Friday, August 11, 2006

Women's Fear of Men

Fear of male sexual violence is deeply ingrained in the psyche of women. Women partake in rape-avoidance strategy behaviour, in their everyday lives. We get taxis to avoid walking home on our own, we walk the long route home, we walk home in groups, we get men to escort us home, we are chaperoned from place to place by our parents, we get the women's bus, we keep an eye on our drinks to avoid spiking, we are told to cover up, we carry a personal alarm, we never go out without our mobiles...

The way we relate to space and time is informed by our fear of men. We associate certain spaces, such as parks and shortcuts, with the risk of being attacked. When it comes to night and gets dark, certain spaces become risk-associated spaces we avoid, to avoid being attacked by a man.

This risk-minimization behaviour has become a part of our lives without much questioning of what we are avoiding - that is male sexual violence. In a civil society, women should be able to walk home, on their own, without fear and risk of being attacked by a man. This fear is constricting our mobility and we need to make a stand.

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