Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our World?
It’s really weird explaining to people about Reclaim The Night and why it’s important. You
can never really explain to people properly in a way that will make as much sense (and
impact) on them as it does you, why a particular issue means so much to you. I’m afraid of the
dark. It really scares me walking on my own at night; I’m angry about this because I’ll wax
lyrical ’till the cows come home about the importance of independence and not letting the
world get the better of you, but if it’s past 8pm I really don’t want to be out on my own.
All this struck me as I was walking to the bus station earlier in the week, to pick up my
friend and walk her back to college. This is a regular laugh to those who know me – I won’t
let my friends walk anywhere on their own at night. I just don’t think it’s safe, and I feel
responsible for them, or at least I’m sure I’d feel responsible if something happened to them
because I’d been too lazy to accompany them. This system does, of course, pose a problem, in
that I always end up walking either there or back on my own. It seems really ironic to me now
that in order for someone to be safe, someone must first be in danger.
I’ve heard that men are most likely to attack women they find offensive: unattractive,
annoying, unfeminine. Of course, I’ve also heard that ethnic minorities, whites, men, women,
heterosexuals, homosexuals, are each the single most likely group to get attacked, but I
guess it’s whatever rings true in your own head. I worry that that’s the excuse someone will
use against me. I worry that will be the reason why there’s another statistic in Cambridge,
and I worry that I’ll be sitting around wishing that I’d thought more about the way I came
across THAT NIGHT because I got attacked, because I deserved to be, because me being me is
offensive and anybody’s allowed to show their offence by harassing me on the streets of my
home. I live here too. I shouldn’t have to be afraid, and I shouldn’t have to be making sure I
femm up my hair to walk across town in because it makes me look more feminine. How fast can I
dial 999? What if my battery went dead, what if there was no signal? What if I couldn’t get to
my phone, what if all the safe streets I make sure I keep to suddenly get deserted and what if
the street light goes off or there’s some noise somewhere and I don’t hear someone behind me
and what if I always end up saying what if?
I want my night back, and I want everyone to reclaim it, for me, for themselves, and for
all the statistics that we don’t even know about because we’re too busy remembering not to
look offensive and never to smile at strangers. RTN’s not forever and it’s not going to change
the majority of peoples’ actions in the long run, but it’s a good start. I just hope someone
comes with me to the bus station next time.