Well you know what? Fuck that. Here's some real statistics.
I'm not going to list them all but the general idea is this:
Most sexual assaults are committed by someone close to the victim.
I should have told my boyfriend, that statistically speaking, I was more likely to be raped lying next to him than on the late night walk I was planning...
This idea that it is mainly strangers that sexually assault women is incredibly damaging and endangers all of us. The more we speak up about sexual assault and abuse within families and romantic relationships the easier it will be for victims to step forward and get help. As long as we point the finger at shadows in the dark the reality of sexual violence will not come to light.
I tried to explain this to a friend of mine and she immediately mentioned a rape on our local hiking trail. Yes, rape by strangers happens. Yes, that rape got a lot of media time. But really, incestuous assault happens every fucking day in our town. People get coerced by their romantic partners and though they feel horrible after giving in when their requests for their partner to stop are ignored, they don't realize that this was assault, because rape only happens to women who walk alone at night.
I get why we believe this as a community. It gives us a false sense of control to believe these things. It makes us feel that our friends, family members and partners won't be assaulted -if they just follow the safety rules. But statistics say otherwise and burying our heads in the media-induced, culturally-accepted sand of ignorance is putting our love ones at risk and discouraging women and girls from coming forward.
sexual assault need to be addressed by our community based on frequency of incident. No matter how
uncomfortable it makes us. Our silence around the most common types of sexual assault is the
perfect set up for perpetrators to continue without consequence. This needs to stop.
So, yes I walk alone at night. Yes, I will let my friend know which hotel I'm staying at. It's not up to me to police my (what should be normal) behaviour (walking at night by myself) to appease my friend's and family's fears. I'm going to be straight-up with you all. You may mean well, but you are perpetuating a false (and harmful) idea around sexual assault and abuse. Instead let your loved ones know that if they ever feel that their physical/sexual boundaries are not being respected by ANYONE, that you are there to listen and offer support in whatever way they need it.
Let's face it:
Statistically speaking: I'm less likely to be sexually assaulted walking home by myself than letting a male I know very well walk with me.
That is truly scary.