For sure

It’s conventional wisdom. It’s common sense. It’s what everyone knows. It’s for sure. It’s obvious. It’s dangerous for women to walk around alone, especially after dark or especially in places like parks where there aren’t a lot of people around. Imagine how dangerous it is to go into a park where there aren’t a lot of people around after dark!

It’s common sense, and it’s bullshit.

I’ve been treating it like bullshit my whole life, and I’ve been right to do so.

Think about it. Do rapists and thieves hang around in parks hoping someone will fall into their trap? Are parks after dark crawling with hopeful rapists and thieves, wasting their time while all the victims stay away?

Of course they’re not.

Beware of conventional wisdom. Beware of what you think you know if you’ve never for a second actually thought about it. Check your bromides.



  1. says

    It’s interesting how the “conventional wisdom” always starts flowing after an incident, and how it almost always takes the victim to task for not being more mindful of their own security. The only responsibility for an attack/assault lies with the attacker/assaulter. When will we learn this as a society? Will we ever?

  2. permanentwiltingpoint says

    Well, my uncle’s former girlfriend got assaulted by some drunk teenagers while crossing a graveyard at night, and only got away with no more than a rush of adrenaline because she knew a few things about self defense. They weren’t waiting for her, but found her passing by quite welcome. So it does happen, but so, of course, do plane crashs.

    It’s were anecdotes like these are used to forge a narrative of “women need male protectors” where it gets bullshitty.

  3. johnthedrunkard says

    Rather like telling dowry-extortion victims in India to be careful with matches.

    The Just World fallacy always wants the danger to be random, or fixed in an avoidable situation. I believe that current wisdom demonstrates that sexual violence and harassment are vastly more likely to come from acquaintances and colleagues.

  4. Kevin Kehres says

    Well, I hope you’re not advocating deliberately not being mindful of your surroundings. According to the FBI, 43% of all robberies are committed on the street (as opposed to a robbery of a bank, a store, in the home, etc.). That means that those are indeed crimes of opportunity.

    No, I don’t think people are lying in wait — but you’d be pretty foolish to not see that there are a lot of people who will take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself.

    I’ve traveled the world; mostly solo. And I’m ALWAYS aware of where I am, who is near me, where avenues of assistance or escape might be. Day or night. I’ve had a couple of instances of being in the “wrong place at the wrong time”-most recently in Barcelona. But I’ve avoided harm because I was sensible and alert. I suggest you do likewise. Muggers just LOVE people who think “it can’t happen to me”.

  5. screechymonkey says

    Gee, I don’t know, it seems like such simple advice to follow:

    Don’t walk anywhere after dark. Also, don’t drive anywhere if it means you have to park in a garage or car park, or anywhere that isn’t right beside your destination, which pretty much rules out anywhere if you live in a large city. I mean, you can still go out at night, as long as you have a (preferably male) protector with you. Of course, don’t allow yourself to be alone with anyone you don’t trust. And don’t drink alcohol.

    Easy peasy. Male privilege? Never heard of it.

  6. says

    … and don’t hang out with relatives. Don’t go out with friends. Don’t allow them into your space. Better still, don’t have parents or cousins or neighbours or friends; they’re much more likely to rape you than a random stranger on the street.

    And don’t stay home alone. Nor with family. But don’t go out, either. Don’t go to parties; don’t go out with your boyfriend, don’t go to the pub. Never visit the neighbours.

    Park your car in the handicapped spot; it’s the closest to a door. Drive around the parking lot for as long as you need to until the handicapped spot is open. Never park in an underground parking facility.

    And whatever you do, don’t be remotely attractive. Or female. Or gay.

    That should just about cover it.

  7. Celegans says

    It’s conventional wisdom. It’s common sense. It’s what everyone knows. It’s for sure. It’s obvious. It’s dangerous for women to walk around alone, especially after dark or especially in places like parks where there aren’t a lot of people around.

    Not women, anyone. Of course people have different levels of risk acceptance, and of course attacks are rare, but if they happen when you are alone at night in a lonely place, the results are likely to be worse. As an aside, my friend Costas has been riding powerful motorcycles for 30 years and never worn a helmet. He thinks they look stupid. He has never had so much as a scratch. See? Helmets are useless, just conventional wisdom. A bromide.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>