opinion

Women were asked what they would do if men had a 9pm curfew. The result is heartbreaking.

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.

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

Here are just a few of the responses.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

It’s hard not to feel a simmering rage upon reading these tweets. The point they’re all making is simple: we just want to live without fear.

And right now, a male curfew is just as much a fantasy as feeling safe at night is.

But, at the very least, these discussions are giving men a chance to see the world through our eyes.

And that’s some comfort, because if we someday want to achieve equality, we all need to be on the same side.

What you do if all men had a 9pm curfew? Tell us in the comments below.

00:00 / ???