Peterson: Women are tired of being told to ‘stay safe’

Earlier this month Sarah Everard was kidnapped and killed, allegedly by a police officer, while walking the short distance home from a friend’s house in England. 

After the tragedy was spread all over the internet it sparked conversation about how women everywhere are in fear of their lives every day. This type of news with Sarah isn’t anything new to women, but is one that we need to stop. 

The question is, how can we do this?

These types of problems are not in fault of the women. Many women, as myself, take every precaution possible when in situations like this. Some of these precautions include holding keys in between fingers, walking in bright paths, traveling in groups, and relying on well-known and trusted people for transportation.

Sarah did the same thing. She was talking on the phone while walking home for the other person to know about her whereabouts and walked on well-lit streets to increase her safety levels. Even doing this, it wasn’t enough.

Sarah opted to walk home because she didn’t trust other forms of transportation, and I understand this decision. Other stories have been shared about women being harmed on trains, buses, and Ubers, leaving a limited number of choices for women to choose from. 

Ever since I was a young teenager I have constantly been told by my parents on what I should and should not do when out and about to make sure I’m protected. And I appreciate that, they want to ensure their child will not be harmed.

Students at Minnesota State University, Mankato are also on edge when it comes to traveling around campus, especially once it gets dark. Campus security reports show that there have been frequent stalking instances on campus, specifically around Julia Sears dorms and Stadium Heights.

We then need to talk about how these reports are being dealt with and how the University will address these issues not only now, but in the long run. Student safety should be a priority on campus at all times.

We need to redirect the conversation from how women can protect themselves to how men can stop harming women and being held accountable for their actions. I’m tired of being told new ways to save myself when I’m doing everyday activities and constantly being on edge, and I know other women are as well.

To first teach men about these issues we must tell the stories of violence against women and how it impacts not only their lives, but the other women who hear about it. While hearing about this, men also need to believe survivors. Their stories won’t mean anything if they’re not being believed.

Speak up against violence, no matter where it’s at or who is causing it. One thing that keeps men from doing this is the societal standards of toxic masculinity, but getting over this barrier will allow for a secure environment. 

Advocating for stricter laws in government against violence will also help women feel safe with where they’re at. If these types of laws are implemented then it will help others realize the seriousness and degree of fear women are in. 

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