This thought experiment has been really interesting to reflect on. While I am supportive of the men’s movement and I am aware that men are not always safe either, and I always like to see anything like this accompanied with an equivalent relating to the other gender, and I’m not keen on anything that risks creating more divisiveness … this particular question really taps into my experience as a woman and taps into a bit of a raw nerve (as it seems to be doing for many). I’m racking my brains to think of a time when I felt my safety under threat from a female (not counting school bullying/assault, which always came from females it has to be said). Not once in almost 40 years, and that includes travelling around solo with my horse in tow, backpacking solo around the world and living in other countries. Not once.
The four serious occasions of full-blown fear have all been caused by males (all strangers to me, except on one occasion at night when one of the group of guys full-blown chasing us realised once they had cornered us that my friend and I knew him, which saved us from a very bad predicament – probably because he knew we knew where to find him, not because he cared about what happened to us).
And yet, that said, I love and appreciate men. I don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. And I really feel for the men who are kind and caring who are tarred with the same brush as men who perpetrate – I cannot imagine what that must be like.
And the other awareness is that while I don’t feel guarded around women, that’s not to say it wouldn’t be possible for a woman to perpetrate violence against me. I probably wouldn’t see it coming because I’m entrained to not expect it. Just as I’m entrained to be cautious about men. That, right there, is interesting in itself.
However, what’s really sitting with me at the moment is the number of times I’ve not gone to sit solo on the beach on a gorgeous summer’s night on the full moon, especially over the four years when I lived just 200 metres from the beach. How ridiculous it sounds to drive your car 200 metres to the beach so you can stay close to it in case you need to jump back in and lock the doors – scanning the beach, the walking track and the roads in the low light for anyone walking nearby. Nothing carefree or relaxing about that. Any wonder that it often felt like too much trouble. Just trying to imagine what it would feel like to just do it in a carefree way, it warps my brain. I would love to have that experience, even if just once. (And of course, there’s a long list of other examples in my life that I would prefer to be more carefree about.)
It would be beyond awesome to have Harry Potter’s invisible cloak – for both genders! Just sayin’ …