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Women Alone

Women Alone

I injured my right hand and arm about a week ago.  This is why I have not posted anything in about a week, and probably should not now, but I am disturbed about some of the comments towards Rebecca Watson, skepchick, whom I have met twice now.

Rebecca Watson is a smart, well-educated young woman and she was using her intelligence and education on the night/morning that a man, in an elevator, asked her to his hotel room.  She used her brains and took every precaution to keep herself safe.  I find it amazing how much of an uproar Rebecca Watson’s comments about being alone in an elevator with a strange man who invited her to his room at four in the morning.

Putting myself in her shoes, such situations creep me out too.  I am accustom to men panting like dogs sometimes, even at my age, but if my gut instinct causes me to feel uncomfortable, then I figure out how to remove myself from the situation as quickly as possible.  Maybe he was not panting like a dog over Rebecca and maybe he was, but the fact she was alone in the elevator with a strange man asking her to his room, would be enough to throw up red flags for any intelligent woman, especially one educated about personal safety and well-being.

The fact is, 2/3 of sexual assaults and rapes happen by those we know, such as trusted relatives, close friends, and ministers. They are usually male too. However, it happens with strangers too and an intelligent woman errs on the side of safety, which I think is a good rule of thumb. Maybe Rebecca was not in danger and maybe she was. However, I would not want to test whether or not she was in danger by insisting she go with some strange man, just to avoid stupid and ignorant accusations of sexism, especially if one were to educate themselves on statistics of such dangers.

Although I have not read anyone saying it, we can rule out any atheist’s fear of Muslims despite the fact that Muslim males ignorantly debated science with PZ Meyers, Richard Dawkins, AronRa, and other English speaking men at the convention. Why? Because anyone can ascribe to any religion and Rebecca would not know or even care, at that point, what religion they were or were not. All she knew was a man was asking her to his motel room. Islam is not exclusive to Arab countries, and even European, Anglo-Saxon men can be Islamic. In my honest opinion, we can exclude religious discrimination and ethnic origins from Rebecca’s thinking in the matter and place it completely on safety and security matters. All she thought about was that the person was a man and possible risks to her safety. This was a smart move on Rebecca’s thinking. It was not sexism or any other stupid accusation one wants to conjure up about this situation.

I certainly hope the young woman in the video above does not go off with a strange man who offers her coffee in his hotel room, only to find out her life is in danger. The way she talks, she is ignoring facts and statistics about sexual assault, rape, and the safety of women. Rebecca did not commit sexism or hypocrisy, but was a smart woman using her brains and education to keep herself safe. The woman above appears to be ignoring such things, in favour of avoiding sexism.  What Rebecca says is not sexist or destructive, but rather pointing to statistical facts.

Barbaric Cavemen, who allow the gray matter in their heads to go south are the ones who caused the destruction and sexism, but to talk like this to a woman who used her head to keep herself safe, is just plain wrong.  I can only hope the young woman above does not find herself in a bad situation with a barbaric caveman.  It seems to me, others are being destructive by telling a woman to ignore her personal safety and statistics just to avoid sexism.  That is just plain stupid and I am sorry if the statistics offend those who worry about sexism.  I did not create them.  The truth is barbaric cavemen caused such statistics.

To be concerned about one’s safety is not sexism either.  This was strictly a case of “Stranger Danger” or in this case, a woman attempting to keep herself safe from harm, while alone.  PZ, Richard, and AronRa, only to name a few who she knew, were there at the convention and they expected her to go to her room, because that is what she told them.  If she did otherwise and something happened, it might have taken a while to figure out where she went, if they ever figured out why she disappeared.

We call this safety, especially for women and we, as women, do not always know when a man’s gray matter in his skull heads south.  When it does, this can possibly be a dangerous situation for a woman alone, especially if she did not stick to the agenda she told others who are with her and concerned for her.

Does this mean the man had malicious intent?  No, it does not.  All it means is that Rebecca was being a smart woman, keeping herself safe.  When a woman is alone and a strange man approaches her, it is common for her to think about her own safety and well-being.  Any smart woman would keep such things in mind, whether she was in a foreign place or not.  Kudos to Rebecca for considering personal safety.  You did the right thing and do not let anyone tell you differently.

Now, the statistic I gave about sexual assault happening mostly with those we know.  I have met PZ twice and he does not strike me as a man who would do a woman harm.  In fact, he strikes me as a man who would be very concerned for a woman’s safety and if he escorted Rebecca to her room, I can say with reasonable certainty, he would see her safely to her door, probably in a fatherly manner, especially concerning Rebecca.  I never met the other men we knew for sure were at that convention, but I doubt Richard Dawkins would be the type of man who would ask a woman, he was not acquainted with, such a question.

Granted, these are judgment calls concerning men I hardly know, but the fact is, when it comes to a woman’s personal safety, sexism or bad form is not the issue. A woman alone is more likely to feel vulnerable in such a situation and she will look out for her safety primarily, especially if she is a smart women. It is unreasonable, in my opinion, to start shouting “sexism”, “bad form”, and a whole slew of other stupidities when a woman attempts to keep herself safe and make others aware of potential dangers.

Atheists are always talking about rationality and science when it comes to superstition and religion. Why not apply rationality and science to a smart woman attempting to keep herself safe too, instead of criticizing Rebecca for keeping herself safe? It would seem the logical thing to do.

About Mriana

Mriana is a humanist and the author of "A Source of Misery", who grew up in the Church of God, Anderson Indiana. After she became an adult, she joined the Episcopal Church, but later left the Church and became a humanist. She has two grown sons and raises cats. Mriana raised her sons in the Episcopal Church, but in their teen years, they left the Church and she soon followed. One of her sons became a "Tao Buddhist" and the other a None, creating his own world view. She enjoys writing, reading, science, philosophy, psychology, and other subjects. Mriana is also an animal lover, who cares for their welfare as living beings, who are part of the earth. She is a huge Star Trek fan in a little body.
  • Jon Waltz

    I think you're missing the point here. No one I know is suggesting that RW did anything wrong in her treatment of Elevator Guy. I personally don't have a problem with her original video, where she essentially says, "Guys, don't behave like this." I do have an issue with the hyperbolic comments and subsequent posts that refer to the man as a "potential rapist." It just seems over the top to me, and that is what has stirred up everyone's emotions.

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