This week, we’ve been thinking a lot about fear, dread and safety. Have you ever felt so scared and anxious that you wanted to rip off your skin and crawl somewhere else that’s safer? Maybe you’ve sympathized with a character in a horror movie or felt the intense overwhelming dread of knowing that something is going to jump out at you; you don’t know what it is, but you know it’s going to be bad. 

Screw horror movies; welcome to being a non-normative body walking at night. By non-normative body, I mean anyone who doesn’t present as being safely within the confines of what society says is acceptable, good, pure and deserving. If you aren’t white, if you aren’t physically abled, if you’re a woman, if you’re trans or gender non-conforming, you know the feeling of living with a target on your back. The recognition of the uneasy feeling sitting at the back of your neck and heavy on your shoulders like a burden you can never put down is an important aspect of understanding the need for liberation. 

If you’ve never felt the burden of needing to keep yourself and your community physically safe, then beginning to understand where people are coming from when they tell you that they don’t feel safe, understanding that fear as legitimate and working to address that fear is the first step towards all of our liberation. For those of you who know all too well what we’re talking about, recognizing that feeling of intense overwhelming dread is the first step; understanding it as unfair, unjust and unearned is the second; working to make the world safer is the third.

Until the world is safe for my friends to walk at night, until there are no more nightmares about friends, lovers and family dead in the gutter, until there are no more realities of friends, lovers and family bleeding in the streets, we fight to erase the targets off all of our backs and for all of our collective liberation.

Claire Seid is a senior studying sociology at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Have questions for F--kRapeCultureMeet with them every Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in the Women's Center. 

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