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Close call: These women have escaped some truly terrifying situations.

Ask almost any young woman and she can tell you a story of a time she didn’t feel safe in public.

Maybe it was an unsolicited comment while she was walking home, maybe she had to cross through the park alone at night, maybe it was a much-too-persistent dude at the club or maybe she was followed on her way out.

There are certain tricks and rituals we use to ward off danger, obviously they shouldn’t be necessary, but the reality is a lot of us feel at risk, a lot of the time.

Often it’s the secret gestures of solidarity from other women which make us feel the most secure.

“I was at the club once and my friend left with her boyfriend so I finished my drink and was heading out to the parking lot when three girls came up and basically surrounded me,” Hannah Quinn Horr writes in a widely shared Facebook post.

“‘Those guys were talking about following you. We can walk with you’,” she wrote they told her.

Horr says it was the first time she’d been offered protection by her own gender, “this is so important.”

A third of young Australian women say they don't feel safe at night. Source: iStock

She was inspired to share her story after reading a series of Tumblr posts from other women about all the times the sisterhood had had their backs.

It started with a story from a 21-year-old woman who, at 14, was harassed by a group of men after hours in the shopping centre where she worked.

"I said 'I'm only 14' and almost in unison they said 'we don’t care'. I was so fucking scared I didn't know what to do and they kept talking about how I looked and how my body looked and what they would do I was on the verge of tears," she writes in the post.

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She says she was feeling totally hopeless until one of the maintenance workers arrived with a giant broom in her hand.

At first, she thought the woman was going to yell at the whole group for making a ruckus, but instead she swore at them men and threatened to press the panic button on the belt.

"She looked so strong and I just kept saying thank you and she kept saying not to thank her because she had to stop them.

"That was the moment I realized women were the most important beings on this planet and we have to protect each other because nobody else is going to. She didn't even know me... she could have lost her job for waiting with me in the parking lot but she looked out for me when she didn't have to, she had nothing to gain from it."

Aziz Ansari perfectly sums up the difference between men and women walking home in Master of None:

Another woman recalls being at the supermarket late one night and having an old man stare at her as she walked out, next to another woman she didn't know.

"She and I made eye contact and I knew she was scared too," she writes.

"We loaded up our groceries into our cars as fast as possible and I had way more bags than her so she got done faster than me. I panicked because I was sure she was going to leave so I just hurried faster, shaking a little, and then I noticed she sat in her car, watching me and making sure nobody came near. She waited not until all my groceries were loaded, or until my cart was put away, or until I got into my car. No, she didn't drive away until I drove away.

She explains that was the moment she realised how much women need each other, "that we can’t win this war without each other and we have to be looking out for each other, every second."

There are two stories from another woman who was living in New York.

In the first, she had gotten off the subway and hadn't realised a man was following her until another woman pointed it out.

The woman then linked arms with her and walked her home, several blocks out of her way.

In the second incident a man she didn't know grabbed her arm after she ignored him while she was walking home from a night out with a friend.

When he tried to physically drag her off, her friend ("who is, by the way, not a very physically imposing girl") ripped his hand from her arm and snarled, "don’t f*cking touch her."

"Protect your friends, protect strangers," she concludes.

Has the sisterhood had your back before?

Tags: current-affairs , news-3 , safety , women
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