As kids, we all have fears. Sleeping in the dark, monsters under the bed, bugs, or snakes. Some of those fears follow us into teenage-hood and further but rarely do we talk about the fears that develop when we get older. Usually because they are related trauma.
Now before we get into this: let me give a few disclaimers/trigger warnings. 1) There will be language related to sexual assault. If you are a victim/survivor of sexual assault, this may be triggering for you. Read with caution. 2) If you are a sexist or misogynistic man, you will be triggered and feel as though I am attacking you personally. When I say "men", I'm not referring to every individual man in the world, but men in general or the idea of men. If you are too simple to understand that, you may understand more by the end of this piece.
As I grow older and more aware of society, I have gained true fear of men. Now, let's get into the facts ( https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence) . I do not know one woman who has not had an experience with rape, sexual assault, or sexual harassment. And I know a lot of women. 1 in every 6 women has been either raped or almost raped. I think it’s safe to say most of us know at least 6 women... which means at least one of them has been raped. Realistically, we all know dozens of women meaning we know lots of women who have encountered a situation of sexual danger. Women in college are especially at risk. We also need to address the fact that most rapists are never punished for their crimes. Take a look at the graphic below:
Women know these things. Women think about these things constantly. It can happen in the blink of an eye. It can be someone you know, someone you just met, a friend of a friend, a coworker, or a stranger on the street. There is no way of knowing for sure that a man will not rape or sexually assault you. This is why it is infuriating to me and many other women when men want to say "not all men" because how the hell do I know that? If you have had a personal experience with sexual assault then you know, you never expected it. You don't see it coming. It puts a person on extreme guard. Even more so, because you know that other people may not even believe you if it does happen.
And if we're keeping it really real... men should be cautious too. Women are not the only victims of sexual assault.
I'll close us out with a quick story. The other day, I had to make my way to UPS to return a package. The parking lot was being paved over so I had to park a little further. Not an issue. As I'm walking up to the UPS, I walk by a man and he looks at me but I keep walking. He then proceeds to follow me into the UPS (doesn't actually need anything from UPS), then follows me out of UPS to my car. As soon as I got in the car, I locked the door and he went away. It was frightening because I didn't know why he was doing it or what he wanted. He could've just thought I was cute but the way he went about it was so intense and creepy. I had a friend tell me I should get a gun and my first reaction was men should just not be weird but also I have to consider the fact that I'm black and carrying a gun is not always the best solution. And if I had a gun and I shot him, who is going to ensure I don't go to jail?
Every man I come in contact with puts fear into my heart because I can't even leave the house to return a package and be sure that I'll return back home. And it shouldn't be like that. I would like to assume most men have good intentions but they don't. I'd also like to think that men understand why I feel the way I feel without me having to be their daughter, sister, or girlfriend.
Side note: I use the term woman and/or women, I am referring to anyone who identifies as a woman.