This past fall, I was given the opportunity to intern on Capitol Hill. With my campus closed to sophomores and upper classmen, I needed to find housing—which led me to live alone in Washington, D.C.
Although I am grateful for the experience of being truly on my own, with friends and family living hours away, the issue of my personal safety became a focal point. The sexual harassment I experienced was, at the very least, unnerving, and, despite never needing to worry about my safety before, I quickly and consistently became nervous around the District.
When riding public transportation or exploring downtown at night last year, I was often accompanied by friends and I was blissfully unaware of how dangerous it can be to walk around unarmed, unprotected.
Alone and vulnerable, I began to recognize strangers staring at me for much longer than what could be considered comfortable. I noticed men taking photos or recording me while sitting across from me on the Metro; I was frequently cat-called and harassed when simply trying to return to my building; I can recall a time that two men attempted to corner me on the metro, going as far as following me off and pitifully attempting to catch my attention by telling me I “look[ed] nice.”
With these instances in mind, and with the knowledge that human trafficking is incredibly prevalent in Washington, D.C., it became more obvious that I was a target as a young girl alone in D.C. No longer an athlete, no longer having the luxury to walk around with a group, I was left to “protect” myself with the ability to run and a mini alarm that seemed way too complicated for its purpose. I am unsure how being able to run would stop a group of men cornering me and I wondered how a miniature alarm would help if I am cornered away from the public.
Most means of protecting oneself, including tasers and guns, are all illegal in some capacity in Washington, D.C. I ask those that passed laws against these items, what would you have had me do if any of these past experiences had escalated? What would you like me to do going forward? How can you justify situations that could have been prevented if the victim had a means to protect him or herself, perhaps with a firearm?
What I would like to do is simple: I would like to legally protect myself by carrying a firearm. In my previous research into gun control, I learned that the presence of a gun saves up to three million lives a year. This presence does not take the life of another, it does not necessarily even harm the offender, rather, it has the capability of intimidating a perpetrator to de-escalate the situation. Instead of becoming the victim of a heinous crime, I believe it is much more appealing to defend myself and leave a situation unharmed.
The Second Amendment is a women’s issue. A firearm equalizes a woman against a predator, empowering her to defend herself and fight back when necessary. There are countless times that I have been told by friends that they did not feel safe alone at night and, because of this, restricted themselves from doing what they normally would.
Women should be able to do anything that men can without the fear of being attacked.
If it continues to be a cultural push for there to be more women in government, then women must feel safe when interning or working in the District. In order to have real equal opportunity, in order to have real women’s empowerment, it is crucial that we are able to defend ourselves in the face of danger.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.