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Living Among Men

Living Among Men

    I can’t imagine being a woman living among men. It sounds horrible. For starters, there’s a stat that 20% of women in college will be sexually assaulted. Apparently it is dangerous for women to be around men … in general.

    Contrast that with being a guy. When I encounter a dangerous situation, my first thought is to feel sorry for my future attacker. I’m smallish, so I calculate that once I get him down I’ll have to finish the job so he doesn’t get up again. I feel sorry for my would-be attacker even before I kill him in my imagination.

    I didn’t say I manage risk well. I’m just saying I don’t feel as if I am in physical danger from other humans, at least in normal situations. That’s just one advantage of being a guy.

    As a man, I have no memory of ever being afraid just because I was alone and in the wrong place. And I lived in a high-crime area in San Francisco for years. I figured my worst-case scenario was getting mugged and losing my decoy wallet and the $20 I kept in it. But I only got mugged on the street once. And my apartment only got ransacked and robbed once. My Plymouth Colt, parked on the street, was less lucky, losing its driver-side window and stereo three times. It was that sort of neighborhood. Still, I never felt I was in great danger. I can’t imagine how the women living in that neighborhood felt. That must have been scary.

    I belong to a gym, and I noticed that men are able to look up, and look around, and generally enjoy the visual totality of the room they are in. But women have to look down, or at a fixed spot, to avoid eye contact with the men in the gym. I assume any show of friendliness results in unwanted conversations and a ruined workout. If I were a woman, I would never go to a gym if I could not make eye contact with the other people. What must that be like? I can’t even imagine.

    If I were a woman, I would feel like a victim, or potential victim, 24-hours a day. I guess people can get used to anything, but I’m glad that isn’t on my list of things to worry about.

    My question for the men: Do you ever feel in physical danger from other people?

    My question for women: How often are you afraid of danger (from men) during a normal day?

    Update: On a related topic, I favor legal gun ownership as a psychological defense against the health stress caused by the bullies, sexual offenders, and psychos living among us. I acknowledge the trade-offs and risks of legal gun ownership and regret every unnecessary gun casualty. But on the plus side, I never want to feel afraid of anyone whose address I can find. That country doesn’t work for me.

    I wonder what the rate of bullying is in England compared to America. If we don’t know that difference, and why, then the math of gun control is not yet complete. Bullying ruins lives too. I’m not saying that should be the single biggest factor in gun control, but without that data, how can you form a complete opinion?

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