Remember: You Need to Be Afraid

Trigger Warning.

That’s the message I got from this display by the CMU University Police in the center of the main library’s entrance:

I’m usually not a particular fan of scare-tactics. I think the only ones who benefit from women feeling like victims and living in fear are victimizers. I’m sure reenforcing me and my friends’ fears about walking at night were not the entire goal of these pamflets, but it is a despicable one.

This is not just a gender issue: some academics think our entire society has become so addicted to invulnerability that we’re stunting our ability to feel joy. Here is a great TED talk on it:

PS: I was in an all women’s group meeting, and we were talking about how difficult it was to explain sexism to our male friends. I mentioned trying to explain how ever-present my fears about street harassment and rape are, and literally every single woman in the room nodded her head. We talked about how often we’re told we could be raped, how we are defenseless to fight back. I know efforts like the above are well intentioned, but reading that subheading

“No” means “no”–What will you do if your date doesn’t listen?

Just made me feel chilled and scared and small. Opening the pamflet, I was disgusted: it was an add for a for-profit self-defense class.

Inspirational Quote:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”–C.S. Lewis


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