OPINION: Women should not have to face danger everywhere they go


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Many women choose to carry around protective devices on their key chains like pepper spray or tasers.

A few nights ago at work, I was about to take out the trash, but my coworker stopped me and asked if I could leave it inside because it could be dangerous going out to the dumpster at night. This is something we both have to take into account as women. We started discussing the safety precautions we take that our mothers taught us. These precautions feel normal to us at this point in life, all things men are completely oblivious to.

We found that we do the exact same things, like holding our pepper spray as we make our way to our car, checking under our car before we get in, locking the door instantly and checking the back seat before we buckle up. These are practices all women partake in because none of us feel safe. 

When news got out about the tragedy of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, who disappeared on her walk home in London on March 3, it reminded women of the dangers that arise as a byproduct of their sex.

I interviewed St. Edward’s students and faculty about this topic, asking them about their own experiences and fears of being a woman. These were their responses:


“Before I owned a car, when I was in college and grad school, I took mass transit to work and to campus and was sometimes scared in the evenings or at night.  I knew where friends lived along my route home and where the convenience stores were so I could seek company if I needed to. Nowadays, I just walk around in my neighborhood or the nearby park.  But I always have my 70-pound dog with me so she is my ‘”security detail.’”  Once, when she was recovering from a procedure and I walked by myself, I was more nervous. I was a bit angry at myself for that, but there it was”

  • Dr. Mary Rist, head of the Department of Literature, Writing, and Rhetoric at St. Edward’s.


“The biggest thing I find myself doing is looking back whenever I’m walking somewhere around town, even if I’m with a group of people ,it’s just a habit to be hyper aware of my surroundings. I still remember the times I’ve been catcalled, yelled at, called names ranging from “sweetheart” to even “dyke.”  Especially now that I present more androgynously than I used to as a teenager, it feels weird to still exist in that realm of scared femininity. I think that never goes away.”

  • Ava Pfeiffer, writing & rhetoric senior at St. Edward’s.


“One thing I always do when I’m out in public alone is that I constantly look back and all around me to make sure the coast is clear. I do this out of fear that someone will sneak up on me and either rob, kidnap and/or sexually assault me. Just recently, my roommate was catcalled by an older man who drove past her — and the scary part is that it was right outside our apartment building in the parking lot. Ever since, she has been super paranoid that someone is watching her. We also make sure to carry some sort of protection with us whether that be pepper spray and/or a taser.”

  • Adriana Villafranco, psychology sophomore St. Edward’s.


“Being a woman in today’s society requires mental preparation, even before doing the simplest of tasks, such as going to get gas or grabbing lunch with friends or family. I have to make sure that what I’m wearing is not putting me at risk of being harassed in any way. As a runner, I have to make sure to schedule my runs to be in a safe environment and mentally compose myself, as I might get cat called or verbally harassed, which should not be the case, but it is.”

  • Annie Castillo, biology freshman at St. Edward’s.


Safety is an important subject to talk about  amongst women,  although it’s sad that we have to think about potential dangers, especially during Women’s History Month, it’s crucial that all women are alert and cautious when they go out to avoid potentially fatal situations.

Hearing stories like Sarah Everard’s shines a light on the danger women face and can hopefully remind men to look out for us and help us feel more comfortable in public.