Women Have a Right to be Safe

Letters, Vancouver Sun, June 1, 2002


The suggestion that women need to be more aware of their surroundings when jogging or walking alone is an outrageous response to the brutal beating of a young woman in Stanley Park earlier this week. 

Every woman I know has grown up with the myth of the stranger lurking in dark alleys. This fear has controlled our lives to some degree whether we choose to walk alone at night or not. The reality is that no amount of heightened awareness will keep women safe from a man intent on hurting us. 

More than two years of experience as a rape crisis and transition house worker and more than 30 years experience as a woman have taught me that the attack I have most to fear is from a man that I know. 

Thumbs up to all the brave women I saw jogging in Stanley Park on Wednesday evening. The more that women continue to use the park, the more we can look out for each other and keep each other safe. We won't be controlled by fear and we will fight back by insisting that our community respond to keep us safe from violence. 

Dana Ayotte


Note from Rape Relief: Dana Ayotte is collective member of Vancouver Rape Relief & Women's Shelter.