Why my solo female clients ask me, ‘Is this trail safe?’

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With yet another public figure in the limelight regarding his conduct while in a position of power towards a member of the opposite sex, I’ve been reflecting on my feelings around this issue, in context with BookMyTrail and my majority of solo female clients.

The fact that light is being shone in dark places, with Presidents, Prime Ministers and men, previously untouchable through both money and layers of fear is, in my opinion remarkable.

The term ‘witch hunt’ is thrown about by men who, simply fail to grasp the issue and why the #metoo hashtag is so important.

Calling #metoo a witch hunt is ironic if you ask me especially when it was the witch hunt which was genderized mass murder killing hundreds of thousands of women globally.

Witch Hunt, or justified, and long overdue outcry from women who have had enough and are no longer prepared to just accept the norms of male interaction? I’ll go with the latter, and I believe that if you have nothing to fear, and nothing to hide then why not support the #metoo movement.

However, as a man who feels safe walking through a woodland in the dark, who can sit on public transport without fear of abuse, and who can be sure to return home in one piece, I count myself lucky.

It’s hard to really imagine what it must feel like knowing the person walking behind me could easily overpower me if they wanted to. Or that the individual on the seat behind me on the bus, breathing down my neck is considering trying to make an unwanted advance on me.

As men, we just don’t generally have these worries.

But women do. And having solidarity, empathy and complete understanding towards that IS important.

It was actually a post on Instagram from one of the female hiking related accounts I follow called ‘Kate Gone Walking’ (follow here!).

Some language toned down

“Don’t tell me to smile. Don’t tell me to calm down. Don’t tell me that women flirt with you too. Are you afraid that they will wait for you in the parking lot, grab you from behind, cover your mouth, drag you through the dark to rape you? Have you learned the kind of math you need to do to calculate in an instant whether or not it is more safe to pretend to take someone’s number or act like you aren’t disgusted by their advances in order to make it home intact? 9 out of every 10 rape victims is female. It is apparent that most men can’t understand that they are the reason for this rape culture, which affects every female regardless of whether they have ever been raped. I used to smile at everyone, out of joy. But I’ve taught myself not to smile, out of fear. If you are a man and are offended by this message, it’s for you.”

That caught me, as I am a man, and I just don’t have to worry about any of the above, yet I am in a position where women, ask me ‘Is this trail safe for women walking alone?’.

Flippantly I say yes believing to have understood why I’ve been asked but honestly, I don’t think I have.

When I reply to that question in the future I will remember the real concern, and reason behind the question. The fact that a female client asks that question in the first instance is a shame on menkind.

Thanks for reading.

Matt

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