The Women Of The Night
Confession. I am scared of the dark. Yes, I’m serious. Yes I’m sure I’m 22 and not 10. Now I know, what is there to be frightened of? The bogey man isn’t real and there’s definitely no monsters under the bed. But as it turns out, being a grown woman in the dark can be just as scary as your 10 year old self checking the cupboard for hidden horrors. The monsters in this grown up scenario are slightly different; the bogey man will do more than scare you with a ‘boo’ and the monsters have vast and different locations than simply under your bed.
It all starts off in a completely casual setting. You’ve worked a late one, the sun’s disapeared and you’re left alone with a black sky, a Spotify playlist and ultimately, yourself for company. Sounds fine doesn’t it? Almost idyllic in a way. A starlit walk, a cracking playlist and your own company. Should be bliss. But sadly we’re living in a society where being a young woman all on your own is probably the most vulnerable and scary situation to find yourself in.
With rape culture being an ever more prominent issue, everything a woman does can be considered a potentially hazardous scenario. Wearing that fabulously chique but rather revealing mini skirt can result in males taking it as an invitation for sex. Saying no to someone can be as good as saying nothing at all, because they will do it anyway. So with these simple aspects of a women’s life being restricted so forcefully by our patriarchal society, it’s pretty naive of us to assume that a walk in the dark is any less of a potential threat.
What’s most scary in our real life night time horrors is that the monsters come in all shapes and sizes. They don’t all drag a leg and groan inaudibly anymore. They could be that guy in your English class. The elderly neighbour who’s always equipped with a smile and wave. The one who always likes to insist on how much of a nice and good guy he is. So with such a diverse face to our potential tormentors, is it possible to feel safe and secure, anywhere?
Now what is it that triggers this fear so deeply in me? Well, honestly, it’s anything I can’t see. And in the dark, that’s pretty much everything and anything. Hearing someone approaching quickly behind me equates to gear up and run, a sudden noise is the monster readying himself to pounce and a coincidental commuter on the same path as me for too long is definitely someone following me home.
So ultimately, I feel pretty damn justified in my fear of the dark. Do I feel it’s fair to not have this fear left in the depths of my childhood? No. But until further progress is made in tackling rape culture as a whole, then I think many more women along with me will walk that little bit faster in the wee hours, turning their head at every rustling bush, just incase the bogey man is waiting for us tonight.