Friday, April 4, 2008

The Gift of Fear

By Gavin de Becker

I imagine this conversation after a stranger is told no by a woman he has approached:

Man: What a bitch. What's your problem, lady? I was just trying to offer a little help to a pretty woman. What are you so paranoid about?

Woman: You're right. I shouldn't be wary. I'm overreacting about nothing. I mean, just because a man makes an unsolicited and persistent approach in an underground parking lot in a society where crimes against women have risen four times faster than the general crime rate, and three out of four women will suffer a violent crime; and just because I've personally heard horror stories from every female friend I've ever had; and just because I have to consider where I park, where I walk, whom I talk to, and whom I date in the context of whether someone will kill me or rape me or scare me half to death; and just because several times a week someone makes an inappropriate remark, stares at me, harasses me, follows me or drives alonside my care pacing me; and just because I have to deal with the apartment manager who gives me the creeps for reasons I haven't figure out, yet I can tell by the way he looks at me that given an opportunity he'd do something that would get us both on the evening news; and just because these are life-and-death issues most men know nothing about so that I'm made to feel foolish for being cautious even though I live at the center of a swirl of possible hazards doesn't mean a woman should be wary of a stranger who ignores the word "no." [original emphasis]

...

At core, men are afraid women will laugh at them, while at core, women are afraid men will kill them.

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