Prevention Tuesday-A Word From RCASA’s Prevention Coordinator

In Prevention on March 13, 2012 at 5:00 am

When I think about it I can conjure up countless “tips to keep me safe” that my mother has shared with me throughout my lifetime.
“Don’t go out alone at night if you can avoid it.”
“If you have to be on campus at night, carry mace in your pocket where you can easily reach it.”
“At night walk quickly to your car and lock your doors immediately.”
It wasn’t just my mom though. I have heard similar sentiments echoed by friends, teachers and an abundance of public awareness campaigns. The worst part was that upon reflection I found that I had been incorporating all of these practices into my daily life and I began to wonder if my hypervigilance was unique. When I asked some of my female friends they were all able to rattle off a list of similar precautions that they take to keep them safe from the stranger lurking in the dark corners of campus and the mall parking lot.
There are certainly valid reasons to practice general safety rules, but it seems that in our society we place a lot of emphasis on what women can do to keep themselves safe and historically these tips emphasize how important it is to take extra safety precautions at night. Now I don’t know about you, but I am outraged by the idea that women should live in fear of the night and equally outraged by the restrictive nature of many of these methods that are supposed to keep us safe. This outrage is one of the reasons that I am very excited to be involved with the University of Mary Washington’s “Take Back the Night” event on April 11th.
The first recognized “Take Back the Night” event took place in 1975 in Philadelphia in response to the murder of a young woman who was stabbed by a stranger while walking home alone. Originally the events took place to protest ongoing violence against women within individual communities, but over time the event evolved into a social commentary much larger than violence against one woman in one community. The marches, rallies and vigils that have become associated with “Take Back the Night” have developed into platforms to raise awareness about the prevention of all violence against women. Chants of “Women Unite, Take Back the Night” and “Claim our bodies, claim our rights! Take a stand, take back the night!” make it clear that the purpose of these events are to ensure that everyone has the right to move freely within their communities without fear.
I for one think that women have been afraid of the dark for too long so I will be at “Take Back the Night” making a stand against sexual violence and all violence against women on April 11th. I hope to see you there!
UMW’s “Take Back the Night” event will take place on April 11th beginning at 7:30 PM. Those interested in participating in the planned march, rally and vigil should meet at the Anderson Center at this time. If you have any questions about the event feel free to contact me, Kristin Harding at prevention@rcasa.org

  1. I definitely have my own little “safety precautions” but I never thought of them in the same “light” as you put it.

    We don’t have a college in town but good luck to you and your event! I hope you have a fantastic turnout.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! This topic is difficult for anyone to hear, but we are in a good area and the community is very supportive. We appreciate your support as well.

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