It’s time to praise the advancement of technology.
It’s also time to admonish that most women have to rely on that technology as a way to get home safely.
Genuinely, is it too much to ask that I don’t have to weaponise my house keys on the way to collect my Pizza Hut? Or accept my fate if my phone runs out of charge? I blame all rapists and traffickers for the delivery charges. I would like to send them all a bill personally- that is if we could actually catch half of them.
As dumbfounding as it is that people have not learnt that ‘rape=bad’. Still, I am still grateful that men are finally acknowledging and attempting to bridge the gap in differing experiences that they face in comparison to women.
Gizmos and gadgets.
People can now buy nifty jewellery that has hidden agendas. They protect the wearer. There’s a necklace has two options, one screams and sends an alert to everyone and the other is more cautionary. The latter is the silent mode and would most likely be used if you’re suspicious that someone is following you, targetting you or just generally looks creepy.
The amount of time the silent mode is activated must be simply stupid.
I can’t tell you how many times I have to walk past a group of guys that ooze grotesque intentions. Similarly, an innocent man who happens to be walking a few feet behind could also make any girl’s trigger finger twitch over that button. But now I have that option to use that.
The movement of feminism has highlighted inequalities in the workplace, legal system and now in common activities like walking home. Similarly, we are advancing technologically so the two pair hand in hand when it comes to creating technology like this. Technology that protects women has always been essential sadly but it is especially necessary after the #metoo movement on Twitter where everyone shared their stories of sexual assault online.
Apps and Chats
Companies like Uber have added extra features to their app that now enable you to share your live taxi details with anyone of your choice similar to the Companion app for walking home. Contrastingly, the uber update will hopefully stop people from getting into fake taxis where women can get attacked, however, I’ve even heard awful firsthand accounts of real taxi drivers taking advantage of drunk women.
The above is a screenshot from the Facebook Messenger group chat ‘GirlsWalkingHome’ depicting the firsthand experience of an assaulted woman.
However, now that phones and the internet have become commonplace in today’s society we all have a platform. With this, we can raise awareness of these issues. Hopefully, before they worsen to the point we end up another infuriating news story that absolutely no one learns from. I and 100+ other women in Bournemouth have formed a group chat for the sole purpose of getting each other home safely. Although only a handful of us know each other, we all have shared experiences of fearful journeys home.
These girls in Lincoln have created their own group chat for the same reason but on a larger scale. The ‘Lincoln Girl Gang‘ group chat looks after thousands of women. It’s impressive, but it just shows that our safety isn’t something we can achieve by ourselves. No matter how much it really damn should be.
The above is a screenshot from the Facebook Messenger group chat ‘GirlsWalkingHome’ depicting how the women in this chat make sure others get home safe.
The Role Men Play
Regardless of this, I know its not only women who want to keep women safe. Commonly, men want their wives, girlfriends, daughters, sisters and mothers to be kept safe. Yet, they’re missing the point if they think their relationship to a woman should matter because it’s simply common decency to not want a random woman to get raped.
Men know this, though. At least they are starting to. My friends will make sure they see me get into a taxi at night before they get their own. They will lend me their jumpers if there are other men catcalling me for the outfit I wore out clubbing. After a brief pub visit, they will walk me home.
There is still more you can do to help, even as a stranger.
Don’t turn a blind eye if you witness someone harassing a girl. Help. Women often pretend to know each other to interrupt uncomfortable situations. This is a way of helping that doesn’t involve confrontation- which is what most people are afraid of.
Another tip, which is so blindly obvious that I don’t know why I have to repeat, is:
DO NOT BE CREEPY. DO NOT BE THE ONE CAUSING THE UNCOMFORTABLE SITUATION.
You are most likely stronger or bigger than the girl you are talking to. You know that ‘no means no’, but so does her body language if she’s shrinking away from you when you lean closer. So do her eyes if she’s avoiding yours and trying to search for her friends or someone else for help. She won’t outright no if she’s afraid you’ll ignore it and escalate the situation.
So, as much as I admire how far we have come from being burnt at the stake to being attacked in a street, both outcomes don’t exactly sound great for us despite the preventative measures technology is attempting for us. We appreciate the effort but do more.
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