The ‘Sensible Precautions’ Game
If there’s one response to my personal anecdotes of fear, misery and general misogyny that I can’t stand, it’s men asking me this:
“Why didn’t you take sensible precautions to prevent being in that situation?”
Ladies and gentlemen (okay, mostly gentlemen) I give you my brand new game: 6 Sensible Precautions.
The goal is to make the correct decisions and survive a whole day as a woman. Winner gets to smugly say ‘See, it’s just being sensible.’
- What do you want to wear to work today?
A) Jeans and a jumper, flat shoes.
B) Sexy dress with kitten heels.
C) Formal dress suit with a smart jacket.
2. A guy is creeping you out on the tube, talking at you sexually. What do you do?
A) Move away quietly, avoiding contact.
B) Flirtatiously tell him to leave you alone.
C) Tell the guard the minute you leave the train.
3. You’re going out to lunch with a new friend. Do you let a male acquaintance buy you a drink?
A) No, you’re grateful but you don’t want to be indebted like that.
B) Yeah, that’s totally fine, he should respect your boundaries.
C) Yeah, but you watch what he orders and puts in front of you closely.
4. The work day is coming to a close and you are getting the elevator down to the ground floor. A shifty looking guy comes up behind you. It’s 16 floors…
A) Smile and say you’ll take the stairs, it’s healthier (and hope he doesn’t follow you).
B) It’ll probably be fine. Take the risk.
C) Make it bloody obvious you have your phone on if he tries anything.
5. A mutual friend on social media wants to hang out tonight. He seems kind of fun, but he wants to go to his end of town…
A) Politely decline and offer to meet him as part of a group.
B) Say yes and let a female friend know when she should expect you to call her afterwards.
C) Agree but insist on meeting him in an area you know well.
6. You’re walking home after socialising, and it’s late. A man has been walking behind you for a while now…
A) Stop, stand to the side and make a call on your phone. If he’s normal, he’ll keep walking.
B) Stop and talk to him. He’s probably a nice guy.
C) Run like Theresa May’s behind you and wants to promote her deal
Mostly As: Still no guarantee on making it home, at all. Women get harassed and tricked into dangerous situations all the time. You could take all these measures and still be at risk. All the while hiding yourself from society just for a basic level safety.
Mostly Bs: Still no guarantee! Even worse, you’ll get blamed for not being sensible enough to protect yourself. Because, of course, trusting men is a really bad idea, right? What a great message for gender equality.
Mostly Cs: Again, no guarantee! You don’t know how a man will respond to you running, ignoring him, reporting him to a guard or refusing to let him buy you a drink. There are no safe options.
I’ll spell it out for you:
A woman is not responsible for the abuse men choose to enact on her.
Thank you and goodnight.