Has there ever been a time when you’re walking by yourself back from class, work or a friend’s house and you get the feeling that you’re not alone? Or start thinking about how you’re going to react if that one random guy walking past you doesn’t just keep walking past you? I have too, and it’s not something that should be normal.

Even if I was put in a life-threatening situation, such as someone bigger than me attacking me for money, sex or whatever they want, I probably wouldn’t know how to handle it anyway since it’s never actually happened to me, but I know that it happens. Let’s be real, I’m a girl. I’m a 21-year-old female who doesn’t know how to fight. I’m a target.

But why are women targets? According to “Rape and Sex Assault: A Renewed Call to Action,” written by The White House Council on Women and Girls, “One in five women say they’ve been sexually assaulted while in college,” and the majority of those attacks are girls ages 18 to 24. And “nationwide, 22 million women and 1.6 million men have been raped in their lifetimes,” the report said.

An app called “watch over me” was created to keep women safe. The app can be downloaded for free, and it keeps your location for the amount of time you want it to watch over you. If you don’t tell the app that you are safe before the time runs out, the emergency contact you save in the app will be notified. Another safety feature of the app is being able to shake your phone if you are in danger, which turns on your camera, sounds an alarm and alerts your emergency contact.

There are similar apps to this one with similar safety features. The app “bsafe” has features such as an SOS alarm, location sharing and a fake-call feature. The app “Kitestring” works in a similar way, by alerting emergency contacts if you don’t respond when it checks your status.

With the number of rapes and sexual assaults that happen every day, the real question isn’t why so many women are victims, but why is it that things such as safety apps directed towards women even have to exist? Why do females feel the need to carry around a bottle of mace in their purse or never leave a party alone in fear of being attacked?

Am I more of a target than a man because I’m smaller, weaker and more defenseless? According to Blisstree, a website that promotes healthy lifestyles, “Men are 10-15 percent larger than women and 30 percent physically stronger, especially on the upper body.”

I know that when I walk from the parking lot of my apartment to the front door after working late-night shifts, there’s always a feeling I get that’s not from knowing that the mysterious parking lot skunk might sneak up on me. I’m not going to be scared of another girl walking past me, but if there was a man walking my way with no one around, I would probably make sure I’m ready for potential danger and to run.

It’s pretty sad that females think they need to take a self-defense class or buy a bottle of mace to keep in their purse in fear that if they don’t, they’re going to get raped or assaulted.

According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, “Every 107 seconds, another sexual assault occurs.” Sexual assault and rape are things that can be prevented, so let’s do something about it.

It’s disgusting that this is the way women feel they have to act because I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. It’s about time we stop letting these things happen, especially since most incidences of rape or sexual assault don’t even get reported, and the numbers are still that high.

Email Katie Laporte at katie.laporte@cardinalpointsonline.com

<a href="https://cardinalpointsonline.com/byline/katie-laporte/" rel="tag">Katie Laporte</a>