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Don’t go out after dark by yourself.      

Don’t wear headphones if you go out for a run.      

Carry a key between your knuckles.      

Call someone while you’re walking home.      

Carry pepper spray or a taser.     

Take self-defense classes.     

Carefully check the outside, under, and inside of your car before entering it.     

Lock your car as soon as you get in and drive away quickly.      

Never accept a drink from someone else, and don’t leave it unattended.      

Go to the bathroom in groups.      

Change your shoes to ones you can run better in.      

Don’t wear anything too revealing.     

Your shoulders have to be covered in class.      

Cross the street if you see a group of men before you.      

Share your location.      

If you live alone, place male boots outside your door to make others think a man lives there.      

Text your friends or family when you get home safe. 

These are just a few of the common things that women have to think about on a daily basis, things that usually do not ever cross a man’s mind. 

On March 3rd, 2021, Sarah Everard went missing while walking home from her friend’s apartment. On March 11th, police confirmed that they found the body of Sarah Everard, and a police officer has been charged with her murder. This tragic incident has sparked international discussion of women’s safety, with hashtags reading “Text Me When You Get Home” being used as banners for women to share their experiences of harassment or any dangerous situation in regards to men and safety. Women’s safety has long been in peril, and this incident, along with countless others, are calls to action for something that has long been brewing and must be fought for: women should not have to constantly feel endangered, and our global society needs to work hard to put an end to seeing any more these kinds of headlines. 

Notice how all of the “instructions” listed at the beginning of this article are all geared towards women’s defensive behavior — there is hardly any rhetoric geared towards men. Instead of teaching men not to cat-call women, women are taught to keep their heads down and ignore. Instead of taking women seriously when they’re victims and properly prosecuting men when they do rape or endanger women, men like Brock Turner get out of jail in three months after raping an unconscious woman. No, not all men treat women like objects that exist for the sole purpose of their viewing or physical pleasure, but some men do, and those some men force women to be afraid of all men and feel the need to diligently look out for themselves.

A man once told me that I “should not be afraid of men because it’s statistically improbable that something bad would happen.” Not only did he mansplain a situation that he has no experience in and neglect the fact that this cannot simply be described by statistics, but he failed to understand that even one woman being in danger is too many. How can you justify people being murdered while they’re just trying to walk home? Getting into a car accident is statistically improbable, yet you still wear a seatbelt and use airbags to protect yourself in case something were to happen. Women are forced to find ways to protect themselves regardless of if it’s unlikely to happen because we need to prevent the times where it does. 

Women have the right to feel safe, but that’s unfortunately far from reality. Too many lives have been lost or altered by malicious acts of men. If you’re a man looking to help change the horrific nature of the reality of women’s safety, I encourage you to listen to your female friends. Ask them how they can best be supported, whether it be walking them home in the dark, taking them seriously when something happens, advocating for equal clothing policies, or altering the way you approach or look at women so that they can feel safer. For those of you who believe in changing this reality for women, this isn’t your fault, but we need your help. As much as I hate the fact that women often have to rely on male protection from other men, it’s a result of the reality we are living in, and until that changes, we need you.   


Original Illustration by Gina Escandon for Her Campus Media

Mary Muench is a senior at the University of Utah majoring in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science. She knows too much about coffee and enjoys white-water rafting and hammocking.
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