Being a Girl Is Scary

To any girl that's reading this, I don’t have to tell you how scary it can be to be one of us. Having to look over your shoulder when you just want to walk down the street, always worrying about what somewhat might shout at you from a car window, and not going places alone in the dark without worrying you might not make it home. Being a girl is scary, and there's a lot more our community could be doing to ease some of the worry.

My biggest issue with UCSB is how inaccessible it is to get home at night. You don’t have many options other than walking, biking, or using a rideshare service. Even then, none of these options are as bulletproof as they could be. Walking alone is never an option for girls, even in a group there's still room for concern. Using a ride share service can even be a tricky choice. I remember getting into my UBER just the other day and being “warned” by my UBER driver that if I wasn’t careful I could end up being kidnapped and killed by an UBER driver. No joke, that was his opener as soon as I got in the car. It seems like people are aware of the issue, but nothing is being done to stop it. And then on the other hand, some people are oblivious to the issue. Men don’t understand why we can’t just walk home whenever we are ready to leave, because for them it’s no big deal. UCSB could be doing a lot more to make the campus safe for girls at night, and bring awareness as to why it essentially isn't.

As a first year UCSB student I've never once seen advertisements for or been approached about a self defense class on campus or within the community. In fact, I've gone searching for one and found that it's not as accessible as it should be. Nowhere could I find a free self defense class offered frequently enough to accomodate for the number of female students, or students in general, to prepare themselves for any situation. This is a simple request that I feel UCSB should be accomdating.

Image via The New York Times 

Many college campuses implement the blue light system to create a sense of campus security. While UCSB does in fact have some blue lights, they're far and few between. When I've walked through campus at night I've never noticed an accessible blue light for every point on campus. There needs to be more blue light and emergency contact stations throughout campus so that students feel secure at every turn.

The UCSB campus could use more lights in general, not just blue lights. Campus isn't very well lit at night and there are many paths in which students walk in extremely dim light. If campus was better lit, students (especially girls) may feel more at ease walking through campus after a night out with friends or a late night library grind session. A need for more brightly lit paths is a simple and necessary fix to an ongoing problem of safety.

Image via Foundation for Learning

Another solution that may be a little harder to implement, but would likely ease the minds of many female students, myself included, would be CSOs patrolling campus at night. While you can call a CSO escort to walk you home, I know many students are hesitant to do so for various reasons. If CSOs were already out and about patrolling campus it would provide a built in security system. When there are other people around there's less likelihood for an incident, and campus can become extremely dead at night. Females may not have the opportunity to call the police or a CSO in a situation, but if a CSO was already in the vicinity it would be a much faster response time.

The issue of female safety is something that goes beyond just the UCSB campus. While it would be ideal to create nationwide change to the issue, starting with our own campus is a positive start. There are many things UCSB could be doing to step up and create a blanket of safety for women in a time in our society when there's so much fear amongst our group.

Image via Sayfty