Brutal death is always on a woman’s mind. It’s always lurking somewhere as a possibility. A man might envision such a statement as a basic fear of a traumatic death, like dying in a plane or car crash. But for women, there’s a different, more personal aspect. Women are fearful of being brutalized and dying at the hands of men.
We are raised in such anti-femininity. From an early age, we begin to feel the pressure of being categorized into something that doesn’t fit. We see our sisters being encouraged to be popular and put out; we see other sisters being told they can be athletes but won’t get the same recognition as men; we are told we can be anything but see that many things are off limits; we are told that marrying is the goal, and not to worry about what comes after, including the excruciating difficulty of childbirth and child-rearing which go largely ignored by men. We are told we have value, but very little in society truly affirms that.
But it’s not just the doublespeak which is disturbing. It’s the actual threat of physical harm which destabilizes us. We don’t just doubt our value, we fear for our lives. We carry mace; we are nervous about walking alone, especially at night; we fear unsolicited male attention; we try to cover ourselves up; we are told to avoid certain circumstances, certain ways of thinking, certain adventures, certain institutions, certain countries even, because men simply can’t control their baseness.
The irony is clear. The same men who have built empires and landed on the moon are incapable of improving their "primitive instincts" towards women. It is women who need to hyper-regulate every manifestation of their being in order to not provoke the sensitive male species at any time in the wrong way. It is women who need to shrink themselves down to nothing noticeable to avoid toxic masculinity and brutality.
It seems almost ridiculous that men aren't willing to chip in to change. But there's really an unspoken secret as to why men don't help as much as they should in the equation. It's not that men can't change; it's that they're okay with how things are. Why change domination if you're at the top? But the answer is powerful. Domination is lonely and destructive; societies which hurt women don't succeed.
So, because for now we must remain vigilant against poor masculine behavior, because women globally are deemed responsible for the actions of men upon us, responsible for our rapes, our kidnappings, our imprisonments, our beatings, our mutilations, our tortures, we will keep the gruesome possibility of brutal death at any moment in mind. Even a short walk home, like the one Sarah Everard took in busy, cosmopolitan London, can lead to death. And it's high time we start a revolution against that.