A recent post on Twitter was from a woman describing a thing that her dad does — constant threat assessment. That is, of both people and of situations, looking for signs of danger and places you might make an escape should something happen.
Most of the responses from men were from how they do this too. The responses from women were quite different. Plenty said that their husbands/fathers/sons did it, while others seemed surprised that this was even a thing.
Plenty of comments dismissed this is a US thing because of the gun violence. But I am not American, and I have always done this. Growing up in a large town makes you alert to all the things around you.
- That alley could have a mugger
- That prostitute might pull a knife on me
- That loud person in the pub might punch me for no reason
- This group of people coming towards me might see me as an easy target
- That bin might contain a bomb (yay for growing up in the 1980s with constant IRA vigilance!)
- Is that homeless person just being friendly (in my experience, most are and will be helpful if you look lost) or are they going to turn nasty?
This is ignoring environmental safety issues such as slip and trip risks, debris and falling objects, speeding vehicles mounting the curb etc.
I live in a much safer place now, an area with relatively low crime rate, but I’ll still keep to main roads and streets at night and go out of my way to avoid places where I might perceive a threat.
Some comments expressed surprised that men very often see women as a potential threat. Not in the “omg she might falsely accuse me of rape if I get too close!” that people in the manosphere bring up a lot. I’m talking about assessing women as potential sources of a threat, not stuff that she specifically might do. Because despite the persistent belief that women are no threat to men, this is as insulting to women as it is to men who have suffered violence at the hands of a woman.
I’ve been sexually assaulted twice, by women both times. The second time was a prostitute — (though I hasten to add that she…