I should have asked someone to walk me to my car. I think my most frightening experience happened when I was in college. I took the subway from NJ into Philly to visit a friend of mine at night. I got off at the least used stop in the evenings (that was mistake number 1). Only one other person got off the train with me, a man. Without him doing anything but be male I walked hurriedly towards the stairs to make it to the street. Just as I got to the bottom of the stairs I hear him say to me, ďWhere you rushing off to? What are you so afraid of bitch?Ē I bolted up the stairs in panic and my first thought when I hit the street was, OK, worst case scenario I run into the street. Didnít think I would get hit by a car and die, did think I would get hit by a car and be seriously injured. Sure, it wasnít rational, but itís what made sense at the time. The whole experience is still very vivid in my memory.

I read Inga Muscioís Cunt a few years ago. Thereís a whole section on women being safe, about asking people to walk you to your car if you are so spooked. About not trying to be brave and save face, but ask for someone to stand up with you so you can be alive the next day. Iíve taken some self defense classes; I walk confidently and used to always have mace with me (I should start doing that again). Seattle is such a different city than anything back East. I can let my guard down in ways I never could in Philly or NYC. Still, I have that sense of awareness and every time I get that email about being safe and protected I forward it to all my friends (they do the same for me, itís always a good reminder).

So thatís the safety part of my rant. It still irks me about the guysí reaction. At the end of the show during the viewing, one of the guys gets up and talks about how sorry he felt, about how he never thought such a strong, confident friend would get spooked by them playing around. I donít think anyone should fuck around about safety. How many hate crimes and rapes have to occur until you are touched personally? Or have you already? And if so, have you learned anything? There is enough hate and violence in the world today, why canít we be more compassionate? Why canít people stop being stupid about things we shouldnít be kidding around about? I know that if my guy friends EVER did anything like that to me, I would first kick their ass. Then I would give them such a fucking lecture about safety and what itís like to be a woman on the street and always having to be aware of whatís happening around you and being safe. There is definitely a seventh sense about women when it comes to safety. Whether it is for themselves or their children, the radar is up.

So everyone should just listen to me and stop fucking around about harassment, violence and safety. Personal threats are not something to kid about. Ever.

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