#MeToo and the Recently Widowed

I’m not going to share my own metoo stories.  Suffice it to say I have them, as does almost every woman everywhere.

What I would like to discuss is a revelation I was in the midst of having when the metoo movement started.

Jesus, it’s scary out there for single women.

It’s scary enough for married women.  I always check my backseat before opening the car door.  I lock the car as soon as I get in.  I only wear one headphone when I go for a walk.  Being married, however, much like being plain or overweight, can provide a somewhat false sense of security.  Knowing that I had a husband at home, or upstairs, or right next to me, reduced the feelings of constant fear that come with being a woman.

I didn’t realize how much less my fear was until that security blanket was gone.

I am planning a couple of road trips, family vacations with me and the boys.  I hesitate.  Is it safe?  Can a woman and her kids travel, stay in a hotel, eat in roadside diners?  I have never had this fear before.  Trey was always with us.

We are home alone every night.  When the neighborhood dogs bark, what are they barking at?  If I hear people talking loudly in the street, should I be afraid?  Should I call 911?  I can’t go and investigate.  I have to sit inside my house and wait for the noises to go away.

I take my dog for walks, and wonder if I should carry pepper spray.  I’ve determined I cannot bring myself to carry a gun.

When my husband died and my fear of being victimized expanded, I realized that men don’t have these fears.  I never thought about it before.  But when I noticed how much my own fears had been dampened just by the presence of a man in my life, when I realized how it becomes almost paralyzing —

How is it that we all are not agoraphobic?

I know lots of single women, and women who travel for work, etc. without an escort.  How do they do it?  How do they overcome the fear and get out there?

Men don’t have this fear, and that blows me away.  With the current dialogue around the #metoo postings, it has become clear that not only do men not have these fears, many of them are not aware of it.  They have no idea that just being a man makes them safe.  That they are so safe compared to us that just having a trusted man in our lives mutes the fear that infuses our every day. How is that possible?

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