Feminism

Over 400 Women Shared What They Would Do At Night If They Weren’t Afraid.

Recently I started watching a show called I Survived on YouTube that tells the stories of 3 people that survived horrific situations. One day I was reading the comments, and someone remarked, “Isn’t it funny that most of the men on this show survived some catastrophic accident, an animal attack, or a natural disaster while most of the women survived men attacking them.” I thought about all the episodes that I watched, and it was true. Many women told harrowing tales of being kidnapped, sexually assaulted, beaten, and left for dead, yet somehow, they found the will to survive their attack and tell their story. 

As I watched the show,  I was taken aback by how everyday events turned so horrific. In one episode, a woman was in her garden planting roses, and the next minute she was being kidnapped. It made me think about my life and how cautious I am in my garden. In fact, it made me think about how careful I am doing anything. How so much of my life is dictated by what lurks in the dark.

I look forward to summer because I know the days will be longer, and I can stay outside in my garden, go to the store after 6, or take my trash out at night. I enjoy every minute of the daylight, knowing that the seasons will change, fall and winter will come, and as many women do, I will go back underground, hurrying up to finish my tasks before the sun goes down, making sure that I have left my porch light on so I don’t come home in the dark, running from the car to my house angry that my door won’t open faster. 

When I thought about the show and my own life, I thought I would ask women if they could do any activity at night, what would they do? Over 400 women answered this question, and below are some of their answers. As I started copying their replies, I got very sad.  What struck me is that women want to do everyday, basic things like walk or jog, go camping, listen to music with both earphones in, stargaze. Women want to live. As one person said, “I want to walk on the dark side of the street.” 

However, it is like women are trapped when the sun goes down.  We are not living our lives to the fullest, not because it is dark but because of men lurking in the dark. I realized, it is not the dark that frightens us; it is the fear of men’s actions in the darkness. I pray one day we live in a world where women can just live, and we do not have to be afraid of what lurks in the dark, who hides in the shadows, and things that go bump in the night.

  • Walk. It’s cool and quiet. Maybe smoke and some wine in the park on a blanket. Under the full moon.
  • I just wanted to be able to go for walks
  • Put up a hammock and sip sweet tea in the moonlight. Southern girl’s guilty pleasure
  • Garden
  • Sit on the front porch naked smoking a cigar!
  • Sleep outside of my house all night in my hammock
  • I was going to say sleep out in a tent or hammock just for fun, or go on late night walks. I’m a night owl and I love being outside at night for a good walk when I can’t sleep. I felt safe going on walks anytime of night in NYC. I’d never do that here.
  • Go walking to smell the flowers blooming at night.
  • Meditate naked
  • Shop. I always feel like I have to be home before dark, especially since I have to watch out for myself and my daughter. I’d just like to push a buggy through the parking lot to my car without being scared.
  • I would take night walks in the woods, by the river, or in secluded natural areas. It would be amazing. Nighttime is my most available free time, so this outdoor solitude is especially difficult to come by for me. I’d also go camping solo and travel much more!
  • Walk everywhere
  • Play man-hunt. 
  • Dance and walk at parks…sit by a lake or river
  • Ride my bike or just go for a walk. Alone.
  • Meditate in the mountains under a full moon naked. Go skinny dipping in a lake. Be like left eye swinging in the jungle.
  • I’d love to go for walks at night after dark, but I wouldn’t feel safe.
  • Walk & bike as many places as possible. Also, more social activities. Shows, concerts, restaurants, bars (when pandemic risks are reasonable).
  • Go hiking and camping alone.
  • Go to the river front with some friends, sip wine, and laugh for hours without worry
  • Be naked wherever I wanted, skinny dipping at a public pool. Or just walk in the neighborhood at night, stop at a bar by myself and enjoy a few drinks and walk home by myself. Just be free.
  • Walk. Pump gas at night. Go to restaurants.
  • Take a walk while puffing and observe the sky
  • sleep all night on my patio. It has a fence but anyone could get over it and I’d never be able to go sound asleep and stay asleep.
  • Walk, exercise, go to the store, etc.
  • Live my life. 
  • I have faced the same evil in day and night…So, I do what I please in the dark where I please but, I wish I could be topless you know, like ever.
  • Go to a park and lay in the grass with my blanket, look up at the stars and talk with God under the moonlight
  • Ride my bike by the river. It is cooler and easier to breathe at night, especially in the spring and summer.
  • I would walk around my neighborhood when I can’t sleep at 3 am. I work 2nd shift so when I get off and am full of energy the only thing to do is go to a bar. I don’t always want to go to a bar, I want to go on a walk and look at the stars and all the cute animals in my neighborhood. But I can’t and it SUCKS
  • do everything that I do in the daylight in the dark without fear
  • Take a walk with headphones on. Sit by the lake.
  • Be naked
  • Walking anywhere
  • Do nighttime photography
  • Go walking after a rain. Things look smell and sound fresh
  • I would not worry about others being intimidated by my presence. I am a tall, fat, dark-skinned, smart, outspoken, black woman with a deep voice. If I did not have to shrink for others, I would show others that I am afraid, looking for affirmation, and want to help everyone be free.
  • Walk. Or sit on the beach after sunset and listen to the waves under the moon. And something as basic as walking to my car in the parking lot at night after work without holding my keys between my fingers
  • Walk through a park.
  • Lay in the cool grass and just look up at the stars. I did that when I lived in Montana in the middle of nowhere. I just had to worry about wildlife that would kill me.
  • Sleep with my windows open, Star gaze, walk the riverfront, take my trash out, Nap in a hammock (during the day).
  • I just want to do regular things I don’t have plans for the night but like taking Cinnamon out stops at 6 in the winter and 8 in the summer
  • Go out and walk, take pictures, go on night time picnics, and even go out and party sometimes. I would be more comfortable using the recreational substances of my choice without worrying someone might take advantage of my altered state, same with dressing how I would really love to dress
  • Enjoy an open window
  • Walk around alone, anytime, anywhere, dressed any way I want in crowded areas or secluded areas. Maybe I would lay down and gaze at the stars, collect fireflies, or sit by the ocean or river and meditate.
  • Night photography!
  • I would leave my garage door up while I watched my grandkids play in the driveway.
  • Walk my dogs by myself after sunset.
  • I would love to go to the grocery store late at night to shop, or go walking down by the river…just not feel nervous or afraid around people
  • I’d go for a jog by myself just as the sun is setting and not worry bout jogging back without a man with me. 
  • Just live, day or night, without constantly observing your surroundings! Walk through a parking lot without holding my keys as a weapon! Not having a feeling of panic as you load your groceries in a hurry! Taking a walk alone at a park. Going to a reststop restroom while on the road without fear of being snatched up and trafficked! Getting pulled over, especially at night, without fear of being sexually abused! The list goes on and on!
  • Run with my headphones in.
  • Go to a field and run through it with my bare feet with my arms open like Ceely & Netty in the color purple!!! I’ve always wanted to do that
  • Go to the 24 hour gym. 
  • As a kid we used to play flashlight tag and other games when it got dark. I really hate that it’s not safe to take my grandchildren outside after dark and have fun.
  • Walk my dog in the park
  • Go shopping or for a walk
  • Roller skate while listening to music
  • I would go to a park or to a cemetery alone. I would lay down, listen to music, and sing. Maybe even take a nap.
  • Late night walks
  • Walk my dog with headphones in
  • Leave my window open when I sleep, walk/jog, take my trash out.
  • Sleep with the windows open, sit on the porch, walk the dog, run
  • I’d love to go for walks to nearby places and just sit outside, drink coffee, and talk until the wee hours of the morning.
  • Downtown at night I find moving. I love the city streets over a full moon. The walking bridge is so nice in the evenings. But I can’t do this alone. I used to paint at waterfront park, can’t do that alone anymore, very surprised I did it in my 20’s no issues. I have fears walking in out of stores now much less taking a stroll anywhere past dusk.
  • Take a walk through my neighborhood or in a park
  • I want to be able to walk alone, with my headphones in. Sit alone in a park. Take walks at night. I love nighttime and early, early mornings, but I don’t always get to enjoy them they way I’d like.
  • I’d walk my dogs in the summer when it’s too hot during the day.
  • Walk for exercise or to just clear my head
  • Travel alone to a foreign country and live abroad for a year.
  • Wear headphones in both ears while I do anything in public!
  • I have a medical condition which means my body can’t regulate my temperature well. In summer, I’d walk or run in the middle of the night.
  • Go running. It’s too hot in the summer to jog during the day so I wish I could do it at night or very early in the morning.
  • Enjoy a summer nighttime walk around the neighborhood
  • I’d go on long runs on summer nights.
  • Walk, dance or yoga and talk to people
  • Be in public and open spaces, day and especially at night. I never go for a walk by myself. I always buddy up. I’m a survivor of an attempted abduction and my spidey sense is … sensitive ever since then.
  • Take my dog for a walk, with my two young sons, in our neighborhood
  • Walk in my neighborhood. There are beautiful historic homes all around me and I need the exercise. but honestly, Light or dark, I’m apprehensive about walking in my hood.
  • Walk around the neighborhoods, especially when my dogs want to! 
  • Go to my car after work without a racing heartbeat and keys between my fingers.
  • ’ve gotten more timid the last few years but if I had the fitness I’d love to ride mtb trails in the dark again.
  • Just the fear alone is overpowering so without it would be so calming and amazing.
  • Walk
  • Take a walk. 
  • Walk to my car in peace, stay out visiting friends/family any time of day, walk in my neighborhood (absolutely beautiful), walk across the Big 4 Bridge alone, walk in my courtyard, stargaze, go to stores (especially those in walking distance) that are open during night hours. Whatever my heart desires.
  • Sit with both earbuds in and just watch the peaceful water. Walk in the parks without carrying, just walk period without fear and anxiety
  • Take a walk 
  • Just take a walk or sit on my porch.
  • Travel and enjoy nightlife alone
  • Walk in the woods at night. But honestly, just being able to walk my dog in the cool night hours in my own neighborhood would be such freedom.
  • I’d love to go on night walks.
  • Sleep outside all night.
  • Sit on the waterfront and write
  • Run at night. Just had that mental battle. It feels so good outside and I’d love to run at night. Sadly, night time visibility is the least of my concerns.
  • Camping with my kids.
  • Cry nude…I’m free…nothing holding me back, not even the clothing….it’s so damn cathartic yet I think it would be even more freeing to express in the light 
  • To be honest, lay in my backyard, naked( its my thing) listening to music with headphones
  • Do mushrooms at night in the woods by myself while listening to music. Relax my shoulders. Meander. Unclench my jaw.
  • Sleep in a hammock
  • I want to not worry about men following me on the road. I want to come home late at night and not feel like I have to look over my shoulder until I’m safely inside. I want to go for walks alone with my dog. I want to feel safe by myself.
  •  I would walk at night especially in the winter when it gets dark early. I would walk downtown (medical campus area) to find lunch. I would pay for the cheaper parking garage that is four more blocks away, save money, and feel like I wasn’t a target while wearing heels. I would just sit in a public place without fear of harassment or making myself a target.
  • Ride or take a walk alone
  • Just walk down the street without that gut feeling and constant vigilance.
  • Sit outside in the car and listen to music and ride and park and chill
  • Take my dogs on walks. 
  • Go for a nice long walk with my headphones in and be unafraid.
  • I would love to not have to drive certain places simply because it will be dark when I would have to walk home
  • I wish I felt safe traveling alone so I could go anywhere in the world on a whim!!!!
  • Walk when it cools down after the sun sets, walk my dog, get something at the store, drive without being followed, star  watch, moon watch, lay down in the cool grass and feel the breeze on a hot summers night, eat a root beer float in the evening completely unbothered, go watch the dusk critters get active like the bats and starlings without rushing when it gets dark dark, take a late night ferry ride to see the moon on the water……have a fire and roast marshmallows and tell ghost stories and actually get scared from those and not real life terror….
  • Sing outside at night snd not worry about it drawing attention from predators
  • I’d walk or run in the morning before work (like 4-5 am). Or after sundown.
  • Take a walk alone. Take a bike ride alone.
  • Not have to worry at extraaaa levels from sundown to sun up when my children are out with friends. Idc they are grown. “The freaks come out at night” is real.
  • Take nice walks and runs.One thing I do miss is my time at UC Santa Barbara. I felt safe to enough to walk around alone at night and it was such a beautiful experience. I’m afraid I won’t have that again.
  • Run to the ATM to deposit money for bills knowing I won’t have time during the day.
  • Get in tune with myself by meditating under the moon and stars and just enjoy the night breeze
  • Go check on an elder and not have either of us worried about them opening the door at night or me being out at night. Or when I have health issues not having to debate If I can wait until morning for Urgent Care or going now at night. Health issues happen around the clock.
  • If there was no danger go camping nude and have an orgy with women in their 30s
  • Just walk out to my car to get something I might have accidentally left in it
  • Take evening classes at the local community college for fun or for credit and not worry after each class if me or the other femme presenting folks will make it to our cars and home safely. 
  • Sleep with my windows open, lay out in my yard alone and watch the stars. Walk in parking lots after dark and not have to be worried and keep my car key between my fingers just in case.
  • Just be able to walk. Anywhere. Freely. Without a care in the world. Simple, but it sounds so refreshing. 
  • Take my trash out. 
  • A walk in the woods. 
  • Go look for things I forgot in my car. 
  • Have headphones on (and actually playing music) while walking with or without my dog
  • Just walk around. Maybe have a drink with me. Maybe sometimes go for a jog.
  • Go to the store. 
  • I would go to restaurants, movies, concerts, everywhere alone. No husband, no kids, no posse of witnesses. I would just go have dinner by myself or get a cup of coffee and sit outside and watch the cars drive by completely alone. I would eat an ice cream cone and listen to the cicadas.
  • First thing I would do is walk my dog alone at like midnight lol (but im nonbinary, they/them)
  • I’d simply like to do anything, day or night, without looking over my shoulder. I’d like to go hiking in a park with my kids on a weekday without worrying that someone will take them or me. I’d love to travel alone with all that it entails.
  • Walk. Go camping by myself and sleep in a tent. Open my windows wide and let the night breeze in.
  • Sit on my front porch or take a walk just to enjoy the night air.
  • Go for a walk. Lie in the grass and look at the stars. Walk across the grocery store parking lot without being on high alert and keys ready as a weapon.
  • Go for a walk it’s so peaceful at night time and I have insomnia so sometimes I’ll just wanna go and feel the cool Summer air and the sound of trains lol
  • Go for a full moon hike.
  • There is nothing I would love more than to be able to go to a park and walk at night and watch the moon and the stars unfold. Maybe even lay down or sit on the grass and close my eyes to meditate and become one with the earth again. I really mourn not being able to do this.
  • I just want to do anything without having to be hyper vigilant about my surroundings. It’s exhausting to constantly be on the lookout.
  • And I’d like to walk down a dark alley alone, by my friend’s house, without having to have 911 pre-dialed on my phone ready to hit send.
  • Dance
  • Solo travel without worry. Being able to roam unfamiliar places without worry. Explore without barriers. A city, beach, or countryside are a new place at night.
  • Stand in the rain. 
  • Simply take a walk at night in the cool air… winding down before turning in for the night. Detoxing my mind; unpacking any stress by walking it out.
  • I live here in Albany, Ga. The Flint River is a focal point here. Mainly because they built a Ray Charles monument and Turtle Park. Turtle Park is scenic for the children. There is also a bike trail from Albany to the next County, Leesburg. About ten years ago I wasn’t afraid to go down there and walk it anywhere between 1 and 7 am. The gun violence here has gotten so bad that I wouldn’t dare. I miss awakening to go watch the moonlit night and listening to the River. I’m afraid of the Dark now. My friends all thought that I was crazy for getting up at any time to enjoy the night. I just felt that the night is just as beautiful as the day.
  • Take a walk at night, go to a movie by myself, listen to music with headphones in.
  • even just to be able to let my dog out at night! Its so sad that simple things cause fear!
  • I feel like a broken record, but going on a walk. There is something so peaceful about the night, and (when I’m not in Louisville, surrounded by light pollution) stargazing. That is one thing I miss about the small town I lived in. The cool air, quiet, stars…hell something even as simple as porch sitting at night with the alcohol of my choice, a book and some music would be fantastic, Some others: go get something out of my car, check my mail, take out my trash, getting gas at night, being stopped at a stoplight when it’s dark and constantly checking to make sure my doors are locked, sleep with my windows open (heck, just open them in general).
  • Wear a dress… Forget all the defenses like carrying mace, holding my keys between my fingers…
  • Walk on the beach under moonlight
  • Walk barefoot through the park. Play touch football. Read and write on a blanket while sipping wine.
  • Dance barefoot, in heels, wearing whatever I want, however I want.
  • Walk my dogs. 
  • When I lived in Newman (WA), I’d walk down the end of my street on my own late at night and lie on the grass of the park to look at the stunning stars and count the shooting stars i could see. The best stress reliever, EVER. Now? I don’t check the mail after dark.
  • Go to the store after dark, when the choice is optional, and the trip is not a necessity. Not always have a purse or pockets to carry protection
  • I’d go grocery shopping. I prefer to go at night anyway, but I get too nervous when I have to carry a bunch of things. We’re taught that men could hide in our backseat, under our car, or even in another car next to us to harm us. I’m afraid I cannot defend myself if my hands are full.
  • Literally just go for a run
  • In 1983 I visited Fiji. I wasn’t allowed to walk the village at night, even at dusk. The village elders told me that a single woman walking at night was an advertisement for sex.
  • Walk outside in the dark without worries, sit outside in the dark without worries, go for a run outside in the dark without worries, sleep with my windows open, walk my dog after dark
  • Just be able to do anything after dark alone. Sit on my porch and nap
  • Sleep with the windows open, sleep in the hammock on my porch, deep sleep, the kind of sleep where you aren’t expecting sounds to wake you.
  • Walk at night with or without headphones in. Hike alone (let’s be honest I don’t hike a ton but I imagine it’d be magical).
  • Before I got married and someone else did it – take the trash out. 
  • Walk to my car after going out. 
  • Go for walks when I was pregnant or even now when I need to clear my head.
  • Go for a walk in the moonlight.
  • Camp alone, or with my kid. 
  • Listen to music while I walk outside at night.
  • I just want to go on a walk on a cool spring evening to wind down before bed
  • Allow my daughter to camp (sleep) in my front yard with her friends like we use to do as kids at my granny’s Clarksdale Housing Projects apt. We slept undisturbed. We were worry free. Our yard had to many tree roots sticking out.
  • Not cut my hand every time I have to walk in the dark and clench a half-opened pocket knife
  • Take my trash out. Walk to my car. Go to the store. Keep my blinds open.
  • Walk/jog in my Old Louisville neighborhood. I definitely do not feel comfortable doing so in the dark.
  • I would love to walk late at night and enjoy the peace of nighttime sounds in nature and the beauty of the moon and stars. Late night has such a magical and mystical quality I wish I could experience regularly
  • Go camping by myself.
  • Sadly to say… I’m not able to Enjoy the Dark as I was growing up when it was safe. The Dark now is the Unforeseeable Unknown.
  • Sleep outside in my backyard, walk around my block.
  • Lay in the yard and watch the stars
  • Look for Bigfoot
  • Backpack. Take my kids on regular camping trips
  • Travel the world by myself
  • I want to sleep with my windows open on cool spring nights. I want to fall asleep in a hammock in a public place. I want to walk my pups at night without location services on. Walk to my car after working overtime alone
  • Run by myself, walk up to grab a drink at a bar, walk to grab a bite to eat, sleep with windows all the way open.
  • Roller skate by myself.
  • Walk around in my neighborhood
  • Go for a walk.
  • I would prefer to exercise after dark, by myself, because there would be no judgement or eyes on my body/including my own. But I can’t because it would be too much of a risk.
  • Go to the grocery store or laundromat. I don’t want to walk inside with my hands full.
  • I  was once out at night, walking my friend’s Great Dane. He is solid black with cropped ears and he is perfectly trained to heel by my side. He is probably 150 pounds and literally looks like a hell hound. Walking that dog was what I imagine walking as a man would be. No one bothered me. No one so much as looked at me sideways. Some folks would cross the street to avoid me. And I walked so confidently, I think I was two inches taller.
  • Garden in my booty shorts and sports bras, do my yoga/ meditation on my porch the same, wear my gowns while I enjoy my morning coffee on my steps. 
  • Run. It’s so much cooler in the summer and it’s like you can melt into the background and stop thinking. Except I have to be on watch 100% of the time.
  • Sleep under the moon & stars in a hammock or on the beach with a cozy blanket & soft pillow with my heart mediation music playing in the background 
  • Go camping 
  • Just simply go for a walk.
  • Go to a park, woods or waterfront at night to watch for wildlife and just enjoy the night sounds.
  • I would walk to my door from my car at night instead of run
  • Take my daughter to the park to catch fireflies in the summer. Go on runs and bike rides around the city.
  • Go for long thoughtful walks. solo camping/travel. walk along waterfronts at night. chill in a park looking at stars alone. go out with friends and not worry about the solo travel back alone at night.
  • Lay on a hammock in my back yard and stare at the stars!!
  • Walk around my own neighborhood
  • Go braless in ANYTHING and not have to worry about getting stares.
  • Stop and get gas. 
  • Feel ok at home by myself and not confined to upstairs because I don’t feel comfortable on the first floor alone.
  • Sleep with all the windows wide open.
  • Sleep on my porch in the summer. Go walking and window shopping in town.
  • Yesterday I went to a club by myself for a concert. I prayed before I left for protection and even changed my mind about five times before finally deciding not to give into my fears. Fear of unwanted advances turning bad, or drunk people escalating and me being caught in the middle. All I wanted to do was go enjoy some good R & B alone.
  • Walk to the store. Walk my dogs.
  • I would take my camera & photograph various parts of the city! I don’t let fear stop me from doing night photography as it is – but it would be nice to do so without anxiety & having to look around constantly! I’d love to be able to place all my focus on the shots rather than any potential danger.
  • I would like to stop SNEAKING to my car as if i might cause a disturbance or wake up a murderer. I would like to sit on my porch. Take my garbage out (I wait until morning sometimes missing the garbage man) Go for walks. Ride a bike. Make a grocery run if I need to
  • Wander aimlessly 
  • Oh I’d also go to the gym early in the AM or at night and take out the trash.
  • I’d go longboarding down the dark, empty streets without my gun and keep both headphones in.
  • Sleep on my deck.
  • Take out the trash. 
  • Streak in my neighborhood! I otherwise do everything & anything in the dark, including walking my dogs alone at all hours of the night (as in 2-5 AM, when the dogs feel safer & do better without all the cars & people), grocery shop, you name it, I do it.
  • Two of my favorite things are watching the night sky and being alone with my thoughts around large bodies of water. I would take a walk on the waterfront or just find a spot to sit alone on the bank of the river and enjoy breathing in the night air, listening to the river flow, and gazing at the moon and stars on a clear night
  • Walk alone at night. Everywhere. In the parks, in the woods, in the city. Swim in a lake at night solo. Hike at night solo.
  • Walk the riverfront, take photos, go for a workout, take time to journal, stay out later at the bars with my friends, there’s a lot. Sometimes I don’t even feel comfortable doing these things alone in the daytime, but especially not at night. Not even if I’m armed.
  • Star-gazing, generally communing with nature, going to see live music alone, exploring the city at night, night photography, night fishing (catfish), overnight hiking and camping.
  • I actually hate clothes. Nuff said
  • Walk from a building to my parked car alone. Oooh, and also get gas!
  • I would set on my front porch alone at night. I would take walks at night. I always want to worry. I am not a person that gets scared a lot, most say I am not scared enough but I worry more for others especially female friends like the one with the location on. She travels for work and is often in different cities, doesn’t know anyone. I wish we didn’t have to worry about each other as much…walking at night, going out late , going into parking garages & so on.
  • Walk the trails in Louisville by myself – it has everything to do about the possibility of being attacked as a woman being alone.
  • Night walks in parks, stargazing in public parks, walking home from the subway (when living in NYC) without my keys b/t my fingers ready to stab, and at a rapid pace and with an intense “don’t fuck with me” stance.
  • I would love to walk at the park at night
  • Go running at night.. Or hiking through the mountain in the day or night alone, without having to tell people where I was going.. Basically just go to places in nature, without having to keep a tracker, or carry weapons..
  • Pitch my tent and enjoy the cool nights we’ve been having. Wake up outside and start an early morning fire. Quietly commune with myself in nature. Sit under a tree with a book. Nod off if I want.
  • Go for a walk in my neighborhood. Take my dog out. Go on a camping trip alone. As I’m writing this, I actually think I have more fear around being alone than the dark (although that’s definitely more nerve wracking) There are plenty of daytime activities I also avoid, or make additional safety plans for, due to being alone. Hikes. Exploring unknown places. Walking to my car after a dinner out. The mental prep work…Keys between my fingers, mace. Y’all know.
  • Go for a run, stargaze, walk on the beach… just being outside alone
  • Walk in the early morning.
  • When I was in my first apartment in college, there was a crazy loud knock at the door one night. I had just gotten out of the shower so I rushed to put something on to answer. It was my neighbor telling me he just saw a guy dangling from the bathroom window trying to look in. My roommate was gone for the night and I never slept. So, in addition to all the things I’d do outside, I’d also be able to breathe and relax inside. I’d be able to not check locks and windows repeatedly before going to bed. It’s been 20 years of that shit.
  • I would put up a tent, on the waterfront, on one of those “perfect” days. I would watch the sunset, sleep, and then watch the sunrise. So peaceful!
  • I would love to walk in the park by myself at night with no fear.
  • Simply take my dog for a walk or answer the front door. Tony went out of town a few weeks ago so I was home alone and had a random knock on the door from a pizza delivery guy, but I hadn’t ordered any pizza. I was so hesitant and called him to see if maybe he ordered me some food. I didn’t feel comfortable enough to open the door and it’s not like I live in a “bad” area. He also called every day he was gone just to say walk the dog before it gets dark. So, the men in our lives fear us doing things at night without them just like we do sadly enough.
  • I would walk on a night with a beautiful breeze…. I would feel the air on my skin and enjoy the beauty of looking up at the moon if I wasn’t afraid of being alone at night.
  • Any damn thing I want to, truly. Imagine what we could do if fear was not a part of so many of our equations.
  • Walk to my car after work at night. Go for a walk in general. Go to the beach alone
  • The sad thing is fear and hesitancy plays a part in doing a lot of these things even during the day.
  • A walk through Cave Hill Cemetery with just me and the spirits that live there.
  • Go running at night, in the summer, especially, because it’s not so hot and sticky and I can breathe better in the cool night air.
  •  I would actually be able to work late and walk to my car in the dark. I would take my dogs walking at night, relaxed and carefree, able to look up at the night sky and daydream and smile. I would be able to run out to the store to grab that late night snack or ice cream I was craving. I  would be able to take my dogs on overnight camping trips alone, just me & Mother Nature. I would be able to enjoy a peaceful nighttime walk on the beach, listening to the waves crash and staring up at the moon.
  • I would take walks after my girls were in bed. I can’t because of the danger to me, but also the danger to them in case someone broke into the house.
  • Walk outside in my neighborhood after dark. Sit on my porch by myself with my daughter after dark. Go to a store with or without my daughter without constantly scanning the parking lot for suspicious things.
  • Go to the beach … walk my dog further than the stop sign…. ride my bike alone
  • Take a walk
  •  I would walk at night or just sit out on my porch without being on high alert.
  • Go hiking/backpacking/camping alone.
  • Walking home from a bar or restaurant or show or liquor store or friend’s house at night by myself. Solo backpacking. Wayward gas stations or unpopulated rest areas on road trips.
  • Hike naked 
  • I would go out into the park and take time lapse photos of the night sky.
  • Go for a long walk in the park
  • Solo camping in a tent
  • I would read a book in my hammock by a fire
  • Sit on the porch sip “MY” adult juicy juice; laugh and talk with neighbors
  • I would be able to breathe, sit on a porch and read a good book. I’d be able to just go to the movies without fear of leaving that something may happen. I would take photos with my Canon. I would go to a graveyard to just sit. I used to do these things. I used to be able to relax but the world is different now. I can’t go to a cemetery or park and write poetry at night. I haven’t written in awhile. I just don’t feel comfortable enough to do these things anymore. If I wasn’t afraid I would bring my daughter with me.
  • Go on an evening walk. Walk between my car and (fill in the blank place). Drive alone without hyper-vigilance. Go to the store. Read on my front porch.
  • Having little ones means evenings are my time to myself. I would love to feel safe going for an evening walk to decompress. Or to take a trip and enjoy a night hike alone.
  • Take a blanket and lay in a park at night to look at the stars
  • Go to a park and lay in the grass looking at the stars. More realistically night walk. Oh I love waking at night. It’s the time when my adhd brain feels stillness and contentment
  • I’d sleep in the yard under the stars & remember when it was safe and fun not painful & scary.
  • I would like to go to the grocery after dark and not feel like I have to watch my 6 and check my car. Loading is such a vulnerable time. I feel very exposed.
  • Go to fitness gym after dark. Hike alone during the day or evening. Travel to new cities, and walk around to feel less like a tourist.
  • Grocery shop, go to the gym, or take walks
  • I won’t even walk through the park alone in the daylight much less the dark
  • Walk in the morning and see the sun come up during my walk.
  • Hike! I mean I’d just like to not be afraid to do that alone during daylight hours much less in the evening. Now wouldn’t that be magical 
  • Take a stroll on the beach w/o taking my 9mm, pepper spray, and knife for protection. I love the sound of ocean, seeing boats out on the water, and gazing at the stars.
  • Have dinner with friends and be able to walk to my parked car without worry.
  • Take my son for walks and to the park with just me.
  • Go camping alone!
  • I’d like to drive across the country at night. I used to do this. It was my favorite time to be on the highway, until I had a couple of horrible experiences.
  • I feel this – driving to the park at night w windows down and classical music used to be the best way for me to come down from an argument or other emotional experience.
  • Some times “the dark” is not the lack of sun light. I would visit my home land, I would sit in a bar alone to enjoy a drink, I would answer to someone making a funny face about my accent “MF I am speaking English” and I’m bilingual, how many lenguaje do you speak? … and more
  • Just stroll around my neighborhood enjoying the night air.
  • Walk in the park, listening to music on my headphones, at night. Mia Zapata’s death made me too afraid to do it.
  • I love to hike and camp, but it is way too scary to do alone, especially at night, but I also learned my lesson about meeting an on duty cop at night on my front steps to talk, even that ended badly (Pablo Cano lmpd), too much risk involved, too vulnerable
  • Evening runs & hikes under the stars.
  • I would like to go in my yard and watch my kids play in our yard. Can’t b/c of racist neighbors. I would like to go down to the waterfront and sit w/ my love. I would like to meet friends & hang out w/out fear of being harassed & attracting unwanted attention fr police or men.
  • Dance topless lol. And camp outside with a book and music.
  • Walk around my neighborhood without being hyper vigilant. Also, not necessarily something I enjoy doing, but when it’s late and I really need to walk my garbage to the dumpster, but it’s dark out so I wait until the morning when it’s lighter out.
  • Sleep in a hammock in my yard
  • I would love to go to the park w a blanket & music and look at the stars while breathing the cool night air
  • Walk around town 
  • Take walks at night 
  • Walk along the lake – which is within half a mile, do yoga by said lake, walk to Target – also within half a mile, and just be.
  • Go for walk while I’m a little tipsy!!
  • Enjoy a walk in my neighborhood on a clear moonlit night. Not scope everything out and have my keys ready when I walk to my car at night after a late night (pre-Covid). Walk with headphones in. Soooo many things.
  • Actually listen to a podcast while exercising
  • Walking with headphones in
  • I’d love to walk up to the grocery store at 11pm & get some snacks & walk home.
  • I’d go shopping and not worry about checking where I parked or if I was followed, if anyone was near my car. Hell even just walk around the neighborhood at night.
  • Take a walk, take my trash out, go lay out in hammock at the park and look at the stars.
  • Get something from my car. Go get the mail.
  • Jog. I run about 6 miles a day but I live in Florida and it’s hot during the day. Jogging at night would increase my range as the temperatures are lower. I’d really love to jog at night.
  • Go for walks. There’s a river near my house and I’m often up at night, I’d love to be able to go and sit there at 2am.
  • Take walks 
  • In summer (when it’s cooler) I would like to get my daily walk in AND do it wearing headphones.
  • I would walk to my car at a normal pace. I would go for a walk. I would take the time to gaze at stars. Go camping by myself. Get into my car without obsessively checking the backseat. Swim. Park wherever I want to- not under a light.
  • I want to walk my dog at night. It’s a lot less likely that we will run into another dog out for a walk at night and it’s just peaceful. But I can’t because I’m afraid. Even with my dog.
  • For me it’s walking with my dog before sunrise. I wait until it’s full light outside for I walk with him alone.
  • A nice pre-dawn jog through the streets of Brooklyn listening to the sounds of smooth jazz. Unfortunately that could prove to be a very dangerous endeavor.
  • Flip someone off who is driving like an asshole.
  • Tell someone how I really feel when they say something inappropriate to me without fear of a verbal or physical attack.
  • Walk around. Sit outside and enjoy the night. Go for a late burger run. Look at the sky.
  • Walk to Walgreens
  • I’d go walking in the summertime at night with both earbuds in..
  • Walk to the nearby beach front at night and sesh with the moon over the water.
  • Go for a walk or run
  • I live in a small town. After I’ve finished everything for the day, I’d put on my reflective vest and go for a walk on the Main Street. But I can’t do that.
  • Go camping alone.
  • Explore my city at night, when it’s quiet and the smells are different.
  • It would be so amazing, to just stroll out after dark and not do constant risk assessment. I want to walk on the dark side of the street.
  • Sleep
  • Go jogging 
  • Enjoy a walk, wearing earbuds to enjoy music or a podcast, by myself. To be able to move about without constantly surveilling my surroundings is something I don’t know.
  • Just walk around and enjoy the night without having my hand on my knife all the time. The hyper vigilance is a lot…and super draining.
  • I would love to go for a run in the middle of the night with earbuds in but that isn’t happening any time soon……too many sketch dudes for that.
  • Go for a walk. Enter a gas station on a road trip without trying to find the one with the most lights and most other people around. Walk to my car without holding my keys so they poke through my knuckles.
  • Camp by myself. Somewhere I can be alone and look at the stars and enjoy nature
  • I wanna listen to music when i walk!!!! also i like meditating but cannot do tht at night
  • I would love to not need to tell my other female friends to text me that they get home safely
  • I would love to go for a run in the evenings. My running trail goes through the park. Can’t do it after dark
  • I’d train for a half marathon
  • Go for a walk at sunset
  • Go cycling on my road bike and enjoy the city with less traffic to worry about.
  • Go for a walk with my ear buds in is it for me. That’s all I want like so many others. If that could happen, I could also return home in my car at night and not have to look for creepers before i get out and go inside.
  • Take a walk after my kids go to bed — while listening to music!
  • Nighttime or early morning runs in the dark. I would also go camping alone
  • Go for a walk when I can’t sleep
  • Jog, I wake up at 3AM and wait until 5:45 to head out cause safety 1st
  • Stay out with my other lady friends, not feel afraid of walking home alone after dropping them off, not feel afraid to walk late at night with my headphones on and the volume high
  • Also wearing heels on a regular day. Sometimes I feel like I can only wear them on special occasions or if I’m with someone because I get afraid I won’t be able to fight back or run away in them
  • Grocery shop late night
  • Go sit on a dock at one of the many lakes around here, get lost in thought looking at the stars. Walk home from a friend’s after a few drinks instead of taking a cab. Walk the dog. Go to shows and bars alone and safely get to my car afterward.
  • Get away from the city & stargaze. I don’t feel I can travel alone, in part because of the nighttime logistics. I lived in DC for a bit. I was mugged/attacked when walking from my neighborhood street to meet friends at a restaurant. Never felt like I could do that again.
  • Solo backpacking in the mountains
  • Go for a walk.
  • Go to a park or somewhere that there wasn’t so much ambient light and stargaze. Walk in the summer when it’s much cooler and less humid. Sit by the river.
  • How very strange. It looks like we’d all just like to be able to walk outside after dark. Something so simple. Walk the dog, walk to the store, walk in our neighborhoods, just feel free to take a walk, anywhere, without being afraid.
  • Walking anywhere in the dark (parking ramp, street, sidewalk, park. Walk home from coffee or drinks in my neighborhood. Walk home from a nature walk —the stillness and noises and beauty of nighttime is so beautiful and I can’t enjoy it alone. Ever.
  • Spend more time with the moon, nighttime walks.
  • Go on a walk alone with headphones wearing shorts
  • Years ago, I enjoyed grocery shopping in Memphis after midnight. Now that I’m back in New York, nighttime bullets are more prominent than stars.
  • Walk in the moonlight. Check items off my bucket list such as art classes that I have to take at night bc I work all day. Leave my windows open to feel the breeze. Get gasoline. Use a telescope – I love cosmology so this is a huge problem. Let my daughter take out the recycling.
  • Live in a community without security alone
  • When I get migraines, I find that taking a long, brisk walk helps alleviate them. It sucks when I get them and it’s dark outside because I don’t feel safe taking those soothing walks.
  • Sit on my porch alone.
  • Walk my dog.
  • How about just go outside in general.
  • I would love to go on my runs!
  • Walk. Just walk the neighborhood. Breathe the cool night air. Look at the stars. Would love to go camping alone but … you know.
  • I would do more solo travel. There are so many places I want to go that my friends aren’t interested in seeing. Plus, it’s harder to get friends to get friends together (PTO, kids, life in general) just gets in the way.
  • Leave my doors and windows open for fresh air–day or night.
  • Lay on the hood of my car somewhere away from the city & ‘burbs, eyes closed, vibing to tunes cranked through my best set of headphones. A mood…
  • I’d like to drive long country roads without a care in the world.
  • Take my dog for a walk, more yard work, bike.
  • I’d love to experience all the alone-at-night things I’ve done and still do in a world where no woman was scared. Just imagine! 
  • I’d like to go into a bar and enjoy a drink without some creep thinking I’m looking to get picked up. The two times I tried this, sure enough, some obnoxious guys hassled me. Bartender walked me to my car one time with this warning: “It’s just not safe for a woman alone.”
  • I live in a really small town. There is adequate street lighting, yet there are still many places you can see hundreds of thousands of stars. I would just like to be able to go out and walk by the river, lay down and stare at the sky for hours and feed my night owl soul.
  • cry in the park when I need a good cry or just walk when it’s cool night photography I want to do night photography so bad and I never do cause I can’t take photos and watch my back
  • Go trail running under a full moon.
  • I’d love nothing more than to drive down to the waterfront and hang out, gazing at the water and the clouds….
  • I’d get gas whenever I needed to instead of riding on E to avoid filling up at night. Or just walk.
  • Hang out by the lake after sundown. Visit my friends more. Take moonlight hikes. People-watch at the pub. Feel comfortable renting a ground-floor apartment lol.
  • Buy athleisure without having to consider where I’ll put my knife and/or pepper spray. Going for a random drive, sitting by a lake/water. Going for my evening 3 mile walk without planning it around sunset or choosing not to go because it’s “too late/too dark”.
  • Sit out on my stoop at night alone to look at the sky.
  • Go to Walmart late when there are fewer children, exercise in the summer when it’s not so hot, take the trash out in my apartment complex even if it’s midnight and sleep with the windows open when it’s nice out. At least, those immediately come to the top of my mind.
  • To walk to my car after coaching an evening middle school game without having to hold my keys in a protective manner. To listen to music while I walk- even with my dog. To walk from my car to the door at night without checking my surroundings would be nice.
  • I long to take a walk in the late night darkness. I want to go camping by myself. I want to walk to the corner drugstore at night. I want to take a drive at night and stop at a diner for coffee and smile at strangers, including the men!
  • Walk in the park at midnight.
  • Get gas at night. If I need gas, and it’s too late at night, I’ll leave home earlier the next day to get it.
  • Walk to the store.
  • Walk in a forest, a natural place, or a park.
  • I’d love to go to a local pool, take a swim, and then go for a nice walk. Hell, sit on my porch past dark.
  • Solo travel abroad
  • I wanna go on a run late at night !!! or go lay out and watch the stars
  • Walk, walk the dog.
  • I’ve done many of the things I’d love to do after dark…I’d just wish I wasn’t scared, hyper vigilant, tensed while doing them.
  • I would love to walk late at night and not be afraid of assault/rape.
  • I would take a long walk in the park along the river.
  • Take a walk in the cool quiet of the summer night. Spend less time looking for close parking spots when I go out with the my friends and just park a few blocks away. Carry my own camera/valuable equipment instead of asking a male friend to.
  • I’d take short cuts and walk up the back alley ways at night. It’s something I’ve always been afraid to do
  • Well for one wear some shorts and a sports bra ! And just take a walk around! Go to target! With my earphones in and dance around !!
  • Honestly, just getting to my car w/out any panic/anxiety would be life-changing. I used to love driving around alone at night w music blasting and windows down, but stopped because a few times I was followed and surrounded and taunted. I’d like that liberation, that security.
  • I would love to walk the dog at night in the heat of summer.
  • I don’t feel safe going to rural areas for the Perseid meteor shower in August. Saw it once years ago on an island in Greece. I absolutely don’t feel safe in cities & towns (I was attacked at sunset in a well-populated area even though I took all the precautions, etc. — None of these fears are unfounded). But I am *just as frightened* of rural areas & the men who inhabit them, if not a bit more.
  • I would go camping alone or walk home from work!
  • When I’m drunk I always wanna walk home under the star light but don’t for obvious reasons. So it would probably be that. Or have a moonlit picnic in the park with my gf
  • I would take some snacks and coffee, go lay down in my favourite place before sunset, put my headphones in, and just stay there until morning. Might take a nap too.
  • Walk in the mountains to see mountain lions & other animals when they are more active. Afraid I would be cat food or some other animal dinner , so not doing it.
  • All the mundane things, plus hiking and camping.
  • Walk my dog and run outdoors with my headphones
  • Dancing in the streets
  • Walk down to the waterfront and enjoy the silence.
  • A walk or run with headphones in
  • Just walk and enjoy the night — or dawn. Ride a bike on quiet streets. Walk for exercise. Meet a friend. Meet a group of friends. Go to a show, a class, an event and not worry about how I’m getting home at that hour. Travel to a strange city any time of day, instead of morning
  • Jog at night. Take the fire gas station pics I deserve. Go to parties alone. Go to Walmart at 3 am when It’s hard to sleep.
  • Not worry about my daughter so much.
  • Leave my windows open to enjoy the night air.
  • I would kiss a gender queer person on a street corner blatantly without looking to make sure none is around first. Or not being fully present because someone might come up on us.
  • Forgetting stores close so damn early now and ending up being last person out running and tossing my stuff in my car like I’ve just done an old school bank heist. Get home w busted eggs and fruit, but at least you get home.
  • Nighttime walks!
  • I would love to hang out with my friends without thinking that it’s dark. Leave a store or somewhere with my kids and not calculate how long it will take me to get them buckled into car seats.

If you have made it to the end of this list I am sure it moved you as it did me. Women have the right to exist in the world after the sun goes down, free of fear. We have the right to live freely and fully without always looking over our shoulder. It is a world I have never known but a world that I pray one day is realized.

5 replies »

  1. My very first thought to the question: I would just walk or drive everywhere without worry.

    I’d drive down to the lake and sit, eat in a restaurant alone, go to the movies at night, walk around my neighborhood when I couldn’t sleep, lay out on the grass, next to my house, and watch the stars…

    • I remember some guy said “the paranoid people are alive.” I never forgot that. Sometimes I think I’m overreacting but for me it’s better safe than sorry.

  2. I was nodding along in agreement with every single thing I read in your post. And it isn’t just the fact that women would be free to do more of what they want and when they want; it is also the case that we would be liberated from the mental burden of constantly risk assessing every situation we find ourselves in. One of my teen sons recently asked me why it was I had parked the car where I had when there were spaces closer to the store. He thought I wanted extra exercise. I explained that I had parked directly under a light because it would be darker by the time we came back out of the store. That led to a bigger conversation about the fact that I had been taught – in common with most women – from a very young age to constantly risk assess. I honestly do it without even thinking, it is so ingrained in me, but I imagine it factors into the mental fatigue I experience.

    Another thought I had when reading your post was about an experience I had in my early teens. A friend’s older sister had been brutally raped and left for dead on her way home from school. The school decided that all of the girls in the school should receive self-defence training. The boys did not have to undertake self-defence training. Nor did they receive any talks about consent or violence or “how to not be a rapist”. The communication was clearly being levelled at the female population of the school that the burden for preventing sexual violence was on us, that any victimization was our fault.

    Thank you, as always, for illuminating an important subject with your perspective and words.

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