Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Omigod, be safe!!!

Do you know what I hate? Locking the door. Yes, that's right.

Alright, so maybe it isn't the act of actually locking the door; it's this whole paranoid about safety thing. I'm surprised that the girls keep the door locked when they are home during the day. I mean, come on. In Chesterville, that is unheard of. Even many people in Ottawa, for example, keep their doors unlocked when they are home. Even some in Toronto.
We're only in Lennoxville.
Moreover, when we lock our door, we are protected by not only one, but two locked doors. The door downstairs locks automatically every time you close it. I do not see the point of having two locked doors during the day when you are home! Also, I find it a hassle to have to unlock the door every time I come home from somewhere. And yes, the girls are there ninety-five percent of the time.

This is also reminding me of the time in Peace River, Alberta when I walked back home alone, a 45-minute walk, at around 11 pm. Two weeks prior, I was watching a movie at a participant's house. Afterwards, I told them I wanted to go home anyway, after learning that my ride fell through. They refused (both male and female) and told me that they weren't letting me walk home (40 minutes) at this hour of the night. I don't remember the time, but it was quite late. Perhaps it wasn't the safest thing to do, but I found it annoying that they weren't letting me go. They said it was dangerous because it was at night and who knows what can happen to an 18-year old girl at night! They told me to spend the night at their host family's place. I really hate imposing on people like this, especially since I barely knew the host family. Reluctantly, I ended up spending the night. So, that's why I walked home alone a few weeks later (after a ride fell through again). I wasn't scared at all. Yes, this was in defiance to the whole paranoia about my safety, or rather about a female's safety.

Yes, I realize that it is all for my safety, but come on! It angers me that people always warn me that I will be raped or mugged or kidnapped or something just because I'm female. Yes, I realize that I am a more susceptible victim than my male counterparts, but I don't think that constantly trying to scare me will do anything about it except make me a worry-wart.
Oh, and by the way, I never planned to walk back late at night; it was just when rides fell through. I hate it when people worry about me in these kind of situations, so I never told my group or my host family that I walked home alone that night. It would have be an unnecessary worry.

I suppose I am just not afraid of strangers breaking into my house, enticing me into their car, or raping me. It doesn't really cross my mind. I am always very careful, smart about situations, and I figure I will never be put in an iffy situation because I don't think I am one to attract that kind of danger.
Perhaps I sound naïve about my safety, but I think that it just doesn't overly worry me. I do understand someone's concern for my safety, but what I don't like is the whole paranoia thing.

Leonard Cohen: So then, Miranda, what is your biggest danger?

Miranda: Well, Lenny, I'd have to say it is the possibility of having my legs broken by my friends because of my constant and ever-present tardiness.


Tex Texerson said...

Interestingly, Sarah wrote this very post on Sunday.

Isn't this I'm bulletproof, I can do anything attitude more prevalent amongst teenaged boys? That you can control everything that happens to you and around you is a really nice thought and all, but back here in the real world, that just isn't the case. The truth is, there are people out there who really don't give a crap for what you or I think.

Oh, did I just include myself in that? Yes, I believe I did. Why? Because hey, as much as girls seem to enjoy harping on all this, it is far from limited to girls.

Have you ever referred to a part of town as sketchy? Is there a bad part of town in Ottawa? _(Answer: yes)_. Would you or I or Barry or Brent walk through there alone at night? No. Would we walk through there during the day? Sure.

At night, you are alone and you are vulnerable. What if someone did decide they wanted to do something to you? There's not much you can do but.. say "no thanks"? We ain't in Chestertown no moh', Toters.

Hey, I'm not saying you are going to get raped or mugged every time you go out alone, and I'm not saying you should never go outside past sundown, but why put yourself in a situation where it is more likely, when it can be avoided? Do you really believe any half-decent family would send a young girl out on the street to walk 45 minutes in the dead of night to get home, rather than let her spend the night? You have so much faith that people won't do anything to harm you, but yet you have no faith whatsoever that people will have an ounce of decency? If you are too afraid to "impose" on people, then maybe you should consider working on that little psychological issue instead. And what, pray tell, is so important in your life that you just HAVE to be home that night at the cost of safety? How is this better than getting in a car when you are a little too tired? Isn't the drunk drivers mantra "hey, I'll be fine"? I suppose no one's gone out in a storm against their better judgement and not returned. I wonder, were they given another chance, if they would really feel that being home 8 hours earlier was really worth that gamble. Do we need any more contrived examples or is my point made?

And as for your apparent belief that you are too smart for this to happen to you.. PLEASE.

PLEASE. God, I cannot even properly articulate my disgust.

That is disrespectful to everyone who has ever had anything bad happen to them before, man or woman. Are you so much smarter than they? Were all those rape victims stupid? Did they bring it upon themselves? Were they asking for it? Were they just being careless when some large drunk man assaulted them late one night?

Do you suppose that, were we to survey victims of rape or sexual assault, that no one would say they thought it wouldn't happen to them? Do you conjecture none of these people believed they were careful enough or smart enough to have this happen?

Or maybe they just had it coming?

But ya, the whole locking the door thing... Maybe it's a little excessive, unless you're elderly or live in a slum or.. I dunno.. you have a creepy stalker..

Zaza said...

...yup, this is what people always tell me. I suppose I should have expected this. I've especially heard this quote a lot: "Do you suppose that, were we to survey victims of rape or sexual assault, that no one would say they thought it wouldn't happen to them?"

It's the classic, naïve line: "Oh, it happens to those girls, but not to me!"

Do you honestly think I believe that? I said nowhere that I do.

I know I am not smarter than the rape victims.
And I know that walking home alone at night in a city is stupid.
I do not feel "bulletproff" at all; I know there are horrible people there; I realize that safety is of utmost importance.

Yes, yes I know all of this. I've heard all of this. I believe all of this. Gah.
What I was trying to say is that I don't like this paranoia that exists. Paranoia that leads to stupid things like locking two doors when you are home. I believe you have to be CAREFUL and take measures to ensure safety, but you don't have to be PARANOID or overbearing about it all.

I realize that I need to be careful and safe, and I realize that terrible things can happen to me, but if I lived forever in fear, I wouldn't do anything now, would I?

And about imposing? It's not a ridiculous "psychological issue". Good God. Of course I would rather impose than sacrifice safety. At the time, I was just fed up with the whole paranoia. I know it was a bad idea to walk home at night alone, but that is not what I'm suggesting people do. I am just saying that that's what resulted after me being annoyed.

And yes, I realize it is all for my safety. I seem to be repeating myself here. I'm not stupid or naïve, and I certainly know that this is not Chesterville.

Believe me, I've heard these points over and over again; they've been drilled in my head through years of school and of just people telling me. I realize I have to be safe and careful. But this is not what I was saying!

All I am saying is that it doesn't keep me awake all night and that I think we cultivate fear a little too much.

Man, people always tell me the exact same things every time I bring up anything about safety. However, ALL that I am saying is that I'm a little annoyed with the over abundance of paranoia with safety.

Tex Texerson said...

Honey, fear is the tool by which we, the people, are controlled. It is what we are most receptive too.

Fear of the furious wrath of our benevolent God (??), fear of burning for eternity in hell, fear of the boogeyman, fear of failing english class, fear of heights, fear of social repercussions, fear of creepy stalkers breathing on your window, fear of stinking the place up real bad. Without fear, what would keep us from doing whatever we wanted?

In all seriousness though, I 100% agree that all this safety malarkey is often taken to extremes and some people become truly paranoid, which affects their quality of life.

As with everything, it all depends on the circumstances. If you live in beautiful, picturesque Chesterville, you're probably fine to dance naked outside the Macewen's at 2 in the morning. But, if you live by yourself in slummy Gatineau and your neighbors are all crackfiends, you probably would do ok to get a couple deadbolts and maybe some bars on your windows. Or if you live in Lennoxville with a girl who's got something coming, which may or may not be in the form of a drunken two-man booty call at 3am.

You know what I find great? People who lock their car doors when they see a black or asian guy walking down the street. Or does that only happen in movies?

I watched a tv show yesterday about a guy who locked his wife and children in their home for 2 years. I didn't catch the end because it is one of the worst shows of all time (The War At Home, for the masochists out there willing to sit through it), but I'll bet he said it was only because he cared for them. I suspect he tied her up and beat her for the same reason. How is this relevant? Maybe it's not.

At the end of the day, I'm only saying you should have twelve locks and not go outside unless the sun is shining and even then only in the company of a male because I care for you.

Zaza said...

It is kind of sad that we are so driven and controlled by fear in our society. I think that controlling by fear has gotten way out of hand. As people need to be a little scared, they foremost need to be careful and aware. What we need is a balance. We need a little fear to keep us from being too stupid or getting ourselves into danger, and we need a little courage to let us do what we want. Fear is promulgated way too much these days.

Oh, and I am totally one to lock the car doors when an asian or black guy walks by, especially an asian, especially if he smells bad and dances like a zombie.