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Women shouldn't walk alone, you say? Then maybe we shouldn't go home, either.

If we shouldn’t walk alone? We shouldn’t go home, either.

The best thinking has been done in solitude. – Thomas Edison

Without great solitude, no serious work is possible. – Pablo Picasso

A man can be himself only so long as he is alone, and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom, for it is only when he is alone that he is truly free. – Arthur Schopenhauer

Oh, how deeply these men understood the importance of solitude. Imagine the great works we’d have missed had so many men not assumed without question their human right to not only endure solitude, but seek it out! At home, in a garret, on a street or in a café; by the sea, down a lane, on a mountaintop…

But I’m waxing romantic. Walking down a street alone, or across a park is as banal as using toilet paper sometimes – just an unnoticeable act of practicality. So ordinary in fact, you shouldn’t need to think twice about it.

“Walking down a street alone, or across a park is as banal as using toilet paper sometimes – just an unnoticeable act of practicality. So ordinary in fact, you shouldn’t need to think twice about it.”

And yet, it is on the ‘advice’ of many public servants, police authorities and respected moral philosophers – the very people so certain of their own common sense that they humbly put themselves forward as appropriate keepers of public safety, human progress and civic order – that we women, young and old, one half of the world’s population –  should take care to not walk home alone.

And yet, if we sidestep the lazy socio-emotional overture of that suggestion and follow that bizarre logic, it would follow to consider these choices too, ladies:

Don’t go home; 

Don’t go to a university.

Don’t accept a mentorship.

Don’t accept a ride home from a friend.

Don’t become a surgeon.

Don’t join the military. Don’t go to work.

Don’t wear a miniskirt and don’t wear heels! But also, don’t wear sweatpants and sneakers and  jog in a park. Don’t wear a burqa. Don’t catch the train and don’t take the bus!

If you must go shopping, do be sure to have a gang of ladies unbothered by other priorities readily available to accompany you and your vegetables to the car.

Don’t go out! But — be careful if you’re staying home.

Don’t say they didn’t warn us!

Don’t wear a miniskirt and don’t wear heels!

There are 34 women dead in Australia since January 1st. Some of them happened while the woman was walking alone — although the vast majority was not perpetrated by strangers lurking in shadows, but to a partner, ex-parter or family member.

What that number tells us is this: There is an important conversation that needs to take place about the prevention of violence and rape against women and girls.

The thing is, that conversation dead-ends the minute anyone starts it with ‘advice’ to women about where (and how) they can walk. Because it is the most cowardly of beginnings, it doesn’t rid us of the act of rape. It simply swaps out the potential victim in a tail-chasing trap of ‘inevitability’.

It’s the non-starter that abdicates all responsibility for trying to stop a problem at its core.

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It defies logic, statistics and existing models for solving systemic problems and epidemics which try to eradicate the source of the problem, not its mitigating circumstances.

I can’t think of any other instance, historically, that the credit for the actions of men has been so selflessly attributed to women — and I’ll be damned if this is going to be the one time that it is!

women rape responsibility
Comedian Adrienne Truscott. Photo via Twitter.

Avoid ‘risky behavior’, says Mayor Sally Betts, because as she knows, even the young men she defends can be the vicious rapists we’re meant to live in fear of. It’s frustrating but when she or the Mayor of Albury or a Chief Homocide detective utter these things I think, “now this is risky, because it is the announcement that they are out of step with the world they’re presuming to govern.”

Surely, for an elected official, that is risky behaviour.

“[I]…stripped completely naked and dove in. Risky? No, it was brilliant’. Image author’s own.

As Goethe once said, ‘One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude.’

Like this? Try these:

Sarah Silverman teaches men how not to rape women.

Ordinary women send an extraordinary anti-rape message

Amy Poehler and Tina Fey prove rape jokes can be funny. On one critical condition.

Adrienne Truscott is a choreographer, dancer, writer and comedian. Her most recent solo comedic work ‘Asking For It’  undoes the rules and rhetoric about rape, leaving no awkward stone unturned. It has been shown at the International Comedy Festival, Dublin Fringe among others and is now showing at the Sydney Comedy Festival for two nights only: Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 of May at 7:45.

Tickets can be found at the Sydney Comedy Festival website.

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