Sometimes Security Endangers Women

Recently, after receiving a message from a friend, I realized just how many places force women to put away or discard safety devices such as pepper spray or keychains. In my friend’s message, she told me that at the door of an event, security made women either throw away or go back to their cars and put away their pepper spray. “It caused a lot of girls to have to walk back alone in the dark in cities like Atlanta with no protection,” my friend said. 


Of course, the intention here isn’t to put women in danger, but in the interest of security and safety at the event. However, a lack of consideration for the reality that women live in is evident. By only thinking of the security of the event, the safety of women after the event is neglected, as women are forced to walk back to their cars or wait for a ride, often alone or with other women, without any way to protect themselves from an attack. Even without an attack occurring, the anxiety behind knowing that you’re unarmed and unprotected takes a toll on you. By the time you get back to your car or get into your Uber, you’ve worked yourself into a panic attack. 


As my friend noted, “People don’t go on rampages with pepper spray.”


Along with bringing this issue to attention, my friend offered a solution: a checking system for protection items such as pepper spray or keychains. Like with coat checking, you leave protection items at some form of desk or closet and take a number. Therefore, these items are not on your person while at an event, but you’re not without them after the fact. 


I do believe this is a serious problem, and that there is an oversight by events and venues concerned with the safety of guests either before or after. By taking into account the overall safety of not only the venue, but also the guests with a system like checking a coat, security will improve as well as the experience of the event.


Take notes, security.