Today I read too much about Elliot Rodger.

Then I was reading #YesAllWomen on Twitter, and then I drank some more beer and wrote some feelings.

Possibly triggery.

How to avoid becoming a statistic

1 in 5, I read,
1 in 5, which are not odds you’d play if we were talking
plane crashes (1 in 11 million),
shark attacks (1 in 3.7 million),
lightning strikes (1 in 500,000),
or fatal car accidents (1 in 5,000),
but they are the odds you play when you cast
a bumpy shadow, and you
step outside.
They are the odds when the sun is shining,
or not,
and you are accompanied,
or not.
Yes: all women know the odds,
if not the statistics,
and that is why we fly airplanes
and SCUBA dive
and chase tornadoes
and press our feet against the pedals but
tug on our hemlines,
walk against traffic,
let the meager key chafe between our fingers.

“What is the first thing you do,” my mother asked from the passenger seat,
“when you get into a car?”
Start the ignition, I said.
“No.”
Ah, a trick question:
buckle my seat belt.
Turn on the headlights?
Check my mirrors? No,
she said, and no,
and no. The first thing, said my mother,
looking straight ahead, through the safety glass and into
every headline, is
“Lock the door.”

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Comments

  1. Don Rutledge says:

    Exactly! Lock that door… always be prepared.
    It’s a shame that women in the 21st century must be so vigilant, but it is
    a fact.

  2. Anonymous says:

    My mother told me the same thing. A friend was taught to drive by her father and he said to always start the car first. So interesting how perspectives can differ…

  3. My mom taught me to – before you get into the car – look both into the back seat and underneath the car. THEN get into the car.

    And, yeah, it’s actually good advice. I had a friend who was raped by a two-man rape team, one of which hid under cars to grab women’s feet and pull them off balance while the other one jumped out and pinned her to the ground.

    Making it TO the car is the first step to POSSIBLY being safe. In it with the doors locked and the engine running and you are alone or with your voluntarily chosen friends – THAT is when you are safe.

    And a small part of me whispers, well, maybe. Maybe you’re safe….

    • Charlotte A. Cavatica says:

      Oh my god, my mother warned me about men hiding under cars, too, in the wake of several women getting jumped that way. It seems so ludicrous to think about, but I’m horrified to read now that it’s actually a thing that happened. Ugh. I’m so sorry about your friend.

  4. Ok, my last comment got deleted so now I have to type it all out again. *sigh*

    I lock my door shortly after getting in to a car too. Either first thing, or last thing before I put it into gear and start moving. I lock the car door every single time.

    My partner never locks the car door.

    I’m male. My partner is female.

    In my humble opinion, it’s just a good basic piece of safety to do regardless of ones gender.

    It’s something I started doing of my own accord after reading about a couple in a rather non-descript car getting carjacked by someone weilding a knife after they pulled up to a set of lights just a few blocks from where I live. I live in one of the safest suburbs/lowest crime suburbs in Sydney, Australia.

    I’ve also heard stories from friends (plural) who have pulled up at lights and had elderly strangers get in to their car and insist on being driven to a destination, and leaving a rather disgusting unsanitary mess in the car if the friend said no. Seriously.

    I always lock my car before I take off to go anywhere, and if I don’t, I curse myself when I pull up at my destination to discover unlocked doors.

  5. Wonderfully clear writing, pleasure to read. Women have to be very careful also in Ireland not to become a sad statistic!

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  1. […] friend Charlotte is a badass. A dickhead was a shit to her today, and she made a video about it that inspired me to draw another […]

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