Though my soul may set in darkness,
- it will rise in perfect light.
I have loved the stars too fondly
to be fearful of the night.
(excerpt from Sarah Willams’ “The Old Astronomer to His Pupil”)
Shelley Fralic’s article advises women that they shouldn’t go out at night because “the night has always belonged to the diabolical and demonic, to the Jack the Rippers and Willie Picktons, to the blackguards and predators, to those for whom evil is their human nature.”
What would be your response, if you learned that 60% per cent of sexual assaults occur in a private home? (D. Kinnon, “Report on Sexual Assault in Canada,” Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Ottawa, 1981).
Furthermore, I reference a recent sexual assault, when I argue that sexual violence is not an exclusively nighttime affair. This recent assault occurred at 5:30 p.m..
So, Shelley Fralic, when you say that you “learned to avoid the dark corners of the world”, you’re suggesting that women should learn the same complicated lesson?? Thanks, for the advice…
Contrary to popular belief, the recent sexual assault at UBC are not about lessons that young women should learn about their personal safety and the dangers of going outside. Like Fralic, women know that going outside at night could be dangerous.
Instead, the recent sexual assaults shed light on the lack of preventative justice within the Canadian Justice System, which is a lesson that authorities need to learn and an issue that needs to be fixed.
Fralic refers to her own realization, while simultaneously giving the vintage advice:
“I learned that, sadly, there are no safe streets, and there never have been and that, after all these years and all those Take Back The Night marches, evil never goes away and that it’s up to me, as much as anyone else, to do everything I can to avoid becoming a victim”.
This isn’t anything new, nor is it helpful. It’s not a matter of realizing that the world is an unsafe place, and then simply accepting it. To quote Celia Haig-Brown, “people rarely comply fully and easily to the introduction of oppression”, and the oppression within this ever-going advice, that women should stay inside at night, is no exception.
So yes, Fralic, police forces, and all of those other wise individuals who assume that staying inside will equate to the demise of sexual violence against women, you are right to say that the “dark corners of the world” are unsafe. However, what separates the active from the idle, the oppressed from the liberated, the passive from the active, is resistance, and not sitting back and letting injustices happen to half of the world’s population.