MGU 206 | Women's Physical Safety

Trigger Warning: Discussion of harassment and harm to women.

In this episode, Jason Wrobel & Whitney Lauritsen discuss the issue of women’s physical safety. Whitney starts off with a curiosity around her seeming ignorance of her own safety as a woman. She’s traveled very far distances on her own without having been threatened. But one woman’s experience, of course, cannot speak for all the others. Is it true that women generally feel unsafe? Both the media and statistics claim that the world is increasingly becoming a more dangerous place for women, especially after Sarah Everhard’s disappearance. If so, what are the precautions women need to take to protect themselves better? Jason and Whitney also discuss how these issues affect the relationship between men and women.

Listen to the podcast here:


Understanding The Dangers To Women’s Physical Safety And The Precautions That Women Can Take To Protect Themselves

I wanted to discuss something that happened in the news in mid-March 2021 that is something I don’t know too much about, but I thought was an important subject matter to touch upon. Jason had not heard of this at all. Maybe you, the reader, didn’t know about this. Hopefully, this will be an educational episode for all of us about current events and a broader topic, which is women feeling unsafe. This is something that I’ve reflected a lot on, especially in 2020. I felt ignorant around my safety as a woman. It wasn’t until I started hearing other women speak out about how they felt unsafe doing something as simple as taking a walk in their neighborhood. I reflected on that because generally, I don’t consciously feel unsafe.

I feel very aware of who’s around me. I try to be mindful. If anything ever feels an intuitive hit to be uncomfortable or unsafe, I will tune into that. I will follow my gut instincts there, but when I started noticing, hearing and reading about how other women were feeling about their safety, it brought up a lot of questions for me about, is it true that women are less safe than men? Do we need to be concerned? Is it traumatic fear? Is it something that we’ve been culturally conditioned to be fearful of? Are things as dangerous as we think that they are out in the world versus in the digital world? I’ve been reflecting a lot about this, especially since I love traveling. Throughout my life, I’ve done a number of traveling experiences on my own. Going back to when I was in college, I traveled throughout Europe on my own. Looking back on that, I’m glad that I did that. I don’t remember being that nervous about it, which is fascinating thinking about how I was on trains by myself, sleeping on trains and sleeper cars by myself.

One time I was in a sleeper car going through Italy, I remember there was a guy in the room on the bunk across from me because he had intense body odor that I will not forget. I was sharing a cabin. I don’t think it was the two of us, there are other people, for those who haven’t done a sleeper train before. At least back then, you could have four strangers in bunk beds, and you could upgrade from a regular seat so that you could lay down and sleep. I remember back then, Jason, being nervous about somebody stealing my stuff or my money. That was my main concern. I wasn’t that concerned for my physical safety.

I remember there was one time on that same trip when I got to Vienna. For context, I was studying abroad and we had a couple of breaks during this school semester where we could go and travel. I don’t think anyone, including my parents, thought much of me traveling by myself, but I was studying in the Netherlands and I traveled to Germany with my classmates on a group trip. From Germany down through Austria and then into Italy, and then back from Italy to, maybe we did go through France, Germany. I’m only vaguely remembering all the geography, but my point being is I traveled a very far distance by myself.

I was staying in hostels by myself. I was traveling on these trains by myself. I was taking other forms of transportation by myself. The only memory that I have around feeling slightly unsafe or wondering how safe I was is when I got to Vienna late at night and I walked from the train station to the hostel by myself. It’s interesting looking back on things like that because now I don’t know if I would want to do that. Even though I’m older and more experienced and more confident, that sounds pretty scary to me. Is it that the state of the world has changed since then? Is it that we are more aware of what’s going on in the world, thanks to social media and digital content that has heightened our exposure to things? Also, around that same time when I was in college, I lived in Boston with a roommate, and I would do all things by myself. I would walk home. I would go grocery shopping at night and walk home many blocks by myself.

Many things that, as an adult, I would probably think twice about. I don’t think it was college ignorance. It was a different time. The other reason that this all started to become a big point reflecting on is when I traveled across the country in the US by myself. I remember people starting to say, “Is that safe?” It took me a moment to realize that people have different perceptions of safety. I had to start to look into what was going on. I remember feeling frustrated because it felt like I was being constrained like, “It’s not safe for a woman to travel by herself. Why would you do that? You should always have someone with you.” Even when you have someone with you, if it’s another woman, then you feel vulnerable too.

Follow your gut instincts. Click To Tweet

It makes me sad because of the freedom of doing something like traveling, but also the freedom of a basic thing like walking around your neighborhood at night, that feeling you can’t do that on your own or it’s not safe to do that on your own is disturbing. One thing that got brought up in terms of the current events is a case that I want to learn more about along with you, Jason, that has been brought up around the subject of women’s safety and perceptions of it. There’s a woman named Sarah Everard, this was in the UK and she disappeared. I pulled up a couple of different articles. I have a recollection that it was found out that she was killed. There’s a suspicion of murder, but I’m pouring through some different articles. I pulled up one from March 11, 2021, which was about her disappearance.

She’s a 33-year-old woman who was walking home in London one night. This media attention that it got sparked an outpouring on social media from women who were sharing their experiences of sexual assault and harassment. My knowledge of it so far is that a lot of people were feeling frustrated because when this news broke, some people responded by saying, “She had it coming. She wasn’t taking good care of herself. She wasn’t watching out. She wasn’t paying attention.” They were victim-blaming her. This got people to feel angry and frustrated for good reasons. There was a whole women’s rights activism uprise. She was murdered. That’s what I recalled.

Another coverage of it on March 15, 2021, does reference her being murdered. She was walking home in the city of London. The man accused of murdering her is a serving member of the police force. The people were upset about that. Thousands of women were feeling frustrated because many of us have felt intimidated or harassed while walking alone at night. Reading the story, it’s sad. This victim-blaming thing is not okay, but it brings up this bigger message for me, the number of people that have been sexually harassed or abused is mind-blowing to me. I feel fortunate, Jason, that I have to reflect deeply on my own experiences in order to even remember times where I felt harassed. I don’t have any memories of being abused.

Sometimes I feel like going back through my memories that I’m like, “Did I suppress a memory?” The statistics are so high, I almost find it hard to believe that I haven’t had any major sexual harassment or abuse. That’s also mind-blowing for me because it’s 1 in 4, 1 in 3, so many people have been victims of sexual harassment or abuse. What if I’ve experienced it? Either repressed or internalized it, I took it on as my fault, or I even took it on as part of life as a woman. Is it so common that someone like me that I don’t even think about it that much because it’s part of being a woman? That’s disturbing too because this isn’t okay. Murder is not okay, but harassment in general, causing fear in another human being who just wants to go about their life with freedom. To walk home at night shouldn’t be a scary thing. It shouldn’t be you’re afraid for your life to walk home.

This is true for every gender and any human being, no matter their background or wherever they’re living. It’s so disturbing to me that there are many reflections we have to make about where it’s safe to be. It’s sad. It’s a reality because some places we perceive as safer or not. I also wonder, Jason, is it unsafe? Have we been led to believe that it’s unsafe? Is it unsafe for a reason? In an episode that we did, we were talking about homeless people and how there’s this general conception around them or perception of them where we see them as dangerous or mentally ill or drug users and we try to avoid them. We distance ourselves and that causes us to not understand them.

MGU 206 | Women's Physical Safety

Women’s Physical Safety: The feeling that you can’t do basic freedoms on your own, like walking around your neighborhood at night, is really disturbing.

 

Another example of this reminds me of too is when I used to live in Venice Beach. That was another place where a lot of people were concerned about safety. Looking back, I’m like, “Maybe this was super ignorant of me. Maybe I’m fortunate.” When I got my dog, Evie, I used to walk her outside along the boardwalk, which is a fairly dangerous part of Los Angeles, apparently. I used to take her for walks out there by myself all the time for years. Evie came into my life in 2010. I moved in 2011. It was 1 or 1.5 years where every single day, throughout the day and night, I would take her out for walks.

I remember reflecting back then over whether or not Venice was as dangerous as people thought it was because I started to talk to or they would talk to me, people that were probably drug dealers and/or homeless. They looked “sketchy” or threatening, but once I started talking to them, I realized they’re just other human beings. They loved Evie. In a way, Evie became almost my protector, not just because she’s a dog, but when she was a puppy, the people out there that someone might perceive as sketchy would come up and talk to me and Evie and they’d be like, “She’s so cute.”

One of them, I wish I could remember his name, from a distance you might make all these assumptions about him based on his appearance, but his heart melted over Evie. Every time I took her for a walk, he’d be like, “Is that Evie?” He’d come over and he’d pour into this puddle of love over this puppy. I remember feeling protected by that experience because it showed me the humanity in other people. Maybe I wasn’t as safe as I thought I was, but is it just a matter of perception or was I lucky that nothing happened to me during those times?

You walk Evie around your neighborhood now in Los Angeles. The question is, do you or have you ever considered carrying pepper spray, bear spray, a knife or a Taser? There are two sides to this conversation to me. There’s the empowerment of women to defend themselves even though they shouldn’t have to. I use this term lightly. If the world is to a place where women taking self-defense classes, carrying weapons on them or spray on them or all kinds of things that I’ve talked to other women friends about who live in densely populated metro areas. We’re talking about friends that live in New York City, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, or Detroit. My curiosity, Whitney, is do you carry weapons or deterrents? If so, if you’ve ever experimented with that, how has that changed your state going out alone? If you do not do that, why don’t you do that?

First of all, these days I don’t walk at night alone, during the day, yes. I made that decision not to walk after sundown unless I needed to for this reason of this conversation, which is part of what makes me sad. I used to walk Evie around, but in my current neighborhood, I did until a certain point of it being brought up over and over again. I’m like, “I don’t need to walk.” Luckily, Evie has a little yard to go in so she can use the bathroom. She doesn’t have to go for a walk. I can choose the time that I take her and that’s a luxury. That’s a privilege right there. First of all, not everybody has the privilege of being able to decide when and where they get to walk. You might need to walk to get to your job, to get to the subway, for your dog, all of these situations that anybody who feels vulnerable would need to be in.

Be empowered to defend yourself. Click To Tweet

In terms of pepper spray, I do have some. I’ve never used it. I know how to use it, but it feels so weird and awkward. I even brought it with me on my cross-country road trip, Jason. I would always make sure I knew where it was. I was sleeping in my car. People were concerned about me. I get it. I wasn’t ignorantly going on a trip by myself. I did tons of research. I feel like we talked about this in an episode where I read a bunch of articles about solo female travelers. I read stories about women who had done cross-country drives. I got some tips. The number one tip was to follow your gut instinct. I did tons of research about every place I was going. I made sure I was driving during the day, the roads were okay and all of these things that I factored in. One of the things that I did was make sure that I knew where the pepper spray was. In terms of a weapon though, that’s all I’ve had. I’ve never fired a gun in my life. I’ve thought about learning, but guns make me uncomfortable. It would take a lot of work for me to have a comfort level. I’m the same with knives. I guess something is better than nothing, but I wouldn’t even know fully how to defend myself with any of these tools and that’s part of it.

Perhaps I should learn. Do I need to learn though is the big question and why do I need to learn? Why are we living in this time like this? I’m admitting my ignorance and also a privilege. My privilege is that I live in a neighborhood that is generally safe. I travel in neighborhoods that are generally safe. I live in a country that’s generally safe. We’re in a developed nation. This is not to say that the entire world is safe. I’m sure people in other countries and other areas have a different situation. I’m speaking from my personal experience only, Jason. I have the privilege of not experiencing a time where I thought it was going to lose my life due to someone else.

I’ve never been in a position that I’m consciously aware of at this moment where I thought I would be kidnapped, raped, or harmed in any way. Sadly, percentage-wise, somebody reading has probably been in one of those situations. I feel like we should have a trigger warning at the beginning of this episode because this can be triggering for anyone and any gender. We’re talking about women right now and anyone who identifies as a woman too. I think it’s a privilege that I haven’t felt the need to fully be ready to defend myself.

You talk about an interesting point of this though, Whitney, living in a “relatively safe” neighborhood. This brings up a lot of assumptions about socioeconomics, classes and the judgments we have. We could look at statistics. We could look at different cities or different municipalities, counties, countries or whatever the case may be and look at the rates of violent crimes toward women because that’s what we’re talking about in this episode. It doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to be safe all the time. There’s this idea that if I make more money and I moved to a “nicer” neighborhood, I’ll somehow not ever be at risk of being victimized, but just because a woman lives in a “nicer” neighborhood doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have some shit go down.

It might mean that statistically, your chances are lower, but to your point, because you’ve chosen not to go out alone at night, Whitney, you’re obviously taking different precautions into account. This brings up an interesting point though and I come at this from the perspective of someone who identifies as a man. Even when I’ve lived in neighborhoods that other people would judge as, “You should watch yourself.” I never felt unsafe. That’s a big difference here. Even when I lived in Chicago and New York. I grew up in Detroit and lived in these cities. I’m in LA now. I’ll take my dog out at midnight. That’s a whole other conversation about Bella and dog theft. I don’t want that to blur the conversation here, but my point is, as a man, I have never felt what you are experiencing. I’m trying to understand and empathize as best I can not have a direct experience of what that’s like to fear for my life walking alone at midnight in a large major city, which I’ve done in many cities I’ve lived in.

MGU 206 | Women's Physical Safety

Women’s Physical Safety: Do tons of research about every place you’re going.

 

While I can’t have a direct experience, it’s more that I’m coming at this from curiosity so I can understand your experience, any of the readers that might message us about this, because I feel like this is a topic that we could probably get some emails and DMs about. At what point, Whitney, though, do you take precautions and adjust your behavior, adjust how you’re living your life to what you perceive as keep yourself safe, but you’re preventing yourself from doing certain activities? We bring up the example you gave of not going out at night alone. What if you do want to take Evie out at night? Do you ask a friend? I know you have people in the neighborhood that you say, “Could you accompany me on this walk?” My overall question is, what’s the line of you limiting or restricting certain things you want to do to keep yourself safe? That’s probably a macro question because we do that all the time, but where’s that line for you of like, “I want to do this thing, but I feel unsafe so I’m not going to do it?” How do you adjust around that?

The question is, how do we proceed given all of this? Also, how can we change this? In a CNN article that I was reading about Sarah Everard, there are some great points here. This is also the article that was talking about her being missing and not concluded as murdered yet. A lot had developed since this article came out. In this, they talk about how women, in general, have a constant mental risk assessment every time that they’re out on their own. This could be, do I take a longer route home to avoid poorly lit streets? Do I need to be prepared to run? Am I wearing the right shoes that I could get away with? That constant risk assessment is so draining. It also might show up in ways that it has for me where it’s like, “I would rather go take the risk and live my life than constantly be living in fear.”

A lot of people can relate to that. People feel that way about COVID. At what point do we stop living in a place of freedom? Are we being oppressed in a way? We need to address the deeper issue here. The solution is not just to stay at home. Something has got to be fixed here. In the same article, they said how women were advised not to go out alone in the London area while Sarah’s disappearance was investigated. People were fighting back and were like, “What about telling men not to go out? What if men had a curfew? Why do women have to be responsible for this?” I thought that was an amazing point because it’s true. There’s got to be something that can be done about this. The number of resources it takes and the media coverage and the investigations, so many resources going in to try to figure out what happened, but are they putting in enough resources to preventing it in the first place?

Out of ignorance, I don’t fully know, but this article also outlined some statistics. This is mind-blowing. In the CNN article, they said that over 70% of women surveyed by UN Women UK said that they had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces. That figure rose to 97% among women between the ages of 18 to 24. It’s insane, 1 in 4 women in the UK alone will experience domestic abuse and 1 in 5 sexual assaults during her lifetime. Other statistics I found are 1 out of every 6 American women have been the victim of an attempted sexual abuse at least because this might be particular to some specific types of sexual abuse.

That’s mind-blowing because I don’t hear that many people talking about it outside the media. In my head, I know one woman who had an extreme form of sexual abuse. I’m sure there are more stories I haven’t heard. During the #MeToo Movement, we heard a lot of women speaking out. I remember thinking I’m in the minority. It felt like every friend of mine was posting a story about #MeToo. I didn’t have one. What a privilege not to have one, but I kept thinking like, “Maybe I have more than I even realize. How much of this have I let go because it feels so normal?”

Take the risk and live your life rather than constantly living in fear. Click To Tweet

The craziest situations that I’ve been in that I don’t even perceive as crazy at the time because of the way these situations happen. This is why victim-blaming is such a crucial thing to work on collectively. It is so commonplace that when people talk about sexual assault or harassment, they blame themselves for it. More women, myself included, have gone through some type of trauma, but it’s subtle because we automatically blame ourselves or take the responsibility or brush it off. It’s hard to examine. At the time, it’s like, “That’s how men are. That’s how it is.” Someone’s saying to me, “You’re the one walking through Venice Beach. It’s your responsibility.” I can see that perspective, but at the same time, what do you mean? That’s where I live.

I’m responsible if I’m harassed or abused, assaulted? We have that concept of, “She was asking for it.” We talk about the way a woman was dressing, a way a woman looked, the place that a woman put her in. Why was she out at night by herself? That was part of the response that Sarah was getting in the UK. It’s like, “She was the one walking out at night by herself, what do you expect?” That mentality has affected a lot of women and people of all genders. Maybe that’s affected us more than we’ve even recognized. Unfortunately, it takes something like Sarah’s story for people to step back and say, “This is bad.”

Speaking of sexual harassment and abuse and assault and taking advantage of people, there’s a huge story in the news right now, which I don’t know how much you know about this, Jason, with David Dobrik who’s this successful YouTuber and podcaster. It seems like his career is completely who knows what’s going to happen. It reminds me a little bit of Logan Paul, even though it’s a completely different situation that he’s in, but what the aftermath of being involved with some sexual abuse that was going on and sexual assault within his community of friends and taking accountability. It’s an important discussion because he’s a successful 24-year-old man that a lot of kids look up to and we need to see people like him admit their mistakes, work on them, and pay the consequences because they’re the next generation of men.

Unfortunately, it takes some horrible things that have happened to others for us to wake up to how bad this is, myself included. It’s like, “How can we get more involved with speaking up for people and victims?” That’s something that I want to look into more as a result of reading about Sarah Everard. What can we do? Can we go to protests? Can we sign petitions? Can we speak out more like we’re doing on the show right now? What do you think, Jason? What are some ways that you believe we can create a change?

I was reading some of the articles prior to this episode about how some people were calling for the continued defunding of the police being the fact that it was a metropolitan police officer that’s been charged in her kidnapping and murder. On the one side, you see people who are talking about defunding police or getting to the heart of a lot of corruption. The police have been at the heart of a lot of things. This is a newer revelation, but it does spark a larger conversation of abuse of power. If women continue to be assaulted by men, then it brings up a fundamental issue at the question of consciousness of people in the sense that men, in particular, white men for a long time have been able to get away with a lot of things. Let’s be honest about it.

MGU 206 | Women's Physical Safety

Women’s Physical Safety: Don’t go anywhere alone.

 

From the judicial system to laws, to the way that we have continued to treat women, the way we continue to treat people of color, minorities, people that are at the poverty line or “lower class,” if we blow this out, to me, it’s a question of, we could reform the police. We could defund the police. We could have free civic programs for physical combat training for women and make that free for women. We could do those things. In addition to those concepts, my mind, Whitney, I don’t know how to do this. It seems to me that at a level of consciousness if we as men continue largely to regard and perceive women, people of color, minorities as less than us and that we have the right to do what we want with them. Which on a consciousness level so long as we continue to have this aggressive, masculine, dominant structure, guiding governments, guiding corporations, guiding society. These kinds of things are going to keep continuing because there’s a fundamental lack of respect and regard for the humanity of women in this context, that men continue to belittle, assault, harm, and murder.

This, to me, is a consciousness-level thing. That begs the question, “How do you get a person to regard another human being as worthy of love, respect and protection when they don’t? How do you get a person who looks at a woman and sees them as property or a sexual object or that I can do whatever I want with you and I can dominate you and overpower you?” The roots and the poison in the soil are so deep on this one. In addition to deeper psychological evaluations for our law enforcement, perhaps getting into deeper psychological evaluations of, “Are they fit to serve in this position?” That might be a great start.

I do believe in having free access to more tools to keep women safe and feeling empowered to protect themselves, but until we somehow have a system to train this anger, rage, hatred and oppression out of men, particularly white men, I don’t know that at the root of this, we are going to be able to pull those poison routes out and reframe things. I think that’s part of it, Whitney, is white men have been so used to doing whatever the fuck they want in society and getting away with it. We saw it as a tangential thing but also related. What happened in Atlanta when those eight Asian-American women were killed? The response of the police in Georgia I remember was, “The shooter was having a bad day.”

Are you fucking kidding me? Even the language and the regard that we use, if that was a person of color, if that was a black man, I guarantee you, the language and the framework would have been different around it. It’s a young white man. He was having a bad day. There’s no accountability. To me, at the fundamental root of, “Can we hold white men accountable for their violence, oppression and hatred?” Can we honestly hold them accountable? I don’t know that punishment is going to fix it.

How do you convince a person to extend respect and love to a person that’s different from them when their whole lives they’ve been told something different? This is a difficult problem. You can’t go up and like, “You need to respect women. You need to respect people of color. They’re your equals. Stop oppressing them. Stop being violent toward them.” You can’t just point at someone and snap your fingers and tell them to change overnight. I don’t know, Whitney. At a level of consciousness and reframing a person’s perception, this is the fucking hard question. How do we do it? If we don’t, this is going to keep going on. We can reform all the policies we want to a degree, but unless we change it at a level of mind, this shit is going to keep happening.

It begins with the conversations is a stream of tweets trending on Twitter around to this. Reading through it, it was women sharing how they were affected by Sarah Everard and how it’s a huge issue, but it goes beyond a tweet. It begins with a conversation. It begins with speaking out about it, but we have to take some action around it. Through reading these, I see that I’m not the only one who feels like things have changed so much in several years. The fear though is part of the issue. I have questions in terms of the media coverage of things like this.

We’ve talked about compassion fade in an episode. It’s important for us to have compassion, but we also have to think like, “How is the media playing a role in this?” What messages are people being given about sexuality and women versus men?” The fear that we have where women are terrified to even go outside. It’s a real thing but living our lives with so much fear is so awful. Also, reading through this and part of my surface-level knowledge about what happened to Sarah, is apparently she was taking a lot of precautions. She was wearing brightly-lit clothing. She was telling people where she was going. She was doing everything that she knew how to protect herself and this still happened.

That is unsettling because it could happen to anyone at any time. What are you going to do? Not go outside? You’re potentially taking a risk every time you go outside, maybe you feel as protected as you possibly can and that might still not be enough. Maybe those of us who have gotten by, like myself, are lucky. I’m in the minority of women that haven’t had any major sexual harassment or assault or abuse and that to me is unsettling. The fact that I’ve been going through my life thinking like everything’s fine, but without recognizing what other women were going through, that’s a problem too. Raising our awareness, speaking out against it, and then also looking for how we can contribute to positive change and not giving up, being frustrated, and being like, “This is how things are.”

I’ve become more committed to be an anti-racist, learning about the dangers of social media, seeing what’s going on with kids and their mental health. I have to add this to the list too. It hits close to home, so I’m happy to. It can be exhausting when you start to examine. We talked about the homeless and I would love to get more involved with that. There are so many issues happening, not to mention us being vegan, Jason. It can feel depressing and frustrating at times that there’s so much going on and each of us is just trying to get by. This is the state of where we’re at. Each of us does have the power to make a change. Chipping away at it and being committed to it is a big part of it. I’m glad that we covered this. I don’t think that we have any great answers to it, but at least we’re planting some seeds.

As you said, Jason, maybe one of the readers will have something to share. We want to empower you, the reader, to reach out to us. If you have a story you’d like to share privately or publicly, let us know. If you have some resources you’d like to share, please let us know. A great place to do that would be to comment on our website. Every single episode has a comment section you can go in and comment on if you would like to share something publicly. We didn’t have any solutions here, but if you’d like to share those with someone, you can do it there.

Our website also has a link to our email where you can privately reach us as well as our social media where we can have more of a public discussion around this. We appreciate you reading. We would truly love to hear from you, especially on a subject matter like this. Hopefully, we can follow up on this episode with some more solutions. Jason, it would be wonderful to have a guest on the show that could talk about this with more knowledge and awareness so that we can contribute to some change here. Thanks for being willing to explore it, Jason. Thanks for being an upstanding man. I was thinking how a lot of women think all men are awful and all men suck. It’s not true. That’s an important note to end on here. It’s not that all men are dangerous, not all men are abusers or have a sexist mindset or whatever else you want to label them with.

There are many men out there doing great things, that are incredible human beings, and that are contributing to positive change. I’m fortunate and grateful that you are one of them, Jason. I’m grateful that you stand up for women in the ways that you do. Thank you for being that. You inspire a lot of women. A lot of women trust you as a result. That’s a positive, important thing to remind ourselves of, is acknowledging the men that are doing great things too, and not getting into this judgmental categorization of other human beings.

I appreciate that, Whitney. I wanted to share one quick, final tip that you sparked with that beautiful acknowledgment. One of the big things that men can do for their female friends, if you’re at a party, you’re at a gathering, you are at a public setting where one of your female friends or family members needs to walk to get back to their car, a gathering like this, offer to walk them to their car. Offer to have their arm in your arm, whatever makes them feel safe and escort them to their vehicle. Make sure they get home safely. Ladies, don’t be afraid. If you have a gut intuition, this has happened an innumerable number of times on both counts, Whitney, you brought it up for me, of me watching a female friend getting ready to leave a party and going up and saying, “Would you like me to walk with you?”

Vice versa, I’ve had many women at parties, gatherings, conferences ask me if I would walk them to their car. I’m always happy to do that. Men, if you tune into your female friends or your friends that identify as women, be more present to being protective and being there for them and being present in that way. Ladies, if you have a gut intuition that you want to ask a male friend of yours or someone you feel safe with to accompany you in those types of situations, get in the practice of asking. For me, I’m always happy to do that and always happy to provide that level of mental and physical safety when it’s appropriate. That’s an easy, actionable thing to do.

Especially as life is opening back up again, men, be mindful of offering that presence. Ladies, don’t be afraid to ask. That’s my two cents as we end this episode. I’m sure this conversation is not over with. To you, dear reader, if you have thoughts, musings, remarks or stories, please let us know. We’re here to receive and converse. We always appreciate you getting uncomfortable with us and supporting the show as you do. Until next time, thank you so much. We appreciate you. We’ll be back with another episode soon!

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