I worry about this. Probably a little more than the average person because I used to work for a sexual assault centre, plus I’m often alone.
Like another poster mentioned, I was once horsing around with a guy who was only a few inches taller than I am, and kind of lanky, and I just couldn’t budge him. That really brought it home to me. I mean, I would like to think if attacked, I would go crazy and use every dirty trick in the book, but who really knows? I might freeze up and do nothing at all, or fight back but be completely ineffective.
I don’t worry about being raped alone, mostly I worry about being tortured, or penetrated in a way that causes lasting injury (I’ve read that a number of rapes involve the use of objects). I worry about being murdered, or god forbid, being helpless to protect my child or prevent my child from being raped as well.
If I were a man, I wouldn’t have that kind of underlying worry that I may be tortured, raped, and maimed. Although men are at risk for violence, I don’t think the type of violence they may face is as intimate as what women may experience.
I am careful when I’m out. I’m careful when I’m home. It doesn’t run my life, but it is an undercurrent… like, when I’m taking the garbage out at night, I am aware that strangers may equal danger… or if I’m out drinking, it’s safer to buy beer and keep my thumb over the lid than to buy mixed drinks… or if I’m being leered at by someone it may not be harmless… or if someone unexpectedly knocks on my door, I should check the peephole first.
It is true that we’re more likely to be harmed by someone we know, but it’s equally important to be aware while out in the world, too, because it only takes once.