I read this article today, a list of 34 things women do to stay safe(er). These are all things that we are taught, at a very young age. Protect yourself, be aware etc. Here’s the list. I have these ingrained in my head from forever. Even in my early to mid 20’s when I was rolling into the club in not much more than a tutu and some electrical tape, I walked with LA face. This means forward, destination always known, total confidence, “Not today bro” statements, mace hidden in one hand, keys splayed in the other, no fucking fear, 115 lbs soaking wet with the ability to shake off comments. I miss 20’s me. I was always ready to throw an elbow. Something about having less body mass when you have a bad attitude means you’re always ready to defend yourself. There was always a game plan, and when we left, we slipped into something more comfortable and less confrontational because we were tired and didn’t fucking feel like dealing.
Here’s the list from the article:
1. Walk with our keys grasped between our fingers in case we need to use them as a weapon.
2. Making sure to have the correct key out and ready before we get to our door
3. When someone is walking closely behind us on the street, we stop to pretend to make a phone call or otherwise occupy ourselves to allow them to pass in front of us.
4. Walk past our destination, particularly if it’s our home, if someone has been trailing us for a while.
5. Scope out potential safe havens if someone appears to be following us.
6. Stay in well-lit areas at night even if it means taking a longer route.
7. Switch up our running routes to avoid potential stalkers learning our route.
8. Change direction if a car appears to be following us while we’re walking on foot.
9.Run outdoors with only one earbud in to keep the other on our surroundings.
10. Pretend to listen to music while walking by men who attempt to engage with us.
11. Change the locks when housekeys are misplaced.
12.Take alternative routes to avoid areas we know we are likely to face street harassment.
13. Cross the street when we see men who look like they might be drunk.
14. Late at night, cross to the other side of the street when anyone is walking towards us.
15. Avoid eye contact with men trying to get our attention.
16. Decide the cost of a taxi is worth it.
17. Avoid entering stairwells or elevators occupied by only one other person who is a stranger.
18. Text a friend before going out for a run or on a date with a stranger.
19. Avoid social situations if a man whose prior advance made us uncomfortable might be there.
20. Decide not to open Facebook messages from unknown men, who could see the message has been “Read” and become hostile and harassing.
21. Never open the door for someone we’re not expecting and stay still until the doorbell stops ringing.
22. When bringing heavy bags and packages into the house or apartment, locking and unlocking the door with every trip.
23. Avoid sleeping naked in case of an intruder or on-looker.
24. Buy pepper spray: for the purse, for the car, one for the home.
25. Make sure we’re not the only woman on the subway car or bus.
26. Avoid getting off at our bus or train stop if a man who has been staring exits at the same time.
27. Check our mirrors frequently while driving, noting characteristics and license plate numbers of cars trailing close behind.
28. Driving in a circle if we sense we might be followed.
29. Park next to a light post when it’s dark outside.
30. Wear a hoodie when driving late at night to appear male to other drivers.
31. Check for an official city medallion number when entering a taxi.
32. Never leave a drink unattended at a party.
33. Run outside in baggy clothes, even if it’s hot, to decrease the chances of unsolicited commentary on our anatomy.
34.Making sure we have enough cell phone battery life before leaving one location to last until we get to another.
I grew up going to shows and clubs in LA, knowing that statistically I had a 1 in 4 chance of being sexually assaulted in my life. My game face has always been on. So far, so good, because I’m loud. I say something loudly when something is inappropriate, why wouldn’t I? Like this one time, when my best friend was grabbed inappropriately at a club by an outsider. “I’m from San Francisco, I know what bondage clubs are about!”. Bitch rolled in with blue jeans and a ball cap, and didn’t realize that I was going to call him out as loud as I could. I don’t care where you’re from, I don’t care what you’re used to, don’t put your hands on people that don’t agree to it. Period. (It wasn’t a bondage club BTW, it was a goth club, there was a spanky room upstairs but we were on the main floor, waiting for a band to play – and that shouldn’t matter – don’t put your hands on others unless invited).
Here’s the proposed list for men:
- Don’t creepily stalk girls so they feel they need to grasp their keys like a weapon.
- Don’t creepily stalk girls when they’re trying to get home, safe, and alive.
- Don’t fucking creepily stalk girls. Don’t make us fake a phone call to get away from your creepy stalker ass.
- Don’t follow girls to their home. If you meet a girl while out and about, and she’s interested, awesome, ask for her number – DON’T FUCKING FOLLOW HER HOME. That’s fucking creepy. When girls follow guys they get labeled psycho, when we get followed – you’re a fucking stalking creepy perv. I hope you know that labels go both ways. Don’t fucking follow us home, it’s fucking gross.
- Every place should be a safe haven for everyone. We shouldn’t have to find safety from your sorry ass.
- Don’t make us take longer routes. We should be able to take shortcuts without fear. You do. Sometimes entire streets are blacked out in storms – why the fuck do I need to take longer to get home because you’re an asshole?
- We’re working out. Go the fuck away. Don’t follow us unless you’re invited. We shouldn’t have to change up our routine because you’re an asshole.
- Don’t follow girls in cars. We’re trying to go somewhere, we’re not going to hook up with you willingly if you’re a creepy car stalker either. Don’t follow. If we don’t say “hey baby, follow me to my place.” move the fuck on.
- Running with one earbud in while running outside is a good idea always because then you can hear whats going with cars, which should be the only thing women should have to worry about.
- Behave yourself. You have a fucking mother, or sister, or female cousin, or maybe even a daughter. Pretend every women out on the street is one of those women and don’t fucking talk shit. This is actually funny, because when I hit 30 I got boobs. I mean BOOBS. I would go to the gym, and sometimes I just didn’t want to listen to anything, I wanted to read my book, but I put the ear buds in anyway to prevent people from talking to me. This one time, these two OC jack-off douche bags, were talking about my boobs while I was on a treadmill, and with absolute resting bitch face, I turned and said “I can hear you”, I’ve never seen two bitches flee so fucking fast in my life. I still laugh at their stupid asses.
- We shouldn’t have to replace house keys, because you shouldn’t be entering other peoples houses unless invited. That’s just common sense. Do you want someone you don’t know in your house, where you sleep, where your family sleeps? No. Don’t fucking go into someone else’s house. Finding a key isn’t an invitation.
- We don’t have time to find alternate routes. We have jobs, we have school, we have families. Don’t be an asshole. If there is a way from point A to point B that is fastest – I’m going to take it, AS IS MY RIGHT.
- Don’t be a drunk asshole harassing women in public. Fuck, I’ve been a drunk asshole in public, everyone’s been a drunk asshole in public. If you think this might be you, and you think that you might end up harassing women to the point of them altering their preferred route, consider AA, or at very least going out with a sober friend that can direct your drunk harassing ass. It’s not our fault you need a fucking babysitter. Get home and don’t be a dick on the way.
- We shouldn’t have to cross the street when we see other people. Don’t be the creepy guy that makes us do that.
- Eye contact isn’t an invitation. Eye contact is what is done in polite society. Know that this doesn’t mean we want to fuck you.
- If we don’t have the money for a taxi, we shouldn’t feel as though our trip home is a battlefield.
- If you’re entering a stairwell or elevator, and a single woman is there, don’t be a creepy dick, don’t make her feel uncomfortable entering, and don’t attack her in said stairwell or elevator.
- We shouldn’t have to let everyone we know, know what we’re doing by ourselves at all times. Sometimes we want to be alone and we shouldn’t have to preface that with a text that says “hey if I don’t show up at X time call the police”.
- If we’ve previously said we’re not interested, don’t be a creep about it. We still have the same rights to be at a place without feeling like we might assaulted because we’re not interested. What do guys do when they’re not interested? “Next!”, all we want is the same.
- Don’t send creepy gross Facebook messages. We’ll either ignore, or report them for harassment. I’m fond of reporting people for harassment. I’m fond of getting pages shut down for hate speech. I’m fond of silencing every mother fucker that wants to infringe on a live and let live person. It sounds contradictory, but it’s not. I’m generally happy in my life, I shouldn’t have to put up with your harassment. It’s really that simple.
- Don’t show up at someone’s door unless you have business with them or an appointment. You want my crazy ass at your door? No? Don’t come to mine unexpected.
- This goes along with don’t go in anyone’s house unless you’re invited. I don’t lock my door on multiple trips, but it’s because I’m in a secured building that requires a fob for entrance. We shouldn’t have to think of this shit though – if it’s not your house, don’t go in it unless you’re invited. Fuck, why the fuck does this need explanation?
- I’ve always preferred pajamas, but DON’T GO INTO OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES. Seriously, if it’s not your house, don’t go into it. That’s not hard. See, there’s your house, and you can walk around naked, you can piss on everything, you can do whatever the fuck you want. This is my house. If I didn’t like pajamas so much I should be able to walk naked all around this place.
- Don’t do dick things that make people need pepper spray for their house, car, purse, and pocket.
- Don’t make us feel uncomfortable or unsafe for being the only women on the subway, bus, train etc.
- Don’t follow women that get off at the same stop as you, it’s just the same stop, that doesn’t mean we want your attention. You’re allowed to say something if you’re interested, but we’re allowed to say NO, if we’re not. Don’t be a creeper.
- Don’t follow anyone while they’re driving. Just don’t follow anyone. Don’t stalk anyone, don’t intimidate anyone. Vehicles are already dangerous – you want to know what I want to do when I feel intimidated by you while I’m in my vehicle? I want to run over your creepy stalking ass.
- Don’t follow people. Again, it’s gross and creepy. You have a mother. You have a sister/cousin/female relative of significance that you care about – WE ARE HER.
- The post lights are almost always taken, we try, we really do. Parking in well lit areas is increasingly difficult. How about just don’t be an asshole?
- We shouldn’t have to disguise ourselves to feel safe, you should behave yourself so that we are.
- Don’t be a fake taxi person. That’s super gross. If this is a plot of yours please leave this post immediately and seek help. You’re wrong. Very, very, very wrong.
- Don’t put drugs in unattended drinks. We are your mother, your sister, and your cousin.
- Don’t provide unsolicited commentary. It’s funny because in St. Louis, the guys are WAY more aggressive than in California. I’ve heard “Hey Baby” catcalls turn into “BITCH” in less than 30 seconds. If we ignore you, we’re not interested, that doesn’t make us a bitch. We’re not actually obligated to admire everyone that says we’re pretty (or what ever the fuck else).
- If you have a female friend leaving a party that’s worried that she doesn’t have enough cell battery power, or if she feels unsafe, or if she’s in a bad way – be a man and by man I mean human. Call a cab to make sure she gets to her destination, take her to her destination, charge her phone so she has that extra sense of security – and most importantly know that none of these actions entitle you to sex.
We’re not yours as you are not ours.
These concepts shouldn’t be difficult to understand, but there’s still a society busy victim blaming. We shouldn’t have to leave the house in preparation for sexual assault, men should leave the house with only the intent to be human.
We are your mother.
We are your sister.
We are your cousin.
We are your banker, doctor, lawyer, shop clerk, girlfriend, friend, coworker.
We are human.
We are what ever female figure that you hold dear. If you walk out the door, viewing all females as such, there are no problems.
This is why I’m a feminist. Feminism is this crazy notion that women are human too.