It’s a woman’s world

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Emily Motta, Staff Writer

Clutching keys between your fingers, checking underneath the car when returning from the store, and always being aware of the surrounding area, are all normal activities that women partake in when they go outside. Women live in a cycle of fear, anticipating the worst, therefore all women need to be trained to escape the terrors of what could happen. 

 

It is no secret that women are often mistreated in our society, the United States of America was founded in 1776 but it wasn’t until 1920, 144 years later that women were allowed to vote. After that, a series of wins amounted for the women of America, but still, women are being treated as less than a man and as an object. 

 

Furthermore, this idea of women being less than any man is partially due to misogyny and years of oppression with ideals of the perfect woman. Women today are still victims of mistreatment but it is unlike the ways we’ve seen previously. Today forms of mistreatment can be exhibited with street harassment, kidnapping, and domestic violence. 

 

Street harassment can be displayed in a multitude of ways which include, cat-calling, unwanted touching, and physical abuse. A study conducted by Laura Beth Nielsen, professor of sociology, with Stop Street Harassment, found that in the Bay Area, “100 percent of the 54 women she asked had been the target of offensive or sexually-suggestive remarks…[and nationwide] [t]he survey found that 65% of all women had experienced street harassment.”

 

Often seen as flattery by the declarant, street harassment is a common way that women are mistreated. However, street harassment is just one slice of the abuse cake. Kidnapping, a more serious issue is a prominent fear and problem facing women.

 

“Look under your car,” they said “clutch your keys and pepper spray when you are outside,” they said “don’t offer people help or they could use your kindness to kidnap you,” they said. I remember watching videos and reading stories on how to keep myself safe when I’m out of my house, and those quotes were only a few of the dozens of tips. To this day my brain is engrained with a list of to-dos before I do anything in fear of being assaulted whether it be verbally or physically. 

 

In 2019 the Statista Research Department showed that “235,367 females under 21 reported missing, and 62,823 females over the age of 21 reported missing.” To be clear it is unknown how many instances were due to kidnapping versus runaways; however, people who run away tend to run from abuse like domestic violence.

 

Harassment is not only prevalent in the outside world, domestic violence happens in the home and the abuser can make it hard for the victim to leave. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control said, “women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner-related physical assaults…every year.” That number is alarming and proves that we are not doing enough to address the issue. 

 

Teaching all women self-defense would be extremely beneficial in curbing the number of assaults and violence against women. Being knowledgeable in self-defense techniques would not only give women the chance to feel more comfortable wherever they are but also more women would effectively fight off an attacker. 

 

This isn’t a new idea. Self-defense classes have already been created for men and women, and more women should take advantage. If money is an issue, look on social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram for accounts that teach self-defense techniques. Some techniques include: Using your elbow (your strongest point) to defend, always scream if someone attacks you, use your keys when you strike someone, and be aware of vulnerable areas.  

 

Furthermore, companies have sprung up because of this issue, and they sell kits and individual items for women to buy. These items include tasers, alarms, tracking devices, and more in order to make women feel safer until they can be. However, self-defense is still important to know in case your resources fail you.

 

Nevertheless, teaching self-defense is not a complete solution. We need to understand that the past is the past and those behaviors belong there. We have recognized that treating women with disrespect and aggression was never correct and therefore illegal. So why are we still dealing with these issues today? I believe it is the teaching of our children from a young age that these behaviors are okay and acceptable. It is hard to unlearn something that has been taught for centuries, but it is absolutely necessary to accomplish. If we stop teaching children and adults that mistreating women is fine, then we can decrease the number of crimes committed against women. The abuse of women is a pandemic and it is in dire need of a successful solution.