This is a topic that comes up frequently, particularly in college because women spend a lot more time walking late at night or by themselves once they leave home. Especially in a big city where people use public transportation more frequently and where they are less familiar with the areas they go.
This issue does not affect men the same as it does women. At the beginning of March a friend of mine came from South Carolina to New York City to tour colleges. Unfortunately at the time he was here I was in quarantine so I could not see him. However, he called me one night at 1:30 to tell me how much he was enjoying his trip. It was surprising because he called me from the street. He was in the middle of Manhattan by himself late a night and I asked him if he felt unsafe doing so only for him to reply, “I guess I never thought that much about it.”
While he was aware that the gender he presents makes it easier for him to go out late at night without being worried about his safety, he had not considered that his experience at night may differ depending on the city he was in.
This memory stood out to me because I would never consider going out late at night by myself without bringing some kind of weapon to protect myself or letting someone know where I was going, as would most women. There are multiple apps and websites dedicated to providing information and safe options for women. But it’s still not enough because 1 out of every 6 American women has been assaulted and those are just the cases that are reported and taken seriously.
There are many ways that women are forced to ensure their safety when they go out. Be sure to bring someone along and if it’s another man you can likely guarantee that you will not get catcalled or talked to by a stranger. But if you cannot make sure to tell someone where you’re going or assure that someone will be waiting up for you. You can pretend that you are on a phone call or listening to music. Importantly, if you can, make sure to carry mace, an alarm, or some form of weapon.
Below are links to some of the best self defense keychains. (Unfortunately mace/ pepper spray is illegal in New York so it cannot be ordered).