The Fear of a Woman

Marsha Gomes-Mckie

The fear that woman feel is so real, traditionally men don’t have to think about safety like women do. They never think, I shouldn’t be here by myself I might be raped.

I remember my husband taking me up Chancellor hill (a beautiful city view in Trinidad) late one night on impulse, for a drive he said. I know he was being romantic. He came out the car, left the door opened and leans with his back to the car and forestry looming behind us and watched the city view.

He was relaxed but I was scared to death and couldn’t come out the car. It was very late and we were alone up there, after a while he looked at me quizzically. I said. “Come back in here, you not afraid someone will rape you.”

He laughed so loud; he was weak with laughter until he realized I was seriously stricken.

He’s huge, tall and muscular. He makes conversation easy with strangers and seems to never be in a place without knowing someone. There isn’t much failing a gun that could take him down so he’s confident with darkness and impulse expeditions. He’s oblivious to my fears and I have to explain that even though I appreciate and trust him, my reality is different. He sees a man standing by a car on a lonely road and he slows down and asks if the man needs help. I see the very same situation, and I think serial killer trying to bait me to stop and drive faster. I am jealous of his peace of mind at times.

I am a woman. I do everything I can to be cautious yet everyday I frown at a situation and my heart beats faster than normal. The fear is in me, passing a construction site is a nightmare; strangers get in your face asking for a smile when their behavior is nothing to smile about. Men size you up all day and you have to push back or ignore.

It’s exhausting!

I wish safety was a given.

I wish men were taught about women’s fears.

I wish I wasn’t always on alert.

We need a generational shift, not to turn the tables for men to fear us but to equal the playing field. I don’t know what we need but I know it’s hard to teach my daughter confidence and fear at the same time but I have too. Sexual Assault is a real topic for women everywhere has to take it seriously.

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