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Take Back the Night, Take Back the News

On Friday night around 3 am, a woman who lives on the same street corner I do was forced into her apartment at knifepoint, sexually assaulted and robbed. I live in a predominately white, wealthy neighborhood in Boston- known for beautiful brick townhouses, and the historical sites popping up every couple of cobblestone-laden blocks. Soon enough, the news teams flooded the neighborhood spouting words like “shocked”, “scared”, and “surprised” into their microphones as fast as they could. The word that they all implied, but never speak out loud, was “blame”.

On Sunday afternoon, I was stopped and asked to give a quote for an article about the attack. After my brief conversation with the Boston.com reporter, the question he’d posed lingered in my head for hours. “What will you be doing differently after this attack?”

The implication of this question is that if the young woman who has suffered this gruesome and terrifying invasion had been more aware, hadn’t been out so late, had been more prepared, etc., then this wouldn’t have happened to her. That going forward, I should take what happened to her as a lesson in the ways of the world, accept that a man could choose to violate my safety and privacy as he sees fit, and prepare myself for that possibility. As a young woman living alone in a major city, I try my best to keep myself safe. But this woman wasn’t attacked because of her lack of preparedness ...