Women: How scared are you to walk around on your own?

On another site, a lot of women were saying that they feel this fear that comes with being a woman in our culture. That men don’t know what it’s like to check the backseat of the car for rapists or to carry your keys in your hand like a weapon. And in another thread, another doper said something like, “You think a lone drunk woman is safe walking around the street?”

Speaking as a physically tiny female, I’ve never felt afraid because I’m a woman. I’ve been sexually assaulted by a stranger once, but I do feel that the fears of abduction and killings are kind of overblown. In general, the world is a fairly okay place for the most part. I try to be aware–if I’m in a place that seems oogy I’ll try to go with someone. Living in Manhattan as I do, there’s almost no neighborhood that I’ve been in where I didn’t feel totally safe, even after dark. Though let’s face it, is it ever really dark in NYC?

I don’t think I court danger or anything. I guess mainly the thing I on’t understand is the attitude. Why be afraid? Sure on occasion you see the weirdo or creep who seems off, but mostly things are okay, IMO.

I am not female, but in the Middle East (Arabian Gulf) it is quite common to see women out walking alone at night. There is a 3km running track around a local park where my wife and I (and sometimes her alone) would walk occasionally between 1am and 4am when it was cool out. No worries at all. We’ve stayed in a few hotels in the region that have no locks on the doors and never felt unsafe.

Of course it is not America.

The only thing I’m scared of is the traffic. Bad driving is an equal opportunity menace.

I’ve always carried myself with a defensive posture. I’m now 52 but all my life I’ve done that.

When I was a young sprog, my dad taught me where to kick a man where it hurts. I’ve never had to use it, but it gave me a self-awareness. And I always carry my keys in the defense mode. Better safe than sorry, I suppose.

I’m nearly 5’10" and still very spry for my age. But I’m always prepared for whatever comes my way. I’m not a fearful lady, just aware. I’ve never had anyone try anything with me, perhaps it’s the “Don’t mess with me aura!” I give off? Or the fact that I’ve worked with horses all my life? I just don’t let anything intimidate me.

I never do the keys thing. Mostly because, well…I have a lot of other stuff to carry. Plus it seems like overkill. There’s always people around where I live.

Depends on where I am, I suppose. In certain situations I’m more alert than in others, but I’ve never been actively scared about walking around by myself. (Well, there was this one time, in Chicago, but I think it was justified - it was a bad neighborhood.)

I live in a pretty safe neighborhood (burbs). But I am very, very cautious. Always on high alert when alone after dark. Prefer to go outside with my 80-lb dog. Am always on edge when I know there is a man nearby.

I do know that chances of anything happening to me are low. But at 100 pounds, even though I am strong and fit for my size, I always feel keenly aware that most adult humans have a physical advantage over me.

Eh. I was raised in the bad end of town and never knew it. I think a lot of this fear comes down to a frame of reference. If a woman grows up in a quiet little suburb, I can see how a big city would seem threatening instead of just “colorful”.

However, there’s a huge difference between being aware and cowering in fear of shadows. I might look around me on the way through a darkened area, but I’m not crouching down to peek under the car like the vagina-mags inevitably suggest in their lists of “safety tips”. I figure I’ll risk the billion to one chance that there is a slavering, knife-weilding serial killer lurking beneath my car if it means I can skip the whole graceless crouch to the ground from fifteen feet away thing. There are just some things you just have to refuse to be afraid of–otherwise how would you ever find time to do anything else?

Depends where I am. I was striding down the street the other day a little past midnight and hit an underpass when I marveled at how lucky I was that I felt so safe at night. Then I saw a shadow and practically shrieked. So maybe I overestimate my bravery a little.

I think for me being out in a totally rural place might be scarier. In the city it’s never really dark or quiet so it’s not like you’re ever alone. I visited a friend up in a totally rural area a few years back and I kept marveling at how this is totally the kind of place a serial killer could murder you without anyone realizing right away.

In my current neighborhood, I walk to the gym most mornings at around 5:30ish am. So it is dark. I return home sometimes from work (or gym), walking, when it is dark. In this neighborhood, and since I’ve had a car (4 years), I go to clubs by myself. I’m not afraid.

I’m afraid of many many things… but a long time ago I stopped being afraid of just walking somewhere from point A to point B. I look both sides of the street, I don’t get into strange people’s cars, in general I don’t talk to strangers. These are things taught to me when I was a child. They carry over.

Like Hilarity said, I’m more afraid of traffic and drunk people.

This whole “under the car” scenario has always struck me as bogus. Do you realize how much effort it would take to slither under my Buick Century? What about clothing getting all tangled up in the under-gadgets down there? What about the road rash from sliding across the asphalt? The dude would have to be awfully skinny, and at my 200 plus pounds, I could stomp the shit out of him before he could clamber out and get to his feet.

Maybe, it’d be easier for the killer if it was a huge SUV. But then, his hiding place would be pretty obvious to everyone.

This “safety tip” just screams urban legend to me. Especially the maniac slicing the woman’s achilles tendon part. Feminine foot disfiguring is a theme that shows up in folklore from Cinderella to “Oh my god! I twisted my ankle and can’t run from the monster!” in old episodes of Doctor Who.

Not scared at all, because A) I live in a very safe town and B) I take some common-sense precautions.

When I lived in a somewhat rougher area, I was slightly more cautious, but still not afraid - if only because ‘stranger grabbing you off the street’ type crime is really extremely rare, and it really doesn’t take much to be able to look after yourself.

I have extremely little patience for the quivering flowers who always need a big strong man to walk them to their car or whatever. Grow up, girls, and take some responsibility for your own safety.

I am a big, sturdy-looking woman and carry myself with confidence (thanks to my black belt in Tracy’s Kenpo) so I am not really in fear of being abducted or assaulted.

I’d probably be afraid of being pick-pocketed but you can be pick-pocketed no matter who you’re with. And, I am ready and willing to give up all of my possessions with no fight.

The only un-safe and slightly scary situation I’ve ever been in was when I was a teen and worked in a restaurant late at night. We parked in a well-lit parking garage but I often found myself leaving alone, with no other cars in the garage. I just made sure I parked close to the elevator, and kept my keys in my fist, just in case.

Someone hiding under my car may be an urban legend but it really is no trouble to take a quick peek and to keep your keys handy.

I don’t like to anymore. I’ve been mugged twice. I remember being less cautious before those.

Doesn’t faze me at all. My neighborhood could possibly be described as “bad” by someone who’d led a pretty sheltered life, but really it’s perfect, just urban enough to never be deserted.

It depends on where I am. My neighborhood is no problem; I often go for evening walks alone. When I was in college, I would have considered it fairly stupid to walk alone at night; I was often accosted during the day.

I also live in Manhattan and I’ve never felt unsafe here. Well, I’ve never felt unsafe anywhere, but especially here, because there are always people and cars around.

I walk alone at night all the time. On main, well-lit streets I’m typically fine. When I was in college, I’d try to stick to those as much as I could. I mostly avoided back streets because of a rash of muggings that had happened in those areas (one of which happened to someone I knew personally). Now, I just walk briskly, try to keep at least one hand free, and look like I know where I’m going.

Though when LDS members approached me on the street one night, I damn near pissed my pants. I’m still baffled as to why the hell they thought that would be a good idea.

They probably had to report their numbers that night or the next day and needed some quick contacts. I speak from experience. I knocked on people’s doors after dark!