By MoyosoreOluwa Abdul
On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very comfortable and 1 being very uncomfortable; how would you rate the experience of being the only female amidst a ton of men?
If you are like most women, your answer would probably be closer to 1 than 10.
Recently, I have had to use public transport every day to get around town. Due to the security consciousness ingrained in me for my safety, I always look around to note everyone on the bus with me.
Whenever I notice I am the only lady on the bus, I get very uncomfortable, and paranoia kicks in. I know I am not the only girl who feels that way.
Here is a quick one, my friend and I were heading back home from work and we noticed we were the only women on the bus. That knowledge already screams fear. With no exchanged words between us, my friend and I came down from the bus because we are women and we know what being the only women in a bus full of men could mean.
All around the world, girls move around with fear in their hearts simply because they are girls. There is always the need to be extra cautious, discerning, and to take calculative limits to our safety and freedom.
This is not limited to when walking on the streets or in public transport. It continues even to the workplace, parties, schools, and more you can think of.
Can you think of a time when you had to hasten your pace because a man is walking up behind you?
I remember one, my second year at the University, a university considered by many to be relatively safe in the country. To add to my security, I stayed in the school hostel too.
When students go to classes and read throughout the night during the examination period, I also joined in the act. Mo’ no Dey carry last!!
On this fateful night around 3 am, I realized I needed to sleep, and staying back to read would be of zero benefit to me and I thought to myself; how long before I get to my hostel, a maximum of 20 minutes. I decided to walk back at that time.
I set out to walk down to my hostel. I had my earphones plugged in and was enjoying the cool night breeze when suddenly I noticed a figure walking behind me.
I looked back and noticed it was a guy. I hastened my steps to avoid “stories that touch” and surprisingly, this guy legit did the same. At that moment, I got terrified, unplugged my earphones, and started running in the middle of the night.
Your guess is as good as mine; Mr. Guy also started running; then I started screaming while running. At the same time, Mr. Guy was saying something like, “don’t run. I am not chasing you.”
His shouts definitely fell on deaf ears because I increased my speed.
I later realized that he stopped running to me and raced towards another lecture theater. If you can picture that scene, I am sure you will definitely get some laughs or be equally petrified.
It might be true that he was after me or not, I cannot tell. But, at that time, I had to run for my life because of the numerous ‘what ifs.’
Unfortunately, the constant fear women face has become the norm in today’s society.
This is the girl child’s reality, one where movement and freedom are limited or full of vigilance. Even the ability to participate in fun activities are second guessed.
This should not be the norm and hopefully we women shall stick together to create a safe and wonderful environment, whether the world likes it or not.