The recent murder of Mollie Tibbetts and acclaimed Iowa State golfer named Celia Barquin Arozamena has brought up a hidden fear to the world, but it has always been known to women.
Tibbetts was on a jog by herself when she was stalked then murdered this past July. For Arozamena, she was golfing mid morning on a Saturday by herself on a golf course near Iowa State’s campus, but that didn’t prevent a man from brutally stabbing her then throwing her body into a nearby pond.
As a Minnesota State cross country and track athlete, I can relate to the fear that these cases have brought to women nationwide, specifically the Mollie Tibbetts case.
Last year, my roommates and I made a list titled “Things people have yelled at us while running”. And mind you, I have two male roommates and two other female roommates. So we made a male and female column.
Here are some of the comments for the men: “Put a shirt on!”, “You can run back to my dorm”, “Please have sex with me”, etc.
Here are some of the comments towards the females: “Put some shirts on, sluts”, “Girl you’re the fittest thing on these roads”, “Sit on my face”, “Keep pushing girls”, etc.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some time in their lives. On college campus specifically, nearly two thirds of college students experience sexual harassment.
Obviously, the cases of Tibbetts and Arozamena were extreme and in most scenarios, wouldn’t occur every day. But both of these cases have brought up the fear women have dealt with for many years.
Women might be called “irrational” for these fears, but I can name a few reasons why these fears make sense.
In regards to the statistic above, it makes sense why women would fear rape when one in five women will be raped in their lifetime.
It makes sense why women would feel like they couldn’t fight off a man, who would naturally be stronger than a woman biologically.
So what can we do to make our society better when it comes to fear of sexual violence?
In a recent New York Times article titled “Running While Female” by Talya Minsberg, Tayla talks about how women “have adapted to the realities -and risks- of running while female”. And she mentions that there are several rules that women follow while running.
If you have ever run alone as a female, you will recognize these:
- Don’t wear headphones or have your music too loud that you can’t hear someone around you.
- Don’t run in the dark.
- Don’t run in a wooded area alone.
- Run in frequently populated areas.
- Don’t make eye contact with any man.
And there’s a lot more that could be added. Doesn’t that sound exhausting to be constantly worried while running and continue to think these things every day?
It might seem like this is a bigger problem than just one person, and that is because it is. But if several people begin to change their actions, it can lead to a better society where everyone can feel safe.
Whether you are a male or female, your voice can make a difference.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, rape is the most under-reported crime. 63 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. This could very possibly include your mother, your sister, your aunt, your grandma, your friend. Standing up for anyone in a situation that you feel could be dangerous could help prevent another statistic.
While there are resources online, the MNSU Women’s Center also provides information and resources about sexual violence, as well as resources for survivors.
Feature photo by Bobbi Patrick | MSU Reporter.