I started chatting with a woman at the dog park. I mentioned that her dog had a deep bark for such a sweet looking creature. She looked at me with knowing eyes and replied, “I’m a woman, living alone. I like that I have a dog who barks.”
She asked how often I come to the park. I told her that I couldn’t come during the week anymore because of the diminishing hours of daylight. I said, “Even though it’s dark by the time I get home from work, I take my dog on a short walk around the neighborhood.” As we watched our dogs play, we drifted into other topics of conversation and eventually went our separate ways with our tired puppies.
As I reflected on our conversation, I recognized some reoccurring themes.
A woman is not safe by herself.
A woman must have a companion (animal or human) in order to be safe.
“After dark” is the most unsafe time for a woman.
I’m a woman who has never been abused, threatened or stalked and yet these themes ring true for me. Why? Because I’ve been internalizing each act of violence against a woman I’ve read about in a book or newspaper, heared about on the news or listened to in a song.
I can take all necessary precautions – doors locked and keys and cell phone constantly by my side – yet even on my most emotionally secure days, my physical safety feels threatened. Reminders of violence against women have been building in my psyche and now exist in my subconscious as a voice, whispering, “You are never safe.”
Are women actually & inherently vulnerable? Why should women feel they have to be with someone else or take a self-defense class in order to guarantee their safety?
Why can’t we feel safe and secure in our own right?
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