The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Editorial: Women should not have to live in fear

Amber Davis/The Collegian

Pepper spray keychains fastened to bags, tasers clutched in hand and handguns tucked into nightstands are all common items many women globally keep for self-defense, but they shouldn’t have to.

Nationwide, 81% of women reportedly experience sexual harassment in their life, and one in four undergraduate women report experiencing sexual misconduct on college campuses, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Why do so many women in universities experience this if there are supposedly safety measures on campus to prevent these traumatic events from happening?

A woman should not have to accessorize with self-defense weapons when they want to take a walk. But the reality is scary, and according to statistics collected by Stop Street Harassment, 65% of women endured harassment in public spaces.

Women have been vocal about the prevalence and severity of these issues for years, but statistics continue to climb the charts despite the efforts.

Sarah Everard, last seen walking to her home in London, went missing March 3. Her kidnapper and murderer was 48-year-old police officer Wayne Couzens. The case serves as a chilling reminder of the dangers women face, unprovoked and unnecessarily.

In the wake of victim-blaming culture, many women feel their struggles are invalidated.

“Don’t dress that way. You’re asking for attention.”

“Don’t walk alone, and you’ll be safe.”

“Just don’t take your eyes off of your drink.”

Victims of sexual abuse and harassment should never feel responsible for their trauma, yet these common phrases make them feel that way.

There is a misconception that women’s self-defense weapons make them feel safer.

When she was 16 years old, Cyntonia Brown was sentenced to 51 years in prison for shooting her trafficker in self-defense.

And Brown is not alone. As many as 90% of women serving a murder sentence endured domestic violence by their victims, according to statistics reported by women’s advocacy group the Purple Berets.

Emphasizing educating young people on the consequences of sexual harassment and misconduct would be a step in the right direction. Public school systems should not continue ignoring the rampant issues on campuses from an early age. 

How many more victims of suicide due to sexual exploitation and harassment will it take before schools start caring?

Stories like Amanda Todd’s have circulated, yet the education system doesn’t do much to educate students on the ramifications of these actions.

Over 40% of U.S. colleges and universities have conducted no investigations regarding sexual assaults on campuses, according to USA Today. As long as the perpetrators continue to get away with their crimes, what’s keeping them from stopping?

A woman should feel safe to walk back to her car from class without gripping a bottle of pepper spray. Women should feel safe to take a walk and get a breath of fresh air without having to look over their shoulders in fear every couple of seconds.

Perpetrators need to be held accountable, and victims need to be heard without fear of judgment. 

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