Women’s Fear of Men

11Aug06

Fear of male sexual violence is deeply ingrained in the psyche of women. Women partake in rape-avoidance strategy behaviour, in their everyday lives. We get taxis to avoid walking home on our own, we walk the long route home, we walk home in groups, we get men to escort us home, we are chaperoned from place to place by our parents, we get the women’s bus, we keep an eye on our drinks to avoid spiking, we are told to cover up, we carry a personal alarm, we never go out without our mobiles…

The way we relate to space and time is informed by our fear of men. We associate certain spaces, such as parks and shortcuts, with the risk of being attacked. When it comes to night and gets dark, certain spaces become risk-associated spaces we avoid, to avoid being attacked by a man.

This risk-minimization behaviour has become a part of our lives without much questioning of what we are avoiding – that is male sexual violence. In a civil society, women should be able to walk home, on their own, without fear and risk of being attacked by a man. This fear is constricting our mobility and we need to make a stand.

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2 Responses to “Women’s Fear of Men”

  1. 1 Andrew

    One should be ashamed to be a man… TOo many of us that think we aren’t a part of the problem, want merely to be recognized as the good guys, but what have we done and what are we going to do to stand up against this crap, even when it means getting in the line of fire. I appreciate the tremendous courage of the sisters who over the years have taken this to the streets, the courts and everywhere, but our record as men is simply inexcusable. I am determined that mine, for one, will be different.

  2. A really good related article from Claire McGowan at the F-Word on “The Fear Factor”.

    Claire McGowan explains how well-meaning Government and media campaigns to protect women could be focussing on the wrong issues. Preventing male violence, she argues, can not and should not be solved by women living in a state of terror, complying with unofficial curfews or restricting their own freedom.


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