7 Normal Things That Are Not Safe If You’re A Woman In America

A sad fact that a lot of people don’t want to admit or think about is also really important: it’s not safe to a woman around the world. Need proof? Recently, Qandeel Baloch, a Pakistani social media star, was strangled to death by her brother in what’s called an “honor killing.” Men accused of rape often get less jail time than someone committing a crime that isn’t dangerous to others. Famous sports stars are regularly accused and convicted of domestic violence, but no one cares if they can score points to win a game. And it’s not just in the United States – between genital mutilation, human trafficking, lack of access to education, and female infanticide, there’s a serious problem that’s bigger than just one nation.

Comparatively, America is a utopia, but we’re far from having true equality. It’s still markedly unsafe to be a woman in America in certain instances. Safety is something that’s only more of a guarantee for some cisgendered men than anyone else. Gender bias still exists in a way that makes it dangerous to be female. That’s pretty messed up.

Yes, I know that we have a female presidential candidate in Hillary Clinton, but we have another candidate that low key just regular full-on hates women. There are whole rallies surrounding him and supporting his thought. I’m sure we all have that one problematic relative or person in your newsfeed who says victim-blaming things when there’s a large rape case or actively blames you for being assaulted or cat called. That’s not even including the awful things said about trans women on the regular. Of course, intersectional feminism tells us that within women being oppressed, there’s compounded systemic bias within that based on race, ability, gender expression, and socioeconomic status. We are made to feel unsafe on the regular and it’s become so commonplace that you may have gone blind to it. These are seven ways it’s unsafe to be a woman in America that you may never have considered before.

Walking Alone

I just had to explain to my neighbor why I can't walk to his house at night, and instead have to drive, and it took him a little extra time to see where I'm coming from. Walking alone, especially at night, is a seemingly basic freedom that we aren't really afforded. Women spend more money on Ubers and other extra-safety precautions in lieu of being isolated and alone at night, which isn't only inconvenient, it's also expensive. To add insult to injury, if you google the words "uber sexual assault" you come up with gems like this. Cool. So now our one haven of safety has been compromised so we're literally never safe to be solo. Awesome.

Source: iStock

Rejecting Men

There's an entire single topic Tumblr dedicated to documenting the level of violence encountered by women just for refusing the advances of men. The most recent one there is from a woman who told law enforcement she was being harrassed by this man who kept making sexual advances on her and the man fired a round of bullets into her house. We're all acutely aware that anyone we reject could have a violent reaction. There's no foolproof way to gage someone's reaction, which is why we always try to be diplomatic and clear, but really... "no" is a complete sentence. No means no. We shouldn't have to fear for our lives because we say no.

Source: iStock

Dealing With Others

Ever notice how it's always "make sure you protect your drink when you go out" and "always travel in groups or pairs" and not "don't drug girls or prey on them like you're a lion in a National Geographic special"? It's part of how we're socialized to take responsibility as well as everyone else's burden and "fix things" because that makes you a good woman, or whatever. Beyond victim blaming, which is the language used after an assault happens, before any threat of danger, we're taught to always be in defense mode and to never let our guard down. It gets exhausting. We're tired of being prepared for incoming doom.

Source: iStock

Getting Pregnant

For a developed nation, America has a stunningly awful maternal leave policy. The standard is one year paid maternal leave, but if a woman gets pregnant and plans to take time off, some companies find it more economically viable to fire her. While it is techncially illegal, that doesn't prevent it from happening. Pregnant women are not protected from their employers deeming their temporary leave as grounds that they can not perform their job the way they used to before pregnancy. Combine that with potentially losing your benefits, and you can see how this situation can become dangerous in the long run.

Source: iStock

Having A Miscarriage (Sometimes)

Everybody, this is a real thing. In some states, you can be legally prosecuted and arrested for having a miscarriage. As many of you with functioning knowledge of the reproductive system know, these are things that are frequently beyond a woman's control. Furthermore, from knowing more than five women who have actively tried to get pregnant, you know that miscarriages are far more common than these laws make it out to be and they are certainly not criminal. Still, you can be legally arrested in some states and serve jail time for your body failing to maintain a pregnancy. That's crazy, ignorant, and insulting.

Source: iStock

Being The Victim Of A Crime

The statistics are allarming. Only three out of every 100 rapists ever serve jail time for the crime they committed. That means there are 97 rapists out of every 100 that are still walking around and living their lives uninterrupted (okay, occasionally interrupted by having to register as a sex offender or do community service). Still, seeing as a woman is more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone they know, it's safe to say that once a woman is raped, her rapist will still have somewhat of a presence in her life and she is not ultimately protected against seeing them. I can't even imagine walking on egg shells while trying to cope with the aftermath of a rape waiting for that trigger to happen. How awful.

Source: iStock

Just Being A Woman

It starts out as small things like believing all women don't know how anything about cars to slightly larger things like men needing to have the last word in an arguement and women being left out of leadership positions across all occupations. Unfortunately, when that all gets compounded, it leads to larger, potentially dangerous side effects like women not being believed when they're in danger. Their experiences are constantly being called into question for their validity and her relative ability to remember and recall true events. Of course, the bias gets bigger and bigger when you involve race and other layers of oppression, but the sheer fact that women are not believed when they tell the truth is sickening and puts our lives in danger.

Source: iStock

What makes you feel unsafe? What did we forget to include? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.


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