Walking alone at night after a meeting with friends. Riding a subway to the office early in the morning. Going for a jog on a sunny afternoon. All of these are instances in which women can become victimized.
Aziz Ansari almost perfectly captures the very common experience of a woman walking alone at night in the episode Ladies and Gentlemen on his show Master of None. In the episode, a woman is followed and harassed after leaving a venue. It details a very real problem that women have come to expect – that a random man is going to follow and bother them at some point throughout the day. An outspoken feminist, Ansari attempts to capture a harrowing experience that the majority of women have and will continue to have. It’s startling that the episode rings so true.
There are few things that a woman can do to shake off a stalker, particularly if she is alone, it’s night, and there’s no one around. Mace is ineffective. Carrying a firearm is bulky and might not be a good idea if one doesn’t know how to do it. Self defense classes and training only work well if the woman actively practices the moves.
Students at the University of Michigan have designed an app called Companion which might offer women some level of peace when walking alone. While incredibly simple – the app hones in on the GPS tracking that’s already present in every phone, everywhere – it’s also quite effective. The developers hope to ensure that women feel a bit more safe when out and about, and offer options if something seems amiss. While this isn’t a perfect solution, it’s at least a step in ensuring and helping women feel more comfortable.
Jessica Evans is a Cincinnati native who has earned an MFA in Fiction from Spalding University. She is a novelist and poet, and her most recent collection of work was published in December, 2015.
She believes that not all feminists are created equally, and strives to be a voice for the rational, the composed, the enraged, and the sane. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Instagram or Facebook. Visit her on Google Plus or check out her website.