|Surrendering My Ribbon Collection|
For more than ten years I have been obsessed with archery. Watching Keira Knightley's portrayal of Guinevere in King Arthur (2004) and Orlando Bloom's performance as Legolas in all the Lord of The Rings trilogy cemented my love for the bow and arrow, particularly as the word personified elegance and independence. Though I never got around to studying archery, I took on the less elegant art of target shooting and compensated my endeavors with tae kwon do lessons. Though grueling hours of practicing and watching action films prepared me to defend myself at a basic level, I doubt that I could successfully protect myself or others from the dangers of the outside world.
Fall 2013 carried with it a new sense of style and grave incidences. Personally, I began to constantly wear a bow. Secured on top of my high ponytail or at the ends of a pair of pig tails, the bow persisted throughout the weeks. What began as a boring session at Anthropologie, evolved into my very own style signature. All of a sudden I felt sufficiently secure to possess an air of vulnerability. Finally, I found my center, where I could be both vulnerable and strong at the same time.
Unfortunately, for the past few weeks I have began shedding the colorful ribbons and instead opt for a medium height ponytail to avoid looking like a target. Since the month of September, several rape cases and assaults occurred on and around the Sarah Lawrence campus. Getting yelled at by passing cars became a norm, one that I was not comfortable or happy with. The chilly Fall air only made it worse. The days became shorter and I became more and more bothered.
I lost my independence of walking alone at night
I lost the confidence in wearing my ribbons
And I sense that I would loose trust in all that is around me
No longer am I able to wear my bows, as I am afraid that someone would jump me whilst walking home. Insecurity engulfs you and prevents you from doing things that you love. Perhaps, the condition is incomparable to worst scenarios, but it still leaves those within it paralyzed, if not angered.
Multiple meetings and discussions have been had about the situation. Although security vehicles are parked all over campus, it is not the same in surrounding areas. Those living off campus are at danger, as well. Just because we did not choose to remain in the dorms or were unable to do so, does not mean that we lost our rights to protection. "Commuters" as we are called are entitled to equal if not a fraction of the protection as others do. Having said that, I am aware of the complexity of the issue and the more challenging matter of finding a solution. For instance, determining the scope of the campus to include off-campus students is already a complicated question.
Yes, students, faculty and staff should and could take matters into our own hands, however I am always fogged by the same question, "Would that be enough?" Which leads me to ask whether the Sarah Lawrence security is sufficient to protect us all. If not, then what about the Yonkers police? In the end, unsurprisingly, nothing could satisfy the need for protection.
Hard to believe, the world is a real, tangible place, that is not up in the air, pumped up with theoretical inference. As defeatist as it sounds, maybe all we can do is to prepare ourselves and urge for better protection from the authorities, whoever they may be.
I hate surrendering
I hate having to take off my bow at the edge of campus just to walk home
I hate not having answers
I hate not knowing