A couple days before Sarah disappeared in the UK I was walking home, alone, a lot later than she did.
Living in Singapore, not once did I fear for my safety, not when I took the last metro home, not when I had to walk the last 2km (no more connecting MRT). My heart didn’t skip a beat when I heard footsteps behind me, I didn’t hold tightly onto my bag and start walking faster, we just exchange a “Hi” when he passed me. I was even listening to music and taking my time (I actually took a few pictures along the way).
As my friend C., a journalist when she lived in France, wrote in a post (loosely translated from her post in French). “[…] Here, I might have lost a few liberties but I gain on one account : I discovered that it is possible to not be bother walking down the street. It seems like trivial but it has been a revelation.[…] I don’t have to keep avoiding being bothered, so I can walk alone, at night, in a little dress and heels, in lost corners, without holding my bag, with guys hanging out outside, yet without getting bothered.[…] It was only by experiencing this “insouciance” that I realized how much I, like many friends, had insidiously internalized responsibility for the inappropriate attitudes of some, not all men of course, but still men. […] If there’s one thing I want to remember, it’s that it is possible. Testosterone cannot be used as an excuse indefinitely. The responsibility does not rest with women alone. Everything can be learned, everyone can be educated.”
A few years ago, an acquaintance (at this stage I don’t think friend is the proper term!) asked me if I regretted raising my daughter (and by extension both of my kids) in a bubble (she implied safety -between Singapore, China, Norway for the past 10+years) and after a few seconds of shock I replied well between what you called the bubble and the alternative of having a knot in my belly each time she step foot outside after dark, taking the metro and hopping in a taxi, the alternative of the bubble didn’t seem really appealing 🙄. She had a few more years of “Insouciance”, I also had a few more years of no worries and I could always warned her of the danger outside the “bubble” 😉
This was also quite a good article about what women have in their mind when they go out.
After reading the article, I remember one tangible thing I see in my family; my husband always fall asleep when he’s in a taxi (or when I drive… but there’s no danger there and I do too when he drives -not as often though) and it does somehow bother me because I, as a woman, never even thought for one second I could do it. I will never have the luxury of being able to fall asleep in a taxi, ever, no matter how tired I am.
PS If you read to this point… we are back onto light posts from tomorrow. Thanks for indulging me 🥰
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