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How Women Are Taught to Be Afraid (of Men)

Violence Overwhelmingly Affects Women. All Men Need to Help

From the day they're born, women are socialized to protect themselves from and be afraid of men. What can we do to change this?

In the United States today, women are by far more likely to be the victims of a violent or sexual-based crime than men. According to the National Organization for Women, 92 percent of rape or sexual assault victims in 2005 were female. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, nearly 233,000 women in the U.S. were raped or sexually assaulted in 2006, which is about 600 women a day. The Justice Department estimates that one in five women will experience a rape or attempted rape while they are at college. More than 1 million women are stalked in the U.S. annually, more than double the number of men who are stalked. Women are also more likely to be the victims of partner abuse and domestic violence.

Clearly, women have a multitude of reasons to be afraid. And this culture of fear is something every woman feels on a day-to-day basis. Sitting alone on public transit makes you a target. Walking home alone at night is not really a possibility for many women. Jogging by yourself can be terrifying. These are all things that men can and do take for granted.

The epidemic of violence against women also has real effects on how women are socialized and raised. Women are taught to be afraid of being alone, as well as to be wary of men. Women learn to carry rape whistles and pepper spray with them at all times. Women are taught (or many times forced) to not wear revealing clothing as it might "provoke" an unwanted sexual advance. A fear of men starts to become second nature.

In the above video, we break down how our culture today forces women to be afraid of men and facilitates victim blaming, as well as what we can do to start to change.

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Jessie Earl