In a British Office of National Statistics (ONS) study, half of UK women revealed they didn’t feel safe walking home at night. Yes, you heard that right – half. And this is in busy public places, not rural and secluded areas that tend to get more dodgy and dangerous when the night falls.
We know what you’re thinking – it’s pretty shocking stuff, right?
Wrong. It’s certainly a damning portrayal of the reality women still face nowadays, but sadly, it is far from being a surprising one. Numerous other studies reached similar conclusions, with some indicating that the problem could be much worse than the numbers paint it to be.
Safe clubbing for women – where do we stand?
So why are women the only ones trying to do anything about women’s safety at night? After the murder of Sarah Everard in the UK, Twitter was enlivened by women calling out society for placing the onus on them regarding their safety.
Among the voices was ex-Love Island star Camilla Thurlow, who took to Instagram to call on men to stop threatening women instead of calling on women to adjust their behavior for their protection.
In this spirit of redirecting responsibility, women’s charity Plan International released a seven-step guide for men to make their behavior less threatening in public spaces. A quick peek at it will make you realize that the imminent danger targeting women isn’t just the after-midnight walk home.
It’s pretty much everything that happens sundown – from clubbing and bus rides to bar crawls and late-night grocery shopping. Not to mention that the Ladies’ Night phenomenon uses women as a marketing ploy.
In an effort to remedy this, Soundclub Mag decided to expand the list by asking women about what men can do to make clubbing safer for women. As we learned, being ‘not like other men’ isn’t going to cut it anymore – sorry, guys.
Women are tired of trying to protect their own safety – it’s up to men to start picking up the slack when it comes to women’s safety at night.
It’s threatening to feel someone’s hot breath and sweaty hands on you
This one’s really not that complicated, but most men still don’t seem to get it.
Unless you’re explicitly invited into someone’s personal space, you’re invading it.
It’s threatening to feel someone’s hot breath and sweaty hands all over you – even more so when they’re a complete stranger doing so as a bizarre way of initiating conversation.
This behaviour can also trigger survivors of sexual assault – which is , unfortunately, a common occurrence for women. Cut it out. Seriously. If we want to be pressed up against you, we’ll let you know. If you want to make clubbing safer for women, ensure the situation is consensual and reciprocated.
You don’t get to own her time because you purchased her a G&T
When it comes to making assumptions about women, guys don’t have the right, but they have the audacity.
If a woman goes out in a revealing outfit, chances are she’s feeling herself.
You making unsolicited comments about her appearance isn’t making her start feeling you, and it definitely isn’t making clubbing feel safer.
It’ll just make her feel uncomfortable in her own skin – maybe she’ll even start to wonder whether she needs to borrow a jacket from a friend to stop receiving your unwanted attention.
The same goes for a woman who gives you the time of day at the bar – why do you assume she’s obliged to keep talking to you after one conversation? Maybe you had a flirtatious chat in the queue. Maybe she was just being friendly.
Either way, it doesn’t matter.
Don’t assume she wants that sip on that drink you randomly bought for her. You don’t get to own her time because you purchased her a G&T. It’s weird.
Just because someone’s attractive, you don’t have the right to stare
Casting wistful glances across the dancefloor is one thing, but staring and even following the object of your desire?
That’s just creepy, and doesn’t contribute to making clubbing safer for women. You’ll get some reciprocation if a woman is into you.
If she’s not returning your glances, looks uncomfortable, or is actively trying to get away from you, chances are you need to stop bothering her.
Besides the obvious intimidation factor, it’s disrespectful to assume that just because someone’s nice to look at, you have the right to make them feel threatened for the sake of your viewing pleasure. If you see your mates doing this, don’t laugh it off. Take them to one side and call it what it is – predatory.
But the list can go on. Women could talk forever about the things they want men to stop doing. But if men are too busy defending their ‘good guy’ personas to listen, what’s the point in wasting our breath? Everyone needs to take a stand and actively work to make clubbing safer for women.
If you’re a guy and you’ve never stopped to think that all guys are part of the problem if they’re not part of the solution, maybe you should read the first part of that sentence again.
The problem isn’t just ‘bad guys’, it’s every guy who lets bad behaviors slip and normalizes situations that make women feel preyed upon.
Bro code is not synonymous with protecting bad behavior, and the burden shouldn’t be on women to avoid the threat posed by men. It’s on men to stop threatening women and start holding their friends accountable.
*Names have been changed to protect the integrity of the interviewee.