THE STORY: A 20 year old college woman walking to a friend’s house at 1 am is approached by 2 men. They force her into an alley and sexually assault her. Good news is the attack was interrupted by 2 passersby and the predators fled the scene. (“Good news” because she wasn’t killed.)
COULD THIS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED: I have a friend who loves to trail ride (on a bike). I’ve told her a number of times she canNOT be riding alone “on these trails.” One time she said, “I’ll be fine.” Another time she said, “I’m on a bike; what could an attacker do?” To which I responded, “All he has to do is push you off your bike. It takes no work and no effort. And since other riders are so scarce (she normally rides in the middle of weekdays) you’re at the total mercy of your attacker.”
In this situation, we have a 20 year old woman in a downtown area walking alone. Is she asking for it?? Absolutely NOT! But downtown districts are not the safest places in the world even for men. In these situations, there are 2 types of victims. The first: the victim who perceives no threats – - like my bike-riding friend. The second: the person who thinks it won’t happen to them. I’ll speak with women and they’ll say, “You gotta tell my daughter that running alone on trails is not safe.” To which I respond, “I will; but odds are it will not stop her. When you tell her to not run alone, I’ll bet she says, ‘quit worrying about me mom. I’ll be fine.’” And the mom always confirms this.
Somewhere in America a woman is raped approximately every 35 seconds. A couple more are sexually assaulted. And while approximately 80% of these occur where the victim knows her assailant, that still leaves a HUGE number where the victim does NOT know her assailant.
The world has changed and crimes of all types have intruded into every enclave – - even those that used to be considered safe.
This woman might have asked someone else to walk with her. She might have asked her friends to come and pick her up. Or she might have taken a cab. This is not about chiding her for not doing these things; it’s about trying to keep one’s self out of harm’s way.