Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I'm not sure if the world is getting scarier, or if it just seems that way.

I feel like long ago, it used to be a big deal when someone was abducted or murdered.

But these days, I just can't keep up with the latest missing college student, Girl Scout, or wife.

Sometimes I'm really tired of being a girl. It's exhausting being so terrified of doing things I shouldn't have to fret over.

I'm scared to walk in my neighborhood alone. I look over my shoulder every night when I'm walking in the parking lot to my apartment. Noticing a strange man looking at me makes me nervous.

Being a newspaper reporter in the suburbs surprisingly doesn't help.

Four years ago I interviewed the parents of a beautiful teenage girl who was abducted (and later raped and killed) from a Target parking lot in broad daylight. The girl's father convinced me to take his self-defense class (which I did a week later) and after the interview, he gave me a high-pitched whistle, which I still carry on my key chain today.

A couple years ago, I interviewed another father whose college-aged daughter was brutally murdered by a complete stranger at my parents' neighborhood pool. After the interview, her father made it a point to walk me to my car to make sure I left the country club safely.

In other words, scary shit doesn't discriminate. It can happen to anyone, anywhere.

So, I live in fear.

I rarely go to the store alone. In fact, I can count on my hand how many times I've gone to the store alone in the past four years. When I'm walking to my car, I just assume someone is following me and practically run. Just a few months ago, some man approached me in a dimly lit parking lot to see if he could borrow my jumper cables to restart his car and instead of helping him, I ran away and called the police. Turns out, he really was having car trouble, but still.

Sometimes I wish I wasn't so paranoid and scared of the world. I wish I could just jump in my car and drive into the sunset, without worrying that the bogeyman will be waiting for me when my car breaks down. I wish I could backpack across another continent without fear of being captured for the sex slave trade. I wish I could go to Target without wondering if I'm next.

That would be nice.


starla said...

Just last year I discovered my girlfriends were afraid of doing lots of things I did; like going home alone in the dark or going to certain parts of the city. They say I wasn't scared because I was na├»ve when I tried to rationalise my behaviour to them. Only advice I can give you: forget you're a girl and pretend you're my friend Gigante, who's almost 2 m tall and hasn´t been assaulted in his life.

Bunny Moreno said...

Oh hun you are living my life LOL You would fit in perfectly in NY-no joke! Thats how all of us born and raised NYers are. You know who the newbies are when you see them walking somewhere alone or wearing really expensive things at 10pm on the train LOL

I hate being so paranoid too. But I also like it-well sometimes bc it can get exhausting esp when it comes to my children. Yes-I become that crazy lady who is yelling for her kids to come back after they were running around the local supermarket. I would rather be the crazy lady yelling then quietly let my children do whatever they wanted and be taken away by someone-its my worst nightmare...actually I have a few but that was is in my top five.

All I can say is this-I am grateful I am an American woman. I know back in my mothers country I would have been married with eight kids by your age. Thank goodness that didnt happen! Hard to imagine but girls and women around the world have it worse. The sucky part is I believe that women should be cherished and protected bc we carry life within us-we allow the world to keep going so therefore we are more valuable and more precious than anything on this planet (aside from air and water).

I am not saying we are property but I am sure you know what I mean. It sucks that we have to watch our back and not travel and do the things we should be able to do bc of the dangers out there but at least we are aware of them-perhaps acutely so. Do try to take one situation at a time and work yourself up. Be careful and smart but don't drive yourself mad-trust me it can happen. xox

Shannon said...

Wow - that hits close to home for you. There was a woman stabbed in broad daylight at a Walmart in my hometown just a few months ago. WTF?

French Girl in Seattle said...

Yes, Jenny, it is a sad world we live in, but better safe than sorry... I lived on another continent, as you say (Europe) when I was your age and I always looked over my shoulder the way you do today. One of my favorite quotes to explain why I don't take foolish risks in public places (especially at night,): "I have seen too many movies." In fact, this will probably be my epitaph! :-) Yes, there are a lot of nice people out there, but there are sickos too, and nobody said we have to make their job easy! (one point to Jenny for taking that self defense class!)Veronique(French Girl in Seattle)

Kim (A Very Sweet Blog) said...

There are so many looney wackos out here! You have to be very vigilant when you do go somewhere. I just recently started wearing a crossover bag when I shop. I'm not on my phone when in public. My keys are ready in my hand when I leave a store and walk to my car. It's truly sad to have to live this way. It doesn't make life enjoyable. I understand your fear.

SG Angela said...

It is important to be aware of our surrounding. one can't be too careful nowadays.

Miss Laia said...

I've the thought that is not worth it to feel fear, If something has to happen it will, is like taking a plane or a car.
You have to be positive and be brave I know is difficult being a journalist because you always feel everything closer but enjoy
Life a bit!!

Couture Carrie said...

So true, darling.
Sad stories, but beautifully told.


Alex said...

I can definitely understand why women feel this way. Maybe it's because I live in the city, and everything is so well lit, I just don't think about that kind of stuff a lot. Sure, I worry sometimes when I'm running at 6 a.m. that someone could hurt me; it's dark, I'm a woman in tight-fitted clothes. It's a possibility. But I tend to stick to the main roads where I know other runners and people are to just give me that piece of mind. I wish I could give you advice other than "Just don't think about it." Because that's so much easier said than done.


You're right, the world is becoming more terrifying. I think people are becoming immune to suffering and pain. *shrugs*


Sheila said...

Awww the first pic of the kitty is so adorable.. even though he's scared. >.<

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment! Keep in touch!

xo - Sheila

Sherin said...

Oh no! I hate that you feel afraid like that. I do feel the same way sometimes. A couple of months ago I was on the bus and this really weird guy kept pestering me for my number etc. Then he followed me off the bus and kept following me, trying to get my details. Luckily I had a kind male stranger push him away and walk me home.

Mimi said...

i totally agree with you, it's really scary out there! and what's troubling is sometimes the people we think we know are exactly the ones who can hurt us. it's really important to know self-defense.

<3, Mimi
LensVillage Giveaway

Josie said...

Jen, you're so right. The world has become a scary, scary place and we all have to be careful -- and that stinks.
xo Josie

Meri said...

Seriously, I have to stop myself sometimes thinking about all of the terrible things out there, or I would never leave the house. I can never find the right balance between being cautious and being a walking panic attack.

David Macaulay said...

tsk scaredy cat - mind you it is true that being a newspaper reporter makes you more paranoid..

The Grande Dame said...

First, that kitten picture is so cute I couldn't stop staring at it.
Second, I feel the same way. I'm always on my guard when I walk home alone, always ready with a getaway plan if I think someone dodgy is nearby. If my girlfriend doesn't answer her mobile phone I freak out. And then yell at her when she gets home. I always memorise licence plates on cars when I think the driver is being weird. And heaps of other things I keep in mind to keep as safe as possible.
It's a shame but it's better to be safe than sorry! I wish I had that little kitten to come home to every day; that would make things better.

ravenlocks said...

I'm so glad you brought this up. There really ARE a lot of horrible people out there that want to sexually abuse and sometimes even kill you. This probably isn't want you wanted to hear, but it's true. And I hope I don't make matters worse, but I think it's good to tell people about this: There is an app where you can actually see how many people in your neighborhood are registered sex offenders. It shows their mugshots, where they live, age, and what they were jailed for. It's awesome. But it's also creepy...I found out that there were THREE registered sex offenders living right by me when I was younger.

Oh, and there is also a website where you can look them up. I don't remember the name of it though!

Anyway. I'd recommend taking a self defense class or studying up on it. There are some really good tips out there. Also...there is a reason why I run 5 days a week. You never know when you get to utilize your running ability :)

Great post, Jen!

Oh to Be a Muse said...

I haven't had any experiences like these and I hope to never have any, but I totally see where you are coming from. It's better to live smartly by using the buddy system, not running when it's too dark, being aware of your surroundings, etc. But you don't want to limit yourself from living either. Don't let anyone or anything keep you living in fear because you only get one life.

p.s. I love Target and would certainly go with you.

Rachel Jensen {Da Paura ♥} said...

I live in fear too. There is nowhere in the US that's safe. I don't even feel comfortable taking a jog alone by the beach here in San Diego. One woman was stabbed in daylight at like 3pm at a busy mall here. One girl went for a jog in the afternoon at a park I used to walk my dog and she was raped and murdered. There's nowhere safe!!!!

Anonymous said...

The world is definitely wild and scary. And especially to women. So many individual and group pressure on women these days... Sometime I feel sorry for the young generation and wonder what their life will be in some years (Middle Ages? "Witches" burnt at stake / stoned? Birth control made almost illegal?) What a world! Fight, young Lady / Ladies, fight like your mothers and grand mothers did. It's not a fight against men, It's a fight against ignorance and intolerance!
Good luck,
Anne Touraine

t said...

This is SUCH a poignant post! Thank you for shedding light on such important matters. I think we're all susceptible to focusing on trivial things from time to time and it's important for reminders like this.


Anonymous said...

My perfectly normal, nice, friendly upstairs neighbor went nuts one night in April and murdered his two friends who were visiting. I drove home from work to a swat team pointing guns at my apartment (which is a house converted into apartments) and a helicopter circling the sky. I was pretty traumatized by the whole event and I'm also paranoid now.

Mona (Mabel)
Guide to Pin-Up Style & Makeup

Johanna said...

So I'm not the only one being scared of the world. Comforting, and still, not so comforting. There are so many crazy people out there, snapping at people they don't even know... But on the other hand, mostly it's not the total strangers that are the worst, but the ones you know from somewhere.

Oh wait, that's not comforting at all...

I meant probably to say that after all, the number of crazy people is quite small, meaning that you have to be really unlucky to get killed, raped or such. Thank God.

Mouthwash said...

Did I ever tell you the story about a guy who stalked me around Marshalls and then followed me out to my car?


OMG - and yes, I think the world IS getting scarier...It really DID used to be a big deal when terrible things happen. But just last year a college girl was kidnapped here in CA, and later found stuffed into a wall...and that news is just *so* yesterday now. Shit still freaks me out.

Poor kitten. I want to squeeze it. In a nice way.

jos xx said...

My neighbourhood is quite safe thank god. however, i tend to get scared when i walk alone at night!


Kitty Moore said...

I feel that way too and I'm too paranoid to let my 12 year old daughter go anywhere on her own. I even drop her off at school and pick her up every day. I wish the world were a safer place but it's not and I would rather overcompensate every time x

Fashion Tales said...

I try not to live in fear, although at times yes, like so many have said here I too get paranoid, but only because I was attacked several years ago. It was horrifying and I fought the two guys off, the police said that because of my fight it saved my life. Probably one of the scariest feelings I've ever had to go through. However, even with precautions which I have always taken it really can happen to anyone and anywhere, since I've lived in many cities/countries I think as women it's important for us to be cautious of our surroundings, be smart during travelling, etc. But I also refuse to let my experience inhibit me from enjoying life. I was blessed that the little self-defense sessions I took payed off.

Gayatri said...

I am exactly like you! Have you read The Gift of Fear?

It basically teaches you to trust your instincts which will sometimes tell you that something is "off". It is especially helpful for women because we as humans have the ability to detect danger, even though sometimes it won't make sense. We are afraid of coming across as rude so we continue talking to a creepy stranger. We give directions to someone on a deserted street even though we should simply keep walking. You get my point. This book teaches you to know the difference between paranoia and true fear.

For years now, whenever I'm home alone, I've been checking every inch of the house as soon as I walk in, incl under the bed. I keep my phone on hand all the times and INSISTED that I will not live in a house but a building with keycard entrance when I moved to Dallas. Sometimes it makes me feel like an idiot, but I keep doing it anyway. Even back in Chicago, we had a very polite and sweet maintenance guy. One day as I was picking up clothes from the dryer he asked me if I was home alone and I immediately felt something was wrong, so I said no.

So yeah, if you can, read this book. It is awesome.

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