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Safe

Yesterday, I decided to walk from my friend’s apartment in downtown Dayton to the Fifth Third Field to watch the Dayton Dragons play. It’s no more than 4 blocks and worth the free parking. I’ve walked it many times with friends and by myself, every time feeling completely comfortable doing so.

Until yesterday.

“You’re too fine to be walking alone,” a guy on a bicycle muttered passing me while I was waiting for the light to change so I could cross the street.

I almost, almost pushed him off his bicycle. I immediately became very aware that I was a female walking by myself–a vulnerable target. I started looking over my shoulder as I walked. I grabbed my phone out of my pocket and held it. I was about to watch a baseball game and all I knew I wouldn’t enjoy it–I was just going to be mad.

I told my friends when I arrived to the game and there was a mixed reaction. After the game, one of my guy friends walked the 4 blocks back with me to my car. I was still mad.

It was only after I had showered and climbed into bed, did my mind begin to race. It went back almost 5 years to when I was almost attacked by my mental ill neighbor (story here). My mind went to Mollie Tibbetts, who was just minding her business running through town when she disappeared a couple weeks ago and was killed. I thought about all the times I go places by myself and how maybe I shouldn’t anymore.

How unfair is that? As a female, I shouldn’t think that maybe one of my male friends should accompany me to the grocery store, or when I fill up my car with gas, or when I want to go on a run through my neighborhood.

I like spending time alone. It’s time where I can process. It’s how I recharge. And yet, I can be a target. Our society has gotten to the point where women are constantly having to be on edge, looking out for each other in case something goes sideways. We learn as kids not to talk to strangers, to be aware of your surroundings and not put yourself in an unsafe situation. Kids, these days, now have to apply all of that online as well. My faith in humanity is shrinking minute by minute and then there are moments of redemption.

I’d like to think that I’m invincible. That I can give that don’t-eff-with-me look and it’ll scare people off, but I know that’s not reality. How am I supposed to enjoy life to the fullest, if I’m just always going to be on edge?

People, let’s do better!

I will be more aware of my surroundings. I’ll think twice before I go somewhere by myself. I’ll be on the lookout for other women who might need someone to walk with them. And guys, help your female friends out. Walk them to their cars, text them to make sure they got home safely, say something.

Let’s all look out for each other, not only in the physical sense of safety, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We were meant for community, we were meant to do life together, we were meant to look out for one another. Don’t skim on it, take it seriously and be there for one another.

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