Something about the darkness.
One minute I feel perfectly fine – calm, secure, carefree – and then the sun goes down, and the bogeyman takes residence in my head while danger starts lurking around every corner.
I remember one night, returning from a late movie, when I parked my car at the end of the driveway. Being that it was late and dark, I got a little creeped out and started jogging up to the door. As I picked up the pace I heard footsteps follow me - which freaked me out even more, so I broke into a sprint. And, as my footsteps accelerated, so did his.
By the time I reached the house I was utterly shattered. I waited for the hands to grab me and pull me back into the darkness but all I saw was my grandmother, who opened the door and asked me what was wrong. Speechless, I turned around and saw nobody there.
Still convinced that an assailant was on my tail, I began to reenact the scene. It took only seconds for me to realize that the sound of footsteps that had terrorized me up the driveway, was actually an unfinished box of Mike n’ Ikes I had in my pocket from the movies, which shook up and down as I ran to the house.
I know, right?
Yeah, something about the darkness - shadows become monsters, approaching cars are up to no good, and pocketed candy is an assailant just waiting for their next victim.
And the morning? Sometimes it just can’t come quickly enough!
So what is different in the darkness? Why does the nighttime bring out those inner creepers and stimulate our imaginations like a good Stephen King novel? And, are our heightened suspicions warranted? I mean, I know we lose some of our senses in the dark and the unknown takes over, but Mike n’ Ikes?
Statistically, nighttime is not the minefield that we imagine it to be. In fact, most crimes occur between 6 am and 6 pm. But that doesn’t mean we are not at risk under the stars. Unfortunately, certain conditions do create more risk at night, for which females need to take extra precautions.
Think about what a “bad guy” wants: isolation and privacy. And, they don’t want to get caught.
Nighttime, where there is less light and fewer people around, offers conditions needed for isolation and privacy. And, with these conditions, not only do offenders have more opportunity to "do their thing,” there’s also a higher chance they will get away with it.
“Do not walk alone at night, especially in unpopulated, unlit areas.” Taking Flight For Girls Going Places, page 42
Now I understand we all have places to go and people to see– day and night –but if we want to maintain our safety, we need to use good judgement: we need to assess each situation, determine how safe it is, and decide if it’s worth the risks involved. And nighttime adventures definitely warrant the practice of good judgement.
How can we make night travel safer?
Consider doing your business during the daylight (heavy shopping, banking, etc.).
Always be aware of your environment - know what and who is around you at all times! Don't be distracted by your phone!
Remain in areas where there are people. Bring a friend.
Remain in areas that are well lit. Park your car under lights.
Ask security to be sure you get safely to your car, dorm, etc.
As the sun goes down, be sure to raise extra precautions to assure safety at night. After all, it’s your life.
Kathy Greene Lahey, LMSW, AC, is the author of Taking Flight For Girls Going Places, a preventive tool to help independence-bound girls stay safe, confident, and empowered.
Blog for girls & monthly “for the moms”: https://www.girlsgoingplaces-us.com/
Daily safety & empowerment: https://www.facebook.com/girlsgoingplaces.us/