Are You Afraid?

June 22, 2022

The issue of personal safety is always a difficult one to manage.

Of course, we all have the right to prioritise our comfort and wellbeing, crossing the street, avoiding unlit areas and staying in groups when possible, makes good sense, for all people.

Because guess what, even as a guy, sometimes I get scared walking late too.

It’s not these basic common sense actions that I have a problem with; but rather the incessant demands that men are, as a class, dangerous and to be treated as criminals by default.

We’ve all seen the fear mongering metaphors that are reached for, ‘well you wouldn’t go swimming with sharks, even if most are safe?!’

And that’s true.

Except men are not sharks, they are human beings with human hearts. And to treat a human being as a dangerous animal is cruel, unwarranted and dehumanising.

What's more, avoiding men is not the same as avoiding swimming with sharks.

As swimming with sharks is not a day to day necessity of life – whereas men are.

Men are our family and friends, our teachers, students and our children. To wall them off as vicious animals, is also to wall off some the best and kindest people you could ever know.

Yes. To avoid danger, is also to avoid love. To avoid fear, is also to avoid kindness and friendship.

Above all I ask people to simply be mindful of how their actions around men might make them feel, and how the dehumanising words that compare them to deadly animals, can impact their mental health too.

There is a better, more measured and more responsible conversation to be had about personal safety, that doesn’t alienate or vilify, or leave people behind.

Can we have it now?

ONS, Violent Crime UK

Images Vadim Bogulov, Fawazlul Rizqi, Donny Jiang, Carlos Tw, Arthur Chauvineau.

Awesome Lyme disease tick artwork by – Kristina Malone


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