Women walking alone at night face many fears, calling for help should not be one

Women must take advantages of services that ensure their safety

It’s a hard concept to grasp that there are people out there who do not know you but want to harm you. 

Twenty minutes of being stared down on the Orbit bus on my way home. Twenty minutes of constant winking and unwanted flirtatious smiles. Twenty minutes of shrinking into my sweatshirt and trying to find a way to hide my body behind my backpack.

The bus turned onto my street, and I sent a quick text to my boyfriend, asking him to meet me outside. A different person pulled the cable, signaling the bus driver to pull over. I walked off the bus along with this person, and the bus doors closed.

I got away — or so I thought.

The bus doors opened again and the man that undressed me with his eyes strutted out. My heart started to race; I was only two houses away from my home.

I quickly ran up to the other man that got off the bus, walking right by him, hoping for some sort of protection. He looked at me like I was a crazy person due to how close I was to him. 

I finally reached my driveway and Daniel still wasn’t there. The hooded man trailed closely behind me up the driveway, when Daniel came out of the house.

I ran to him; the man took a sharp turn out of the driveway and continued walking down the street.

I ran inside, locked all the doors and windows and turned off all the lights.

If Daniel hadn’t walked outside I could have been attacked in front of my own home. Would my neighbors hear my scream? Would I be able to scream? 

Nothing physical had happened to me, but I still felt traumatized from the experience. I can’t even imagine what it would have felt like if something more severe had happened.

This is something many men will never experience. Typically, women are more likely to encounter these sorts of advances.

There are measures in place in response to this and making these services well known should be the top priority.

Many people don’t know about the Safety Escort service on campus that is free and offered to all ASU students.

With Safety Escort students who need a safe ride home can be picked up by a fellow student in a golf cart or a van and be dropped off at their destination. It runs from 7 p.m. until 2 a.m. every day of the week, and the wait time is always under 10 minutes.

Brody Kilgore, a driver for Safety Escort, said women make up the majority of those who call the service, but a fair amount of calls are made by men as well.

Last year there were over 10,000 rides between the Fall and Spring semesters, Kilgore said. This school year, they have already exceeded the 10,000 ride mark. Safety Escort is trying to get its name out there and let people know help is.

“I’ve gotten calls from girls saying that there are creepy guys harassing them,” Kilgore said. 

This service is vital and important for students' safety. Unfortunately, many students are not aware of it. 

Safety Escort makes sure that those who are standing outside alone or being harassed are picked up first.

Most of the students that Safety Escort picks up are freshmen or sophomores, Kilgore said, and most of the rides come from dorms to the library or to get food.

Girls on campus, and men too, need to know about this service. It’s not embarrassing, or seen as weak to ask for help.

One in 4 college women have been raped or have experienced attempted rape. So, it is crucial that women in particular take advantage of services such as Safety Escort to protect themselves.

Men often do not have to deal with the paranoia of walking alone at night or having strange men follow them, so these services are particularly beneficial to young female students. 

Safety Escort plans on promoting its services more in the fall. In reality, they should be working on this now; the safety of ASU students should be the first priority. 

Women are not weak, but we are seen as prey to some people in the world. Please take action and protect yourself and those around you. Walk in groups, keep your cellphone charged and maybe invest in some pepper spray.  

Reach the columnist at skmart13@asu.edu or follow @serena_mart on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

Want to join the conversation? Send an email to opiniondesk.statepress@gmail.com. Keep letters under 500 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.

Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.