Opinion

Stop Telling Us to “Be Careful”

Opinion of: LILLY MOFFETT

A look into how life is a little different for girls

When I was younger, my mom always reminded me to be careful. Be careful crossing the street. Be careful riding your bike. Be careful walking the dog.
Today, she still has to remind me to be careful. Be careful crossing the parking lot while shopping at night. Be careful when sitting in the car alone; be sure to lock your doors. And most recently, be careful when pumping gas.
I have seen the stories before: women getting their wallets and purses swiped from the front seats of their cars, and people getting their cars stolen while their backs are turned to the gas pump. But all the stories I had seen happened in other states, far from the East Lyme bubble. I never thought it could happen here. Until it did.
On Sept. 29, while a car owner was pumping gas on Flanders Road and a passenger was in the car, a couple drove away with the car and threatened the passenger a knife. The passenger was able to get away.
When I was younger, I never considered how, as you get older, there is so much more to be careful of. And as a female, I feel the list grows even longer.
Over the past couple years, I have watched the #MeToo movement grow, and as I have seen the number of women stepping forward exponentially grow, accusing their perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment, I realized something like that can also happen to me too.
In a 2017 Quinnipiac University National Poll, 60 percent of U.S. women said they have been sexually harassed before, compared to just 20 percent of men. Over three times as many women have suffered because of their gender, and it’s not fair.
It’s not fair that women are the ones who are told to “be careful.” Why does it seem that too often when a woman is attacked, the blame is put on her? Why does it seem that not often enough men are told to stop harming and targeting women?
As I was reading about some of the #MeToo movement news articles, several even included safety tips for women. Don’t talk on your phone when walking alone. Look in the back of your car before getting in. Don’t park in a parking garage at night. Whisper your home address when picking up medications from the pharmacist so other people in line don’t hear it. Always close your garage door before you go inside. Bring your drink everywhere. The list goes on and on.
Yes, I think it’s important that girls know how to stay safe, and I know articles include these for the best interest of readers, but I don’t think it’s fair that girls are the ones who always have to take the extra step for their safety. I feel boys need to be respectful enough of others so girls don’t need to fear for their safety every time they go out.
I hope that with the momentum of the #MeToo movement that I will be able to witness a shift in how women live their lives. And I want to see it soon. Until then, I will just have to be a little more careful.

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