A reminder that being a woman is scary


Ashley Tysiac

Statistics from the National Human Trafficking Hotline provide insight on reports and tips made each year.

In a few weeks I’ll be walking across the stage to receive my college diploma. And while it is an extremely exciting moment in my life, I can’t help but think about what comes next. I begin to think about applying for jobs and where I want to live, and then a panic rushes over me when I realize: I am going to be living alone for the first time in my life.

 For many, that is a joyous realization. You get to live by your own rules, with no parents to nag you and no roommates to argue with. However, when you are a 20-something-year-old woman there are other thoughts in the back of your mind. 

I am going to be all alone in an apartment in a new city with no one I know. Oh no I’m going to have to go grocery shopping by myself. What if somebody follows me up to my apartment? Cue the anxiety. 

Women always have to be worried about their safety, especially when leaving their house by themselves. It seems like we constantly hear about another girl or woman gone missing. They tell us to always be aware of your surroundings and to carry some sort of weapon but it’s sad we even have to worry about these things in the first place. We can’t even go to the bar to have fun without the thought of someone putting something in our drink. 

Many people brush it off as something that isn’t common because it hasn’t happened to them or someone they know, but the reality is that it’s a lot more common than we think. According to The National Human Trafficking Hotline, in 2020 there were 10,583 human trafficking cases reported. Those are only the ones that were reported. Think about the hundreds or even thousands of cases that go unreported. That year, the National Human Trafficking Hotline received a total of 51,667 substantive phone calls, text, webchats, emails, or online tip reports nationwide. According to the International Labor Organization, women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labour, accounting for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry and 58% in other sectors. 

Human trafficking is super complex and victims aren’t always abducted from parking lots, but it does happen. Traffickers have sneaky tactics to get you alone or wait until you are alone to get you. 

This is why if you are alone and you are walking to your car, always be observant and take a glance under and around your car while you’re still far away from it. If you see any suspicious vehicle or person around your car, go back inside the place you were in and wait until they are gone. If they aren’t leaving, alert the people that work there and have them walk you to your car. 

If you are walking or driving to your house or apartment, stay vigilant. If you notice someone following you for a while, do NOT go home. Call or text someone your concerns and walk/drive to your nearest populated area. Send them your current location. Whenever you are out alone, make sure someone you know can track your location at all times. 

As mentioned before, it is advised that you carry some sort of weapon with you whether it be pepper spray, a taser or if you’re comfortable, a gun. It is extremely unfortunate that we have to take these measures, but it’s our reality as women to have to be conscious of these things. 

To think about all of these things is extremely overwhelming and anxiety inducing. I want to remind everyone that being attacked by a stranger is rare, but again, it happens. I don’t want to scare myself or anyone from leaving the house, but I want to bring awareness to the issue and want women everywhere to be prepared if a scary situation does arise. There are things we can do to prevent these circumstances.

Also, don’t hesitate to ask a friend or other loved one to come with you if you are feeling anxious about going out alone. 

While I’m still anxious about living alone, I know that I will make friends when I get there who will support me if I need it. I will remember all of the advice and tips I’ve read to keep myself safe. Unfortunately, being a woman is scary so we have to keep ourselves safe out here ladies.