Editorial: Merry Christmas! Here’s your pepper spray
Copy Desk Chief
Picture this: It’s late at night and you finally muster up the energy to get out of your bed and perform your nighttime routine. You walk into the bathroom, brush your teeth and then proceed to wash your face. You close your eyes and cover your face with suds then you rinse it off with warm water leaving you feeling refreshed. You look back up into the mirror and behind your own face in the mirror. Someone else is staring back at you.
That may seem like a bad plot to an ‘80s horror movie, but it is also a real fear among people on campus and elsewhere. College allows for a multitude of new experiences, but with all the excitement comes a new set of worries for students, particularly women. Girls on college campuses slowly pick up universal habits in order to protect themselves. Some of these habits include holding your key between your fingers, having someone walk you home at night and never leaving your drink unattended.
Many of these habits become second nature for women, and often go unnoticed and not talked about. The recent incidents involving a man breaking into a house on Chambers Street and watching a girl sleep has revealed a culture of fear that many women often don’t talk about.
After this incident, the conversation of safety on campus started to occur more often, but these conversations varied dramatically among men and women. Many women could be heard talking about how scary the incident is, how violating it is and how fearful they are that something like that would happen to them.
The extremely violating nature of someone watching you sleep as well as the possible harm that can occur once a complete stranger breaks into your home is very evident to women on campus. However, some men seem to have a much different outlook and often do not report worrying about these situations happening to them.
After speaking to other women about the incident and the fear that resulted from it, I learned that almost every other woman has the same fears and are often as paranoid as I am. Believe it or not but the scenario in the beginning of this piece is a very common fear and clearly not something out of the realm of possibility.
Every college student has so much to worry about from exams to clubs to the general responsibilities of not being able to rely on your parents anymore. On top of all these things, women are also fearful of being harmed and can even feel unsafe in their own home.
There are a lot of men on this campus who look out for their girl friends, make sure they get some safely and are a comforting figure to turn to. However, it’s important to understand just how real of a concern it is for women that they may be harmed by a man while at college.
The university has multiple systems in place to make everyone feel safe on campus including the blue light system as well as the LiveSafe app which includes features like having a friend be able to track your location as you walk home. While all of these safeguards are in place, other aspects of our campus can make women feel very unsafe including the lack of security there is in order to get into dorm buildings.
In addition, the incident on Chambers Street received no mention by the university’s Police Department (UDPD). Granted, the incident occurred off campus, but so do many of the armed robberies that students get UD Alerts about. The UDaily story about the incident helped clear up some confusion and provide students with information, but the lack of communication from UDPD led to a lot of misinformation and uncertainties swirling around campus.
Through the course of their lives, women learn to carry their pepper spray on them at all times, check their showers when they go into the bathroom and check the back seats of their cars before driving anywhere. Many men do not even consider to do these things and it is important for them to understand these fears that remain hidden in many of their peers.
This editorial is written to reflect the majority opinion of The Review staff. This week’s editorial was written by Jessica Leibman, Copy Desk Chief. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.