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S/o gun control: Fear of violence in the US


Carol in Cal.
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Honestly, I think that the real elephant in the living room regarding violence in the US is *violence against women*.


 


Gun control is a straw man compared to that.


 


We simply don't, as a nation, have a culture or a will to prevent that, to make it unthinkable.  It's so pervasive that we tacitly assume its presence.  And that should not be.  This is far more significant than gun control.


 


Why don't I take the lightrail home from downtown; it stops less than a mile from my home and that's a nice, healthy walk?


 


Because women walking alone are targets for theft and bodily injury.  And if they are robbed or raped, people will blame them for walking in an 'unsafe' environment that men would never be accosted in.


 


Why is running up the firetrail behind the stadium at my alma mater mostly done by men even during the day, and only by men in the cool of twilight?


 


Because women walking or running alone are targets for theft and bodily injury.  And if they are robbed or raped, people will blame them for being in an 'unsafe' environment that men would never be accosted in.  When I was in college, a member of the football team layed in wait for women runners up there.  He grabbed and raped several women before he was caught and prosecuted.  Hundreds of other women avoided the area because of this one man.  These kinds of crimes have a disproportionately large impact on women's behavior because their liklihood is so assumed by our culture.


 


Why are most thru hikers on the PCT men?


 


Because women walking alone are targets for theft and bodily injury.  And if they are robbed or raped, people will blame them for walking in an 'unsafe' environment that men would never be accosted in.  This adds an additional heavy burden to the already significant physical challenges of the hike itself, one that men would never even consider.


 


Why do widowed women need a new car every 3 years?


 


Because women walking alone are targets for theft and bodily injury, so having reliable transportation is a hugely significant safety issue for them.  And if they are robbed or raped, people will blame them for walking in an 'unsafe' environment that men would never be accosted in.


 


 


 


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Stop and think, for a moment, about what your life would be like if you did not have to be particularly concerned about violence against women.  Would you have gone to a different college?  Would you be healthier because you would be outside moving around more?  Would you be able to participate more in community affairs, or art shows, or concerts?  Would you be able to send your kids to school or recreation on their own more readily?

 

This is the main violent issue in American society, and it's so commonly assumed to be normal that questioning it is like questioning the atmosphere that we move in.  This is what we should be working on.  The gun control issue is trivial compared to this, both in effect and in actuality.

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I have to say that I don't spend a lot of time worrying about whether or not I will be accosted. It's not something that impacts my daily life.

 

I do try to be mindful of my surroundings and to avoid obviously dangerous areas, but my dh and my ds would behave in the same way, so I don't think I do anything differently simply because I am a woman.

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I'm not particularly concerned about violence against women.  I can't think of a single thing that fear of violence has kept me from doing.  Fear of violence just isn't something that ever occurs to me.  Sure I've had a few situations here and there where I felt a bit uncomfortable (FWIW, none of them were in situations where I was alone) and I do try to be alert and aware, but I've honestly never felt truly afraid that someone was going to do anything violent to me.  I've never felt uniquely vulnerable just because of my gender.

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I am not concerned about violence.  I am, however, happy that I, as well as my daughter, husband, and sons, have skills I've learned over the last two years in taekwondo because you never know.  Every form has self-defense techniques that we practice plus I've done some Krav (so I can get out of being choked and knock a much heavier person off if they are straddling me, etc.).  Not expecting or being concerned I may be attacked or raped does not mean I don't want to be prepared in case it happens.

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Well I will admit that I do things different because I am a woman. My Dh runs alone all the time. I, too, run alone but only around my neighborhood. The kids have been asking to go hiking and I haven't taken them yet because I am a little nervous to.

Having said that, I do still live my life and don't typically worry about violence. I travel alone (with the kids) and take them all over. I just don't like to take them somewhere where we are all alone.

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It's honestly not something I think that much about and I am also raising two daughters who are teenagers. I think they, as does everyone, need to be aware but I don't think we need to have fear. I can't think of a time I was kept from going somewhere or doing something because I am a female and/or afraid for my safety.

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I think that I have done this reflexively my whole life without really being aware of how different things could be until I travelled internationally and, for instance, didn't automatically assume that walking to and from a train station would be of questionable safety for a female.  Granted, I grew up in San Francisco, and travelled to school through Oakland every day for my 5 years of college, and before that went to school in the Mission District before it was trendy for 8 years, so maybe my experience is a little distorted.  I can't imagine just assuming that I would be safe walking around at night near a public transit terminal, the way men do, though.

 

It's not that I think about it a lot.  It's that I'm constrained by it a fair amount, even though I'm not thinking about it.  

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I have lived in a wide variety of places in the US and overseas, including urban, rural, and suburban areas. I have taken public transportation by myself in Seattle, DC, Mexico City, several cities in Kyrgyzstan, and many other places. I have walked all over many cities. I avoid walking at night in some places (so I drive instead), but other than that, there is nothing that dh does that I won't do. I don't feel like I am more in danger as a woman the US than in other places I've lived.

 

I wouldn't have gone to a different college. I couldn't be outside more because I already walk three or four miles a day to run errands. I take the Metro into DC all the time, by myself, to participate in a wide variety of events. My son combines public transportation and walking to get home from his Spanish class and to go to the orthodontist. Washington DC isn't the safest city in the US and I wouldn't hesitate to be out and about in New York, Chicago, or any number of other US cities.

 

I haven't touched a gun in over 20 years and neither has dh. I am very aware of my surroundings, more so than dh, and I make sure to keep myself out of situations that don't look good. But I don't fear that violence will be directed at me, particularly random street violence.

 

Even if I did feel like I was in danger in the US, I cannot see what that has to do with whether or not we have gun control.

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Carol, I respect that you feel a fear of street violence, and my question isn't meant to denigrate that but to explore it - how does your fear correlate with actual, base rates of violence where you live ?

 

If you looked up street crimes against women in your area, for example, would it be statistically higher than comparable countries ? Where would it rate in terms of risk ? As compared to the risk of being in a moving car, for example ?

That's a nice way to put it, Sadie, and I would like to clarify that I don't actually fear it, but I have become aware that it constricts my life somewhat.  

 

If I decide to go for a walk at night, I go in a direction that seems safer.  If I hike by myself, I take a certain amount of care to select a trail that will be well-travelled enough to prevent full isolation.  I stay in more than I would if this wasn't a consideration.   I stay in more than men do for the same reason.  Men worry about women doing out alone for the same reason.  Over time, the effect of these small differences accumulates.  

 

I don't actually know how to get to comparative rates, but the difference in 'feel' is really interesting to me.

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.  I can't think of a single thing that fear of violence has kept me from doing.  Fear of violence just isn't something that ever occurs to me. 

 

Ditto.

The only place where I was really concerned was in Philadelphia in the 1990s. I was there on a research visit, my first time to the US. The lab in the private university had locked bathrooms, every female employee had a key, and still they had emergency cables 1 foot off the ground so that you could call police from every position in the room if an assailant threw you to the floor. We were strongly warned not to cross a particular street after dark, and not to cross another street ever. Violent crime on campus was a daily occurrence.

THAT was scary.

 

Compared to that, I have felt safe in every other place I have lived in. Fear has never prevented me from doing anything I wanted to do and had not influence on my choices.

 

the most dangerous thing I do on a regular basis is drive a car. My chance of being in a car accident is much higher than the probability of being assaulted.

 

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Oh see I would lump all the "more likely by a friend/acquaintance" stuff in with the overall feeling the OP was describing. Not just fear of random attacks by strangers which we all know are statistically unlikely at any given moment in time, but rather the pervasive nature of threats against women, that so vividly impacts our* decision making processes.

 

*[...] some of our[...]

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Oh see I would lump all the "more likely by a friend/acquaintance" stuff in with the overall feeling the OP was describing. Not just fear of random attacks by strangers which we all know are statistically unlikely at any given moment in time, but rather the pervasive nature of threats against women, that so vividly impacts our* decision making processes.

 

Do you all really feel that "pervasive" nature of threats? From acquaintances?

The feeling is entirely alien to me.

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Do you all really feel that "pervasive" nature of threats? From acquaintances?

The feeling is entirely alien to me.

 

Oh no. I am AWARE of the very high probability of something bad happening to a woman, by dint of being a woman. One in six women sexually assaulted (to say nothing of childhood sexual assault) is not nothing.

 

I said "friends and acquaintances" because others were pointing out that someone you know is more likely to hurt you than a stranger.

 

I was qualifying my agreement with the sentiment presented in the OP.

 

To the bolded: Awesome!

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I think that I have done this reflexively my whole life without really being aware of how different things could be until I travelled internationally and, for instance, didn't automatically assume that walking to and from a train station would be of questionable safety for a female.  Granted, I grew up in San Francisco, and travelled to school through Oakland every day for my 5 years of college, and before that went to school in the Mission District before it was trendy for 8 years, so maybe my experience is a little distorted.  I can't imagine just assuming that I would be safe walking around at night near a public transit terminal, the way men do, though.

 

It's not that I think about it a lot.  It's that I'm constrained by it a fair amount, even though I'm not thinking about it.  

 

Those are some pretty awful places, or at least parts of them are or were some years ago. The only placed I've been mugged was in the Mission District, and the only time I've been physically attacked was in Oakland (walking alone, at night- I was stranded and didn't have any choice). That second one I know I was extremely, extremely lucky to walk away from (and it took getting in the car of an absolute stranger to do so).

 

I don't think much about personal safety, but I also don't put myself in as many potential questionable situations as I probably did when I was younger. But there are still times I consciously choose not to do things I would like to do, like hike alone, because I question how safe it might be. Where we live now I know it's an overreaction, but there it is. And when we've lived in big cities I'm definitely more on guard than my DH, particularly at night. So yeah, even though I don't think I think about it, I'd have to agree it's in the back of the mind somewhere.

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I don't feel that I'm in any more danger because I'm a woman. Maybe it's because I've had a fair amount of martial arts training and I'm pretty confident in my ability to extricate myself from an assault, but none of my decisions are made based on fear of attack. And around here I see an equal number of men and women out jogging, running errands, etc. at night.

 

I understand that assaults do happen, of course, but I think a lot of fear comes from being scared of the unknown. Even when I lived in a horrible neighborhood in college, I made an effort to be polite to everyone and chat even with people who looked like they'd mug you as soon as look at you. Without exception, people were polite back and completely harmless. Now when I'm walking at night and see a skeezy looking dude in an alley or something, I don't have that automatic fear response. Most of the time I say hello and pause for small talk.

 

I know it goes against everything we as women are told, but if you go outside your comfort zone regularly life becomes a lot less scary.

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Thinking about this just a bit more, I think that men have plenty of situations where they are more likely to be on guard than women are. I'm thinking of the time my male German cousin was visiting us and we took him to a local bar, where a few drunken fraternity sorts took exception to his nationality and threatened to do him bodily harm. Wouldn't have happened to a woman. Or the male dominated gangs in my high school, which most of the boys I knew steered clear of while I could walk right by despite their jeering without a fear in the world. They wouldn't have dared touch a girl, and that was well known.

 

Probably most men don't quite understand the unconscious decisions a woman might make, but I don't doubt it goes both ways.

 

 

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I don't agree that this is the elephant in the room regarding gun discussions.

 

I do think it's an issue, but it is a broad (no pun intended ;)) topic. I see violence against women to encompass patriarchy in all its forms, sexual aggression (including jokes, innuendo, and unsolicited "flirtation"). I grant that a woman having a vehicular breakdown is at a different risk than a male - and a hundred other examples.

 

But the gun issue? I don't think it is correlated to "violence against women." And I typically have sensitive radar for women's issues.

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Gotcha, I agree with this. Does a gun make you safe from being raped or attacked by your spouse ? Idk. Asking.

I guess it does in some cases. This past summer, one of our female police officers was attacked in her home by an ex-boyfriend. He broke in and began banging her head against the wall.  She tried to fight him off and at one point was able to get to a phone and call 911.  The call is very scary as you can hear her dog barking frantically, the man yelling that he's going to kill her, and her crying and pleading with him to stop. She was finally able to reach her gun and she shot and killed him. She was not charged as there was enough evidence that he would have killed her if she hadn't shot him. 

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I think this is an important conversation but I'm concerned with some comments. I volunteer with vicitms of sexual assault and most of them say they felt very safe doing whatever they were doing- jogging in the early am, lunchtime, evening; running errands, etc. Feeling safe does not equal being safe. And I may be misreading this but I feel like there is a bit of an mocking tone against those who are concerned for their safety in this thread. (Again, with my background, I may be overly sensitive) If someone chooses not to run alone or whatever, we ought to support that person, not deride them for being paranoid.

I also agree that this is separate but tangential to the gun control discussion. I will say that in my experience, many victims find that having some sort of weapon helps them recover their sense of control.

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I think this is an important conversation but I'm concerned with some comments. I volunteer with vicitms of sexual assault and most of them say they felt very safe doing whatever they were doing- jogging in the early am, lunchtime, evening; running errands, etc. Feeling safe does not equal being safe. A...

 

. I will say that in my experience, many victims find that having some sort of weapon helps them recover their sense of control.

 

Don't the two bolded statements contradict one another?

 

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I think this is an important conversation but I'm concerned with some comments. I volunteer with victims of sexual assault and most of them say they felt very safe doing whatever they were doing- jogging in the early am, lunchtime, evening; running errands, etc. Feeling safe does not equal being safe. And I may be misreading this but I feel like there is a bit of an mocking tone against those who are concerned for their safety in this thread. (Again, with my background, I may be overly sensitive) If someone chooses not to run alone or whatever, we ought to support that person, not deride them for being paranoid.

I also agree that this is separate but tangential to the gun control discussion. I will say that in my experience, many victims find that having some sort of weapon helps them recover their sense of control.

 

I agree that feeling safe doesn't equal being safe, but feeling like you're in danger also doesn't equal being in danger. When my reality of being on foot on city streets all.the.time doesn't match up with people's perceptions that those streets aren't safe, then I have to question their perceptions.  I don't think I've just been lucky, the statistics say that I'm not particularly likely to be attacked by random strangers almost anywhere in the world, much less in the US.

 

Unquestionably people who have been victims of assault need to be supported and I don't think anyone should feel like they have to do something they feel is dangerous.  Do what you need to do, but I am also concerned that women are socialized to feel like we are in danger when, on the whole, the danger doesn't necessarily exist.

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Don't the two bolded statements contradict one another?

 

Nope. One is feeling safe. The other is feeling like they have some sort of control. Doesn't mean that they are safe but it helps them feel like they have a chance and that they are taking control back from their fear.

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I agree that feeling safe doesn't equal being safe, but feeling like you're in danger also doesn't equal being in danger. When my reality of being on foot on city streets all.the.time doesn't match up with people's perceptions that those streets aren't safe, then I have to question their perceptions. I don't think I've just been lucky, the statistics say that I'm not particularly likely to be attacked by random strangers almost anywhere in the world, much less in the US.

 

Unquestionably people who have been victims of assault need to be supported and I don't think anyone should feel like they have to do something they feel is dangerous. Do what you need to do, but I am also concerned that women are socialized to feel like we are in danger when, on the whole, the danger doesn't necessarily exist.

True. Being paralyzed by fear isn't healthy. But choosing to alter your behavior to improve your odds of being safe is not irrational. And I will quibble a bit and say you have been lucky if you haven't been attacked. Those who were were not going out and asking for it. They probably were just doing what you were doing but they were unlucky.

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True. Being paralyzed by fear isn't healthy. But choosing to alter your behavior to improve your odds of being safe is not irrational. And I will quibble a bit and say you have been lucky if you haven't been attacked. Not trying to suggest that just going out your door or walking down the street means you will be attacked. But those who were were not going out and asking for it. They probably were just doing what you were doing but they were unlucky.

Tried to edit my post but for some reason it will only quote my edit. My tech skills strike again. ;)

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Where this relates to gun control is mostly two fold.

 

One thing is that if it's true, as I have read many times, that 40% of American women are sexually assaulted during their lifetimes, that is a problem that directly effects a much bigger proportion of our population than a few admittedly horrific episodes of gun violence.  And yet, it tends not to be remarked on much at all; hence the 'elephant in the living room' phrase.

 

The other is that the fact that violent attacks on women are so normalized, as well as are shooting related video games, and other forms of activity that really in any sane society should be unthinkable means that we have failed to adopt and convey a sense of moral obligation to an extent that is pretty amazing to me.  (By normalized I don't mean that we think they are OK, but rather that we think they are a normal part of life, albeit a very distasteful one, not a taboo thing.  How can we have no taboos?  It's really weird.)

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True. Being paralyzed by fear isn't healthy. But choosing to alter your behavior to improve your odds of being safe is not irrational. And I will quibble a bit and say you have been lucky if you haven't been attacked. Those who were were not going out and asking for it. They probably were just doing what you were doing but they were unlucky.

Being attacked by a stranger is rare. And people who act alert and assertive are actually less likely to be attacked than those who seem afraid and timid. I refuse to let fear of something extremely unlikely dictate my actions.

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DV from former partners is so scary. I've got a friend going through the fear of this now. I don't know if a gun would help her. 

 

It depends how you qualify help, I expect. The same scenario you guys are talking about would be a manslaughter charge, wouldn't it? Minimum sentence, but she'd still lose her job and have a record.

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True. Being paralyzed by fear isn't healthy. But choosing to alter your behavior to improve your odds of being safe is not irrational. And I will quibble a bit and say you have been lucky if you haven't been attacked. Those who were were not going out and asking for it. They probably were just doing what you were doing but they were unlucky.

 

I certainly don't think *anyone* ever asks to be assaulted.  But statistically, most people are not going to be assaulted at all, and if they are, it's rarely by a stranger.  If I haven't had something happen to me, it's normal, not lucky.  The people whose experience falls outside of normal who are assaulted by a stranger are the ones who are unlucky.

 

I completely agree it's fine to alter your behavior to make yourself safer.  I am very aware of being as safe as possible on the street and I take steps to reduce my risk. 

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Where this relates to gun control is mostly two fold.

 

One thing is that if it's true, as I have read many times, that 40% of American women are sexually assaulted during their lifetimes, that is a problem that directly effects a much bigger proportion of our population than a few admittedly horrific episodes of gun violence.  And yet, it tends not to be remarked on much at all; hence the 'elephant in the living room' phrase.

 

The other is that the fact that violent attacks on women are so normalized, as well as are shooting related video games, and other forms of activity that really in any sane society should be unthinkable means that we have failed to adopt and convey a sense of moral obligation to an extent that is pretty amazing to me.  (By normalized I don't mean that we think they are OK, but rather that we think they are a normal part of life, albeit a very distasteful one, not a taboo thing.  How can we have no taboos?  It's really weird.)

 

You keep talking about the 40% being sexually assaulted as if that is entirely street crime.  The vast majority of that 40% is not done by a stranger in a dark alley or jogging alone.

 

Rape culture, violence against women - yes, it is a big problem throughout the world, including the US.  I'm still not sure how this has anything to do with our gun culture or guns at all.

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Looking back I can see how my posts did make it seem like I was talking about stranger assaults but I was actually referring to any assault. And statistics are great but they are cold comfort when you end up becoming one of the statistics. Again, I am not advocating paralyzingly fear. But being aware and taking precautions ought to be encouraged, not derided.

I also agree that being socialized to be afraid and feel in danger when we aren't isn't good. Nor is feeling invincible because of a weapon or athletic ability or whatever. There is a balance. But I don't think it is helpful to try to make those who have a different risk tolerance feel paranoid. Nor is it right to blame a victim if they were less risk averse.

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Looking back I can see how my posts did make it seem like I was talking about stranger assaults but I was actually referring to any assault. And statistics are great but they are cold comfort when you end up becoming one of the statistics. Again, I am not advocating paralyzingly fear. But being aware and taking precautions ought to be encouraged, not derided.

I also agree that being socialized to be afraid and feel in danger when we aren't isn't good. Nor is feeling invincible because of a weapon or athletic ability or whatever. There is a balance. But I don't think it is helpful to try to make those who have a different risk tolerance feel paranoid. Nor is it right to blame a victim if they were less risk averse.

 

I think violence against women by people they know happens far too often even though any given woman is statistically not likely to have it happen to her.  We should take necessary precautions and no one should ever be made to feel ashamed because of her choices. 

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Interesting topic. I can't think of anything major that would have changed if I felt safer. Of course, I was cautious in college and girls tried not to walk around alone at night, but it wasn't ever difficult to find someone to go with you wherever you wanted to go. The rest of my life, I have always lived in small towns that felt very safe. I might feel differently if I lived somewhere else.

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I have to say that I don't spend a lot of time worrying about whether or not I will be accosted. It's not something that impacts my daily life.

 

I do try to be mindful of my surroundings and to avoid obviously dangerous areas, but my dh and my ds would behave in the same way, so I don't think I do anything differently simply because I am a woman.

 

Do you walk alone on lonely wooded trails?  Because there are a bunch of them in my town, and I love walking in the woods, but I do get nervous walking all alone out in the woods, even in my safe little suburb.  So I don't go. :( 

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And if they are robbed or raped, people will blame them for walking in an 'unsafe' environment that men would never be accosted in.

 

<snip>

 

And if they are robbed or raped, people will blame them for being in an 'unsafe' environment that men would never be accosted in.

 

<snip>

 

And if they are robbed or raped, people will blame them for walking in an 'unsafe' environment that men would never be accosted in.

 

<snip>

 

And if they are robbed or raped, people will blame them for walking in an 'unsafe' environment that men would never be accosted in.

 

 

I really am not sure I agree with your statements there. Sure, there are people who blame the victim, but I think that has become much less prevalent in today's society.

 

I think violence against women by people they know happens far too often even though any given woman is statistically not likely to have it happen to her.  We should take necessary precautions and no one should ever be made to feel ashamed because of her choices. 

 

I agree.

 

Yes, I probably do conduct myself differently because I'm female. I try to be aware of my surroundings, there are places I feel safer if I'm with someone else, etc... Otoh, I try to balance that with reality & I do go out alone w/out issue. (Meaning I haven't had issues or problems arise, nor do I worry about that.)

 

Rape culture, violence against women - yes, it is a big problem throughout the world, including the US.  I'm still not sure how this has anything to do with our gun culture or guns at all.

 

Rape culture is huge worldwide. It's used in personal situations, it's used in wartime situations, & more. It happens everywhere, unfortunately, & way too much.

 

I don't necessarily understand why it is related to the gun conversation either.

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I think about violence all the time (specifically as a woman) and I agree with the OP.

 

fwiw?

 

I'm not thrilled that I think about this sort of thing, but I do. I see it on the news and I once worked for a domestic abuse agency and did see stranger on stranger stuff happening.

 

I wish I could say, "You live in a very safe suburb: mellow out." But it's either instinct or I've gone overboard.

 

I was also raised in a violent home and I have to think that impacts how a lot of us grow, develop, and think. If you're being attacked by your father, it's not a far stretch to assume someone else might attack.

 

Alley

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I was also raised in a violent home and I have to think that impacts how a lot of us grow, develop, and think. If you're being attacked by your father, it's not a far stretch to assume someone else might attack.

 

Alley

 

Oh, I think this is HUGE.  Violence in a place where you are supposed to feel safe & secure - at home?  This colors your view in layers upon layers.  Ask me how I know.

 

Knowing the statistics has helped me immensely.  You have to re-learn our instincts - OK that's a really clumsy phrase & probably not technically accurate, but I'm multitasking - or trying to - and can't fix it.  Hopefully it's understandable.

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Do you walk alone on lonely wooded trails? Because there are a bunch of them in my town, and I love walking in the woods, but I do get nervous walking all alone out in the woods, even in my safe little suburb. So I don't go. :(

I don't walk on wooded trails. :D

 

(I'm not being sarcastic -- I really don't walk on wooded trails! I'm not particularly outdoorsy, but despite that, I have still contracted Lyme disease on three separate occasions, so I have sort of an aversion to places where ticks might be lurking!)

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I think this is an important conversation but I'm concerned with some comments. I volunteer with vicitms of sexual assault and most of them say they felt very safe doing whatever they were doing- jogging in the early am, lunchtime, evening; running errands, etc. Feeling safe does not equal being safe. And I may be misreading this but I feel like there is a bit of an mocking tone against those who are concerned for their safety in this thread. (Again, with my background, I may be overly sensitive) If someone chooses not to run alone or whatever, we ought to support that person, not deride them for being paranoid.

I also agree that this is separate but tangential to the gun control discussion. I will say that in my experience, many victims find that having some sort of weapon helps them recover their sense of control.

I hope my posts haven't come across as mocking -- it definitely wasn't my intention!

 

I think fear of being attacked is quite different from taking sensible precautions to try to avoid being attacked. As an example, who among us wouldn't choose to shop at the store with the well-lit parking lot late at night over the one in the questionable neighborhood with the pitch-dark parking lot? It's just common sense, for men as well as for women.

 

I think of things like being aware of your surroundings and locking your car doors to be good habits, not a sign of fear or paranoia. I teach my son the same safety precautions, so I don't think of them as women-only things.

 

I think being safety-conscious is entirely different from when a woman is afraid to go places or do things because she is consumed by the fear that she might be attacked. But if a woman is truly afraid, I would feel sorry for her, not mock her, because I would assume she has strong personal reasons for feeling as she does.

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Do you walk alone on lonely wooded trails? Because there are a bunch of them in my town, and I love walking in the woods, but I do get nervous walking all alone out in the woods, even in my safe little suburb. So I don't go. :(

I do, yes. And at dusk with my little in threatening dog.

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I think there is some crossover between gun control and violence against women, but I also think they are mostly separate issues.

 

As far as my own feelings about safety as a woman, I don't let a fear of violence stop me from too many things, and my girls are all now quite bold young women who don't live in fear.  BUT, we definitely change the way we do things as precautions against violence, absolutely.  I can walk freely in my town alone even at night, but there is no way I'd want my daughter doing that in her inner-city college environment which becomes a pretty gritty area at night (fine in the daytime).  And when my daughters travel alone I encourage them to be at their hostel before dark, and we have gone over many safety habits and street smarts.  These actions have all become so normal that we barely think about it now, so fear is not an emotion that we think about a lot. 

 

However, I do think I have those same concerns for my son.  When he was living in NYC right along Central Park, I really encouraged him not to walk or run in the park alone at night.  I always told him that if he was directly on the other side of the park and needed to get back home at night, he should take a taxi instead of doing the nice walk through the park.

 

So I do think the safety issues are felt for both men and women, and I think our precautions have become so normal that we can feel quite safe and generally not worry.

 

I do think the gun control issues have something to do with a fear of violence that both men and women have, but I think there's a whole lot more regarding that that I won't go into here.

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Wow. This jumped out at me from the article: When guns are a part of the (DV) equation, the risk of homicide skyrockets to more than five times higher than in instances where there are no weapons.

That is why the first thing the police ask when responding to a DV call is if there are guns or if the primary aggressor has a gun or access to a gun.

 

It's also why it's right on the paperwork for a DV restraining order (though they suck at actually removing the person's guns.)

 

Family violence is far more deadly when there are guns floating around.

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Do you walk alone on lonely wooded trails? Because there are a bunch of them in my town, and I love walking in the woods, but I do get nervous walking all alone out in the woods, even in my safe little suburb. So I don't go. :(

Every day.

 

I am a rape survivor and I've had a few experiences with people bothering me on the street. I am not willing however to live my life in a seriously restricted way for a false sense of security. I am no more at risk on the trails than I am at the city park with the kids or in a grocery store parking lot. Giving up things that make my life better is paying too high a price for a relatively minor risk. Personally I'd rather live my life to the fullest while I can because even if something bad were to happen, at least I would be living well before (and likely after).

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True. Being paralyzed by fear isn't healthy. But choosing to alter your behavior to improve your odds of being safe is not irrational. And I will quibble a bit and say you have been lucky if you haven't been attacked. Those who were were not going out and asking for it. They probably were just doing what you were doing but they were unlucky.

The the bolded- there is definitely a point at which it can, and for many people does, become irrational. For me, never walking in the woods alone is too high a price to pay. For me, it would be irrational because of how much I personally value walking alone in the woods. For others, it's no loss at all.

 

I can make myself safer from all sorts of risks if I never leave my home but isn't that in and of itself a health risk?

 

I'd be safer (and warmer!) in bed next to my husband at 6am than I am out on my runs (usually on a trail) but statistically, the most dangerous part of my morning workout is driving to the trailhead.

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