If I’m terrified for my own safety, what about women who don’t have the same support as me?
How bad must the fear be for marginalised minority women who don’t have a solid support system and may even have to deal with suffering domestic abuse alone?
Many women in the country are grappling with the fear of going out at night or going out alone, and balancing this with not just becoming a recluse.
I am no exception.
Even before violence against women became such a topical news issue, I was already wary of being outside alone when it’s dark. It’s not something I necessarily always talk to other people about, but I feel like it’s one of those things that many women and girls instinctively develop — just like we always text each other when we get home safely and tell other people when we’re taking a cab or public transport.
As it seems like life is gradually going back to ‘normal’ and people go back to work in offices, I’ve begun to go to London more after moving back in with my family to be closer during the pandemic. Unfortunately, this has come with a lot of fear and anxiety about being on the streets of London in the dark once more — to be honest, even just being back in London.
I wasn’t expecting how much this would affect me and not everyone around me has been that understanding or helpful. But I have also had support from many close to me who have listened to my worries and soothed them without making me feel silly, been there for me through more than a couple of meltdowns, and have even changed plans to avoid leaving me alone.
Recently, I was venting about how I hated feeling like this and how I hated that I even have to feel like this. Whilst venting, it occurred to me that, even though I was in a terrible mood and frame of mind, I was still being honest about my feelings to someone I trusted — someone who I knew would do their best to make me feel better.
At least I have support.
At least there are good transport links near where I live so I don’t normally have to walk very far.
At least I have devices that come with their own safety features.
I may be a minoritised ethnic woman, but at least I have many people around me who are extremely unlikely to be brushed off by the authorities if something were to happen to me.
I couldn’t — and still can’t — help but think about the many women in the country who don’t have even these ‘minimum’ support and safety measures, through no fault of their own. These are women who have just as much worth, potential, and right to safety as the rest of us, but society places them at an automatic disadvantage.
If I’m terrified, and I have a brilliant support system and the knowledge that I would get justice if anything bad were to hypothetically happen to me, what about the women who don’t have the same privileges as me?
It’s not a thought that is pleasant to think about in the slightest.
Part of my work with JAN Trust involves amplifying the voices of these marginalised minoritised women to make sure that their concerns receive the attention they deserve. My worries aren’t all minimised because others may ‘have it worse’, but I have to acknowledge that these people exist, and it’s part of my duty as a person in my position to try to make life better for them.