A number of recent blog posts and tweets have surfaced involving the #yeseverywomen campaign. Now, the merits of this campaign are well-intentioned. I, for one, am appalled at the loss of life that came from the recent shooting near a California college.
However, most blogs posts I’ve read seem to point towards a want for utopian future where no female ever feels threatened by a male. This is, very simply, unrealistic and I’ll tell you why.
On average, males are stronger than females. A women walking past a male that has the physical strength to overpower her will and should be cautious. Unless we make all men wear a sign saying “It’s ok, I may be big but I’m no rapist” then care in a situation where there is a threat to your safety is advisable. It is not a threat of the general category of men. It is a threat of the unknown.
I have an ex-boyfriend who is very tall and large. Because of his size, he was able to quickly and easily break up physical altercations. On one occasion that I can remember, he was attempting to assist in a situation where drunkeness and idiocy had led to violence for other (not him) when cops arrived. When cops do an initial assessment of a scene, they assess the danger. They never approached my then boyfriend right off the bat? Why? It was immediately clear that, if he wanted to, he could “take them”. Only after they determined that he was uninvolved and only attempting to lend a hand did they feel safe coming within punching distance of him. Were these cops afraid he would rape them? NO! Were they cautious because he was a potential threat? YES! Were they right to be cautious? Also yes.
My point is that, I am a cautious and anxious person. I find the desire to lessen crimes against women very VERY admirable. However, I think it’s an unfair generalization to point to women’s constant fear and need to be on guard as a huge problem. This is not because of an overwhelming likelihood that the men we encounter are rapist or prone to violence against women. It’s because, on average, we are smaller and, therefore, a higher percentage of the rest of the people in the world are a potential threat to us. We should continue to assess threats and use caution where it is warranted? When is it warranted? When we don’t know that it’s not.