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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » Fear of being a woman, and living (nearly) on my own...

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Author Topic: Fear of being a woman, and living (nearly) on my own...
Kabith
Activist
Member # 95148

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Yeeeah.

I know that violence is random, and that men can be subjected to violence the same a woman can. But I always get this feeling that women are targeted more, or that I will be targeted more than my male peers, because of my size and gender.

I'm moving into my first house in a few weeks. It is a block and a half off of campus, but the town that my university is in is a pretty sketchy place. There is a lot of crime that goes on (though I've mostly heard of car theft, and domestic violence. I don't really go looking for bad news though, so idk). I'm living in a small house with two other girls. I'm the only person living on the ground floor, with the one window on the house that faces the street (other than the sliding glass door). I've heard stories of things that have happened in campuses around our area (about 30 minutes north) of crazy people breaking in and tying up girls that live in houses together. In one story, there were 8 girls living in one house, and the only reason they didn't all get raped and murdered was because one girl was a light sleeper and woke up when she heard the man walking through the house, and called the police behind a closet door. So I guess safety in numbers has a little bit of weight, but the numbers didn't seem to phase the crazy SOB.

I originally picked the ground floor room because it was bigger and right next to the shower and laundry room. But I know that when I move in (especially since I will be living on my own for a few weeks before my housemates move in with me), I will lay in my bed staring at the window, or waking up every time I hear a little bump or scratch.

It doesn't help that my mom always looks extremely concerned when I mention moving out or living alone. She wants me to just stay at home until other people move in with me. And I could, and I might, but I want to start working at my old job again ASAP so I can earn some rent and grocery money for the upcoming school year. And it annoys me that I only feel safe when there is a bigger person (usually a man, or one of my extremely athletic lady friends) who could back me up or maybe intimidate the offender.

I guess this is kind of a rant. I'm not really looking for a clear answer. I just wish I didn't have to worry about being raped in my own home. Even though I'll have the best locks, I'll have some sort of weapon (we haven't decided on what to have yet, but I will be choosing one to train with before moving), and I'm hoping to install some sort of alarm system that would scare away any prospective intruders. So I am taking precautions.

Some people think that me and my family are being paranoid, and that "nothing will happen." And that is probably true. But violence is random. Someone might pick my house to break into to thieve, and shoot me in the process. The next crazy person may target my house full of young small women to take advantage of. (I am aware that this is extremely rare, but it does happen, and it still churns in my head.)

I just don't want to feel helpless, or victimized. I want to know that I can shoot a man dead, or beat him dead, before he could harm me or my friends. So I'll do my best to be prepared. But I still hate the feeling of fear that I get when I am alone in a not-so-friendly neighborhood.

OK, done with my rant for now. Any comments or anything would be nice c:

Posts: 120 | From: Washington State - USA | Registered: Mar 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rainbow_1234
Neophyte
Member # 107531

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Would it be helpful to find other women who live on their own to talk to and ask about their experiences?
I've lived on my own for years while being read as female by society (actually I'm trans but wasn't out), and not had any problems.

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Posts: 19 | From: . | Registered: May 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sam W
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 108189

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Hi Kabith, fellow tiny ladyperson here.

I also lived in the "bad part of town" during my college years, with a fellow lady roommate.

I completely understand where you are coming from. When you grow up as a girl, you are exposed to a lot of storied about all the bad things that can happen to you, and that can lead to feeling very anxious about your safety. So I understand where you are coming from.

It sounds as though you are taking steps to make yourself feel less worried (locks, taking measures to protect yourself). I would second Rainbow 1234's suggestion to talk to other women in your area about the ways they approach worries similar to yours. And from my own experience,there is an adjustment period where you are double checking the locks at night. But as you get more and more comfortable in your new space, the anxiety tends to get less and less pronounced.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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I'm also a huge fan -- and former teacher -- of self-defense courses. Just taking them, all by itself, tends to result in feeling much more safe and capable when you're out on your own in the world.

Too, I find many of us who have taken them have anecdotally found that the change they can make it how we carry ourselves and react to potential dangers seems to make us appear less vulnerable all by itself, without ever having to even use actual self-defense. I know quite a lot of people, including myself, who have taken self-defense and have stories about how even a look or posture when presented with an actual danger has seemed to put someone off right from the start. There's something about the mere appearance, and it is something one can get a sense of, of someone who feels ready and able to defend themselves versus someone who looks more scared and incapable.

From a self-defense standpoint, those kinds of skills are actually more likely to help you stay safe than a weapon. Weapons are far more easily things people can hurt themselves with, or that attackers can easily get hold of to use against you. Your own strength, agility and balance tends to keep you a lot more safe and isn't something someone can take from you and use to do you harm.

[ 10-06-2013, 01:06 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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I want to also add that it might help to do a reality check about your "new dangers." Statistically, the fact of the matter is that you are likely no more vulnerable now than you ever have been, and in some cases, are even less so due to not being a child or younger girl anymore, being away from family (not saying your family is dangerous, just saying most attacks aren't actually stranger attacks, but from family members or people known to victims), etc. Too "bad" areas often don't present any more of these kind of actual dangers than "nice" ones. As someone who lived in one of the worst areas of Chicago there is for years, with no attacks, and instead was attacked, more than once, in the "good" areas outside the city, I can personally attest to that experience, which is fairly common.

You might also want to fact-check some of the stories you've heard. Some of them might be true, but just as many, if not more of them, may have no basis in fact whatsoever. people get scared, people attach to urban legends, and historically, we do also have a cultural thing where people do tend to say things to scare women out of independence.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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