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(115,103 posts)
Fri Feb 9, 2024, 03:54 PM Feb 9

Study visually captures a hard truth: Walking home at night is not the same for women

This week from the Proving Things We Already Knew department

Gender-based heat map images show where men tend to look and where women tend to look on a path at night. Women focused significantly more on potential safety hazards—the periphery of the images—while men looked directly at focal points or their intended destination. Credit: Violence and Gender (2023). DOI: 10.1089/vio.2023.0027

Chaney and co-authors Alyssa Baer and Ida Tovar showed pictures of campus areas at four Utah universities—Utah Valley University, Westminster, Brigham Young University and University of Utah—to participants and asked them to click on areas in the photos that caught their attention. Women focused significantly more on potential safety hazards—the periphery of the images—while men looked directly at focal points or their intended destination.

"The resulting heat maps represent perhaps what people are thinking or feeling or doing as they are moving through these spaces," Chaney said. "Before we started the study, we expected to see some differences, but we didn't expect to see them so contrasting. It's really visually striking."


"Why can't we live in a world where women don't have to think about these things? It's heartbreaking to hear of things women close to me have dealt with," Chaney said. "It would be nice to work towards a world where there is no difference between the heat maps in these sets of images. That is the hope of the public health discipline."

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Silent Type

(2,891 posts)
1. Not really surprising. If I were a woman nowadays, I'd definitely carry bear spray or something when walking alone.
Fri Feb 9, 2024, 04:04 PM
Feb 9

If I'm out walking/hiking at night and see a woman approaching, I'll walk out in the street just to let them know I'm not a threat.

I hope it will change someday, but I bet it's been this way since prehistoric times.


(205,169 posts)
2. When I was in college, a student was raped on campus on Halloween night my senior year
Sat Feb 10, 2024, 07:49 AM
Feb 10

So for the entire rest of the school year there was anxiety for female students walking on campus at night. When leaving the library, which was on the far end of campus, male students volunteered to walk groups of female students back to their dorms at night every hour or so. And when we'd see (we walked in groups, never alone) lone female students out at night they'd be going at a dead run. We heard that the finally caught the guy when my psych class was at an end of year gathering at our professor's home.


(115,103 posts)
4. The spring before my older daughter started college
Sat Feb 10, 2024, 10:16 AM
Feb 10

A freshman there was raped and murdered on the campus where she was headed.

The school started a service which allowed girls to request someone to escort them to and from buildings after dark, which helped a lot.

I hope things change someday.


(115,103 posts)
5. None of us are seen as human - young, old, or in between
Sat Feb 10, 2024, 10:29 AM
Feb 10

That's why violence against women is not treated more seriously. If any other crimes between any other two groups happened in the same numbers that men kidnap, beat, rape, and murder women, it'd be treated as shocking and horrifying and people would be demanding an end to the oppression and violence. Just the fact that the leading cause of death for pregnant women is being murdered by their partners - you'd think that would be enough to get people to treat it as a serious issue, but no.

Since it's happening to women it's just treated like background noise.

Someday I hope it changes.

Ocelot II

(115,670 posts)
6. Women are prey animals like rabbits and deer.
Mon Feb 12, 2024, 01:28 PM
Feb 12

I'm a bit surprised women haven't evolved have our eyes toward the sides of our heads like other prey animals so we can more easily see what's coming up behind us. I'm on high alert any time I'm out after dark, even if I'm just taking trash out to the alley. The fact that I'm old and homely doesn't make me any safer.

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