Monday, 24 August 2015

Things in my brain - part 2: safe?

I read this article this week: I’m tired of being kind to creepy men in order to stay safe by Daisy Buchanan. (The columnist not the character Gatsby is in love with)

It's a very thought and discussion provoking article. I posted it on facebook yesterday without caption or tags and very quickly 6 unconnected friends had liked it. 

I guess I have and I haven't thought about the choices I make to ensure my safety. I know I do alter my behaviour to keep myself safe but it never occurred to me that it was such a conceptually unsettling thing to do. I haven't gone as far as Daisy to avoid going dancing and have a curfew but I do have a few behaviours like that:
  • I avoid certain routes when I'm by myself
  • I also always have an exit plan wherever I go 
  • I go everywhere with a sort of emergency survival kit which usually comprises of my phone in my hand not my bag with my ID, a bank card, and an emergency twenty pound note in it so I can ditch everything and just run if needed
  • I have friends that I tell where and when (and most importantly with whom) I go, and get phone calls at strategically placed points throughout the night to check I'm ok
  • I can rattle off a fake name/address/mobile number without a thought
Do we all need a bodyguard?
And it's only because I read that article that it occurred to me that these were odd, not uncommon it seems, but inherently odd. Also for all my protective behaviours things still happen. There's still the random guys who will insist on asking me every question under the sun on the bus, there's still the men who make multiple facebook accounts to talk to me, there's still guys in probably every bar that could take offense and get nasty if I didn't give them 'my number'. I wonder if they realise they are being intimidating? It doesn't excuse the behaviour but I'd be interested to know if it was intentional or not. I'm glad the transport police are taking the issue seriously and I wonder if the 25% increase in sexual offenses this year is reflecting a higher rate of incidences or a higher rate of reporting? The sad thing is that these guys are the minority as well, and most men will be perfectly fine. It's a shame how much a few can spoil everything and cause such protective behaviours to be necessary.