I Can’t Cross My Grad School Campus At Night Because I’m A Woman

I wasn’t going to tell anyone, but silence is akin to complacency, and the women who have suffered deserve better.

Brianna Bennett
Sep 9, 2019 · 3 min read
Image for post
Image for post
Anything can be hiding in those shadows. // Photo credit: Rene Asmussen on Pexels.

was the night after Labor Day, the official start of classes. A friend of mine and I were catching up, as we hadn’t seen each other since the end of the previous semester.

The weather was sticky and hot; moisture clung to my skin like a fur coat. Scents of late summer stung my nostrils; rain, asphalt, and something like barbecue. Distant car horns and closer train whistles clanged in my eardrums, but in a comforting & familiar way.

Before I knew it, we’d walked to the opposite side of campus from my car.

“Hey, do you want a ride to your car?”

“No, I think I’ll be fine.”

She hesitated, and I’m so thankful she did. Somehow, in that moment, the distance between me and my car seemed insurmountable.

It was clear that we were thinking the same thing as I stared into the distance. What if something happened? What if someone saw an opportunity and took it? What if my life changed irrevocably in those few minutes?

“Actually, it’s kind of dark…”

“Yeah, it is.” she agreed, and we continued walking, now with a purpose, to her car. “Sorry about the mess, half of it is mine, half of it is my boyfriend’s…”

She took me to my car, which probably would have been a ten minute walk on my own, but I felt so much better that I hadn’t had to do it alone.

Image for post
Image for post

an outsider, this story might seem anticlimactic. Sorry to say, I didn’t become a victim of those especially heinous crimes investigated by Olivia Benson on Law and Order: SVU.

Actually, no. I’m not sorry. I’m grateful that I didn’t end up at a crime scene.

I shouldn’t have to say that.

It doesn’t matter that my graduate school is a private Catholic college.

“A Catholic school identity does not stop sexual assault. Policies against sexual intimacy don’t stop assault.”

— National Catholic Reporter

It doesn’t matter that it’s located in a well-to-do suburban area.

Newsflash: crime can happen anywhere.

It doesn’t matter what I was wearing, or whether I’d been drinking.

(FYI: shorts and a t-shirt and not a drop of alcohol, thank you very much.)

What does matter is that I’m a young woman, and because of the current administration, I don’t feel safe walking across campus by myself.

There have been several instances that I’ve considered calling an escort from campus public safety. However, I’ve never done it because I’m afraid I won’t be believed.

And if I’m afraid I won’t be believed, what does that say about actual victims?

Fortunately, I’ve never been a victim of sexual assault. Whether I’ve been a victim of harassment is debatable, but that’s not an article for today.

The fact of the matter is that I can’t cross my graduate school campus at night because I’m afraid of what might happen to me because I’m a woman. Go ahead. Tell me I’m being dramatic.

I dare you.

Image for post
Image for post

Become a Tweep: littlebutfierc3 // Read with me on IG: littlebut_fierc3

Fearless She Wrote

This is a space to empower differences, tell our stories…

Brianna Bennett

Written by

Self-published author, true crime aficionado, and more! https://linktr.ee/booksby_bri

Fearless She Wrote

This is a space to empower differences, tell our stories, and share our lives together. We will not be silenced. We will be fearless. And we will write.

Brianna Bennett

Written by

Self-published author, true crime aficionado, and more! https://linktr.ee/booksby_bri

Fearless She Wrote

This is a space to empower differences, tell our stories, and share our lives together. We will not be silenced. We will be fearless. And we will write.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store