Women should not have to fear walking alone at night

Aoife Breslin

For years women have been warned that they should not walk alone at night, but women are not the problem. We should be educating men on what is right and what is wrong and teach them how to make women feel safe.

Every woman feels vulnerable when they hear a news report of yet another woman’s disappearance, assault, or death.

Sarah Everard was reported missing last week, and they have since found her body. Everard was walking alone at night; however, she was on her  phone, she was walking in the correct shoes, she was wearing bright clothing and she was walking in a CCTV monitored area, she was doing everything they tell women to do. However, her life was still taken.

Women all around the world feel this fear daily, we have all put out keys in-between our fingers, we have all made calls real and fake, we have all planned our escape route in our head, we have all been scared. But why should we be?

We deserve more than to be told: ‘Women shouldn’t walk alone at night.’ It is not the women who are wrong for walking home alone, it is the men that attack us that are in the wrong. We need to stop blaming women.

Men’s behaviour is the only thing that must be changed, women cannot stay locked up in their homes forever just because of fear. When a woman chooses to walk alone at night all she wants is to return home safe, but it should not be a matter of us fearing our safety.

People are advising women to think twice before they leave the house but why are we not advising men to change their social behaviours towards women.

1 in 5 women have or will be assaulted by a male once in their life. Everard was doing everything right the night she was taken, however, they still blamed her for walking home alone at night.

Everard and every other woman should be allowed to feel safe, they should be entitled to arrive unharmed to their destination.

Victim blaming is a huge part of the situation when a woman gets assaulted or disappears, it is as if people are constantly wondering what the woman did wrong. But the only people that are in the wrong are the men that attack women.

Many men will think this is irrelevant to them because they would never harm or assault a woman, however, men’s silence is louder than they think. Men must call out the wrong that they see their friends, family, and companions doing.

Many act as though women getting assaulted in todays world is inevitable but it should not be looked at in this way. We cannot live our life trying to avoid being harrassed.

We do understand that the majority of men are good people, however, the fear of a male presence near you when you are walking alone at night is terrifying.

This week women took to twitter to inform men on how they can make us feel safer in this situation. From crossing the street to another foot path, to not walking closely behind a woman, to being noisy, these can all put women at ease when walking at night.

However, women should not have to be put at ease, they should not have to fear in the first place. We must educate our men so our women can feel safe.

Aoife Breslin.

Image Credit: Stellar_speck on Unsplash