When you’re a little girl, being afraid of the dark is to be scared of monsters under the bed, or a ghost howling in the loft.
When you grow up, the night still brings fear. But it’s a fear of something corporeal, something far more terrifying: a fear of a certain kind of man.
Because for every throng of good men – and most are – there are the few bad ones who threaten, stalk, harass and attack women, oftentimes choosing the darker hours to do so. And it sucks.
Our fears lead us to take desperate measures to stay safe: not walking alone at night, paying for taxis, clenching keys in our fists, buying pepper spray. We’ve seen conversations about this play out in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement, and following the murder of 22-year-old Eurydice Dixon as she walked home through a Melbourne park on a Tuesday night.
These precautionary steps are ones we shouldn’t have to take. Rather, men should stop raping and murdering.
But the sad reality is, right now, we don’t feel safe.
And a viral tweet has captured exactly this sentiment.
Ladies, a question for you:
“What would you do if all men had a 9pm curfew?”
— Danielle Muscato (@DanielleMuscato) September 25, 2018
The timing is poignant. Danielle Muscato, a US civil rights activist, fired off her question in the same week Bill Cosby was sentenced for sexual assault, and Christine Blasey Ford bravely gave testimony accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual abuse.
‘What would you do if all men had a 9pm curfew?’
The answers to this hypothetical question have been heartbreaking in their simplicity. Because the truth is, we just want to be able to do completely ordinary things after dark, without the weight of our normalised, gendered anxieties.