Being a girl means that we deal with circumstances on the daily that we simply just shouldn't have to. In regards to general safety, our bodies and our lives, society has given us anxieties and fears. Being a girl is learning that you have to be on edge all the time, know your surroundings well, and always be ready to fight for your life.
1. Never feeling safe.
Being a girl means that we never feel safe. There is always a feeling of anxiety present when out in public, and even in our own homes. We genuinely fear that the storylines of crime shows will happen to us.
2. Always scanning our surroundings, always looking over our shoulders.
3. Always searching for possible exits and escape routes in rooms, stores, buildings, ect.
4. Not being able to walk down the street without someone verbally harassing us.
Whether it is another person walking pass us, construction workers, or passing cars, almost every time there is always a comment made– and typically extremely vulgar.
5. Not being able to dress appropriate for the weather without being verbally harassed or gawked at.
Running in shorts and a sports bra because it's hot as hell out? Can't do it without having to deal with pigs on the street.
6. Making sure to walk home holding our keys in our fingers.
7. Spending money on pepper spray and always having it on us in case of a potential threat.
8. Either walking without headphones entirely, or listening to music at a low volume, to stay aware of our surroundings.
9. Scanning alleys, bushes and tall grass around us to make sure there is no one hiding in them that could be a potential threat.
10. Taking random turns while driving to make sure a car isn't following us.
11. Having to extend our drive because a car is following us and we are trying to lose them.
12. Having to pull into a police station to hopefully lose the person following us.
13. Not being able to walk through a store without fearing someone is following us.
14. Having to pretend to talk on the phone when walking to your car to prevent someone from approaching you, or even worse, try to take you.
15. Possibly having to have store workers escort you to your car because you don't feel safe going by yourself.
So many stories have been coming out recently regarding women having to do this in fear that they could be attacked or taken by human traffickers.
***Human trafficking is a real and prevalent issue EVERYWHERE, even in small town Iowa.
16. Checking the trunk, backseats and underneath your car to make sure no one is hiding.
17. Locking your car doors before you even get all the way in it to ensure someone can't get to you while you aren't paying attention when just getting in your car.
18. Making sure to never park next to a big van.
You could be grabbed when getting in or out of your car.
19. Telling a friend when and where you are going, and constantly checking in with them to ensure your safety.
20. Getting fearful when being approached by a male.
21. Making sure to not stop for gas in a remote location or a run down gas station.
22. While in grade school, having to follow dress codes that push the idea that female bodies should be covered up and are nothing but a distraction.
"Shorts longer than your finger tips, otherwise you have to change or get sent home."
"Tank tops wider than an inch, otherwise it's a distraction."
If our bodies aren't taught to be interpreted as distractions, people won't view them as distractions.
Simple. As. That.
I'm all for professionalism, but when you are 5-18 years old being forced to spend 8+ hours in an un-air conditioned, hot environment, don't be cruel.
23. Walking alone at night is anxiety-ridding.
I have a personal connection to this. I work a job where some shifts I get off at times from 1 AM- 4 AM, which means I have a 1.5 mile walk back to my apartment in the dark. While most of the walk is well lit, there are bushes and a main street that I view as potential threats.
I am constantly on edge and fearful the entire walk home.
24. Dealing with sly comments about our bodies from older gentlemen that are simply disgusting and degrading.
"You sure are a beauty, I'm sure lots of boys go after you, I know I would."
"You sure have a big smile for such a petite girl."
"Boys better be treating a doll like you well." *grabs our shoulders or winks*
"God sure has blessed you." *scanning us up and down*
25. ALWAYS approaching other girls that are alone to make sure they are okay and if they need anything from you to feel safe or make it home okay.
26. ALWAYS approaching other girls that are alone with a guy to make sure they are not being taken advantage of.
27. Having to go to self-defense classes or teach yourself in case you get attacked.
28. Gripping on to your purse when in public to make it more difficult for someone to rob you.
29. Carry a damn rape whistle.
30. Feeling uncomfortable and having to go up to someone to tell them what's going on and hoping the situation gets better.
31. Noticing a creepy situation and writing down descriptions of the person, the situation, and the license plate.
My friend does this frequently when she is at work.
32. Always traveling in twos or in groups.
There is a reason relating to safety why we go to the bathroom in twos.
Numbers are power when fearing assault.