Anyone close to me will tell you that I have quite an obsession with criminal drama shows like "Law & Order: SVU," "Blue Bloods" and HBO’s new hit series "The Night Of." Not only are these shows filmed in the city I love the most, but they are full of suspense and anticipation. There is nothing like watching Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler running down the streets of NYC in order to catch a perp. But, unfortunately, these fiction shows become a reality for young women who live in New York City.
My parents, who grew up in the New York metropolitan area, have told me over and over again how you could not even walk through Times Square in the '80s because of all the prostitution and drug dealing. “In 1981, Rolling Stone Magazine called 42nd Street – in particular that portion of the famous street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues – ‘the sleaziest block in America.'” The subway stations were known as being one of the most dangerous places on Earth. “In the 1980s, over 250 felonies were committed every week in the system, making the New York subway the most dangerous mass transit system in the world.” Many people explain that former mayor Rudy Giuliani is the person to really thank for cleaning up New York City. In fact the crime rate decreased by 56 percent by the end of the '90s, according to Business Insider.
No matter how much I love my city, it is still not safe to walk around alone -- especially at night. Less than a week ago, a heinous crime of rape and murder was committed in Queens, when a 30-year-old woman went on a jog alone. This crime happened less than a half mile from home. Normally she went jogging with her father, and the one night she went alone she did not return. It is scary to think that we live in a world where you can’t even go on a run without having your boyfriend or dad there to protect you.
When I travel to New York City by myself by mass transit, my parents are extra cautious to what I am wearing. I hate that when I wear a dress I can feel more people looking at me, and when I am more covered up I don’t feel that way. I never feel fully safe alone in the city until I have met up with my friends or boyfriend. It is sickening to think I should be the one concerned about how I am dressed instead of teaching men on the street not to stare or catcall. There is a serious issue with rape culture in our society. Rape culture, according to Time Magazine is “when we teach women how to not get raped, instead of teaching men not to rape” and “is when survivors who come forward are questioned about what they were wearing.”
No matter how much I love binge-watching my favorite criminal drama television shows, there is a lot of truth behind them. As a woman, you should always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings when traveling, especially by yourself. Hopefully one day we can live in a perfect world where we can be safe walking home at night, but until then we have to take every precaution and try to keep the bad ones off the street.