Women should not be taught to live in fear


From an early age we as women are taught to be afraid. Afraid of strangers, of suspicious vans, of dark alleyways and much more. We are taught to stick together and to be aware of our surroundings. When walking in an abandoned parking lot, alone, at night, with your keys arranged in your fist ready to be used as a weapon, you know this caution has been taken too far. 

Don’t get me wrong, caution in moderation is very important and keeps us from doing things like scraping our knees on our bikes as kids, preventing us from burning our hands on hot plates and from spilling our food and drinks, but when it comes to fear in the case of preventing growth that is where the problem arises. 

Fear is a basic survival mechanism. Our bodies are trained to respond to fear with a fight or flight response. Living with chronic fear can cause serious health consequences such as weakened immune systems, irritable bowel syndrome, cardiovascular damage and can impair long-term memories. 

Now more than ever, due to the rise of human trafficking, it is important to know that uneasy feelings are valid. According to the National Sexual Violence Research Center, one in every five women will be raped in their lifetime compared to one in every 71 men. While both genders can be victims of sexual violence, it is much more likely for women and thus causes immense levels of fear.

There needs to be a fine line of caution inflicted by parents that warns children of the scary situations presented in the outside world but not cross the line to the point of scaring the next generation. If we scare the future generations then the fate of the world exists in the hands of scared and closed minded individuals. 

We as the future parents of our society must raise our daughters to be empowered and supported and our sons to be respectful and supportive. We can do so by being supportive of our children and advising them in their decisions. We need to teach our children how to be respectful and respect other people’s space and privacy. 

  Although great strides have been made in recent decades in the rights of women, there is still quite a ways to go. The power complexes that have allowed for things like unequal pay and lack of reproductive rights directly correlate to the power complexes that cause women to live in fear. In order to reverse these power complexes, instead of teaching women to fear we need to empower them from a young age.