Chat with the Chief: Fearful footing

I’m afraid to walk at night by myself.

Winter is approaching and darkness consumes the sky earlier and earlier every day, but my walk home remains the same length. The walk never bothered me before, but I absolutely refuse to endure the mile-and-a-half trek in the dark by myself. And honestly, I shouldn’t be as afraid as I am to do so.

It’s not that I don’t think Ferris has a safe campus, because generally speaking, I do. I feel comfortable reporting crime to Ferris Department of Public Safety and campus is decently lit. It’s not because I think Ferris is incredibly dangerous. It’s because crime is impossible to avoid altogether, and with the prevalence of harassment and physical attacks on women within the past few years, I am increasingly skeptical of my overall safety in public.

It’s because sometimes I call a friend when I’m walking alone at night, just so I have a witness in case someone tries to attack me.
It’s because I have friends who do the same.

It’s because once, I unintentionally wore a shirt that was a little low-cut and I was repeatedly sexually harassed in my class, and I felt obligated to only wear hoodies to that class for the rest of the semester.

It’s because I’ve had to block men on social media because I dodged their advances and they threatened to harm me as a result.

It’s because, despite how much I enjoy my alone time, I refuse to be in my office or the library by myself because I’m afraid someone will see that I’m alone and take advantage of it.

It’s because I’m surprisingly fortunate, as the attacks against me have only been verbal and not physical, but I can’t say the same for so many of my loved ones.

I’m disgusted that violence against women continues to be such a common occurrence. I’m sick and tired of hearing new cases every day of women being harmed because they are uninterested in someone or they’re walking alone or they’re simply existing in peace, and someone wants to interfere with that.

There is absolutely no reason for being crude and violent towards anyone. The fact that anyone, especially grown adults, lack common sense regarding consent, respect and basic human decency makes me genuinely concerned for the state of our society.

It’s time for us, as a society, to do better. If someone says no, they mean it. If someone doesn’t explicitly say yes, you need to ask them if what you’re doing is okay. If someone rejects you, let it go.

I just want to be able to enjoy my walk home without constantly turning around to make sure I’m not being followed. I’m tired of living in fear.