Men worry about being bored, women worry about being murdered
Remember the woman who was raped while she was jogging in Central Park in 1989?
(And the five teenagers who were accused and convicted were actually innocent and not released until 2002. The fomer president – the awful guy – took out full-page ads in the New York newspapers calling for the death penalty to be brought back. Last year, he refused to apologize for the ads and for what he said about the teenagers. He said, “You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt.”
Their confessions were coerced. They. Were. Innocent. They might not have gone to prison if TFG had not taken out the ads.)
Anyhow. Remember when that happened?
My friends and I were horrified.
Our worst fear – that we would be attacked and raped by a stranger.
(Although as it has turned out, at least for me, it’s the men you know who should worry you more. The ones who just won’t stop trying. When I was in those days, I thought that just because a guy drove from Houston to Austin to see me, I had to let him stay at my house. And then and then. I WAS AN IDIOT I WISH I COULD HAVE A DO OVER.)
We were horrified.
This is what happens.
This is what happens to women who Don’t Follow the Rules.
So we did what women do.
We blamed the jogger.
“What was she thinking, running in the park after dark?”
All women know you can’t go running after dark.
It’s not done.
That is not how women get to live.
My friend Heather got angry with us.
“Why shouldn’t we go running after dark?” she demanded.
I was confused. “It’s not safe!” I tried to explain.
“It should be!” she countered.
“But – it’s NOT!” I said.
“We shouldn’t have to park under the light in the parking lot when we go to the grocery store at night,” she seethed. “We shouldn’t have to position our keys over our knuckles. We shouldn’t have to check under our cars and in the back seats before we get in.”
“But that’s how the world is!”
She shook her head. “That’s not how it should be.”
I gave up. She was living in some unattainable utopia. I was in the Real World.
That was then.
This is now.
Now I realize that she was right and I was wrong.
I realize that I should be angry that I have to think about whether it’s safe to walk alone after dark.
I realize I should be angry that it’s not safe for us to walk alone after dark.