Environments That Can Be Surprisingly Scary For Women And What To Do About It

October 18, 2017  |  
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There are some places that just aren’t that welcoming to women. Perhaps these venues don’t go out of their way to make women uncomfortable. But the problem is they also don’t go out of their way to make women comfortable, and perhaps they should. For those men who need a reality check, women are at least a little bit uncomfortable every time we step out our front door. Heck, we don’t have to leave our homes to feel afraid—we can just go on the Internet to get a good scare. By nature, most men can physically overpower most women. That’s just how the genders are built. Men have no idea what it’s like walking around in life with the knowledge that if a man just decided they wanted to attack them, there’d be little they could do about it. And men make up around 50 percent of the population. If you own a business, stop asking yourself, “What did I do wrong?” and start asking yourself, “What can I do right, to make women feel more at ease here?” Here are environments that can be scary for women and what can be done.

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The gym

We’re sweating, jumping, bending over, and groaning, all while wearing spandex and in front of men. Women can feel so self-conscious at the gym. Let’s be honest: we know every time we just sit on a medicine ball that somebody in that gym is having nasty thoughts. It’s hard to just focus on our workouts without worrying about being gawked at.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What you can do

Gyms should have strict no harassment and even no gawking policies. Simply having signs up that state members should not bother other members, or do anything to make other members uncomfortable, will make leering men check themselves. These signs can hold the worst offenders accountable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Parking lots

Parking lots can be very frightening for women. When we get in and out of our cars, we usually don’t have the opportunity to look around us and see if anyone is approaching. If we’re in a parking lot at night, this is even more frightening. And at any time of day, somebody could write down our license number and attempt to track us down, or follow us home.

 

 

 

 

 

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What you can do

If you own a business, dedicate some money to your parking area. Turn on scheduled or motion sensor bright lights at night. Notify your security guards that they can and should offer to walk people to their cars. Set up a few security cameras in the parking lot to deter criminal activity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nightclubs

I hope I live to see the day when women can do the most basic of human joys—dance—without worrying about someone putting something in their drink or grabbing them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What you can do

Ask security guards to pay special attention to women who may be harassed or bothered on the dance floor. Put some sort of system in play by which women can store their drinks while they dance. Maybe you can give patrons little drink charms to help them identify their cocktails, and ask bartenders to set up a special area to keep drinks safe for women who want to put them down for a while.

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful young african american woman sitting in car and looking at camera

Car dealerships

If you’re a woman who has ever bought a car then you know the disgusting feeling when you arrive on the car lot. You can just feel the men leering, and thinking you’re an easy target for upsells and ripoffs. Even if you know how to handle this, it’s infuriating that you have to handle it when you should just be focusing on getting a good deal.

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What you can do

Hire more female sales representatives. It’s that simple. If you own a car dealership, stop relying on men to intimidate women into paying too much and instead hire female sales reps who can develop an honest communication with female customers. I promise you your customers and sales reps will be happier. If a male sales rep intimidates a woman into paying too much, you got money that time, but she isn’t coming back, and she’s warning her friends about the place. You want return customers.

 

 

 

 

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Comedy shows

I’m hard-pressed to find a comedy show in Los Angeles in which there isn’t something like a rape joke or slut-shaming in the whole 90 minutes. I recognize that the acts change every night and there are many comics on every show, but I can’t deny that there is a pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What you can do

Comedy club owners are allowed to set rules about the type of material that’s performed at their club. If a club owner takes a hard stance against booking comics who perpetuate rape culture or slut-shaming, it’ll do his club more good than harm. That is a move that will get the club a lot of great press and make female patrons safer attending.

 

 

Bigstockphoto.com/Female architect and construction worker looking at laptop together

Construction zones

Construction zones can be scary for women on many fronts. First off, they’re unsafe areas by nature. There are sharp tools and gaping holes everywhere. Second off, some construction companies don’t do background checks on their workers and there is no knowing whom they’re putting in and around the homes of their clients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bigstockphoto.com/A construction worker or foreman at a construction site with blue prints and a hard hat

What you can do

Construction companies should run full background checks on all of their workers and put employees through a mandatory training on how to interact with customers. If this training has to involve stating, “No leering, no whistling, no asking customers out and no cat calling” so be it. Often, male employees do these things just because they think they can get away with it, because nobody ever told them not to.

 

 

 

 

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Restaurant kitchens

Restaurants can often be full of sexual harassment, but the owners don’t even know it. Restaurant owners, after all, can be rather hands-off. They leave most supervision to a manager and just stop in a couple times a day to check on things. Meanwhile, the managers themselves, along with the other staff, could be guilty of sexual harassment. When staff is buzzing around each other in the kitchen, it’s easy to let comments fly and hands go where they shouldn’t.

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What you can do

Restaurant owners should call a meeting with their female employees and tell them they should feel comfortable reporting any behavior that makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Often, women don’t report sexual harassment simply because they don’t think management or their superiors will have their backs.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sports bars

Women like sports bars just as much as men do! Of course, you wouldn’t know it based on the turnout. Look: women have less testosterone running through our veins. When our team doesn’t score, we don’t become so angry that we pick fights with people at the neighboring table or take our aggression out on our dates through verbal abuse. We’re not hardwired that way. But we suffer that behavior often at sports bars.

 

 

 

 

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What you can do

Sports bar owners should want to protect their property and their customers. Putting up signs that state, “Any persons who engage in a fight—physical or verbal—will be removed from the premises” can deter a lot of this aggressive behavior and make women feel that the management at the establishment will stand up for them.

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