“On my way home from work, I do something I never dared to do as a teenager— I walk through the alley…”
— Mentee Gia Deeton, imagining a world without sexual harassment in her story “Safety” featured on Girlboss.com.
Safety, by Gia Deeton
On my way home from work, I do something I never dared to do as a teenager— I walk through the alley. Ever since the national laws against sexual assault were more strictly enforced following the 2028 election, I’ve been able to walk straight from the subway to my apartment through an alley that was once saturated with crime. I used to walk the safer way, which meant going around the entire block where the street was more populated. Sometimes, I wonder how much total time I could’ve saved if I had been cutting through the alley my whole life instead of avoiding it.
But until now, the alley was never an option. I got a horrible feeling whenever I walked past it; I knew that women were attacked there but I never heard about it or saw it on the news. Now, even in the shadiest parts of New York City, emergency help stations are on every street corner. When I was younger, I never would’ve imagined a world where it would be easier to report attackers than to keep it to yourself and live with the trauma.
When our president decided to invest billions of dollars in protecting people from sexual violence, voices from all around the country thanked her. Today, rape reports are dealt with immediately and no longer swept under the rug. Judges are no longer allowed to pull a “Brock Turner” and let rapists off the hook because they are privileged. All the ignored rape kits stored in labs have finally been tested and the rapists were held accountable for their crimes, even if it happened years ago. Women and girls all over the country finally feel like their lives are being taken seriously. Women are no longer being treated like disposable bodies that are just something to offer men. Boys in school are no longer taught that they can get away with dehumanizing girls through unintentionally sexist behavior. Sex education is now being funded to undo sexist education that embedded harmful ideas in people’s minds at an early age.
The leadership of our president is bringing our country in the right direction, even though a handful of people oppose her. Her actions have brought justice to millions of American women and created a safer country for our daughters to grow up in. Male victims of sexual assault have been given the same protections, as well as an environment where sexual assault is taken seriously regardless of the victim’s gender. People of all genders, races, and financial backgrounds are equally protected, and people who try to threaten those protections are held accountable.
When I get home after my nightly commute through the alley, I turn on the TV and watch the news. It’s October 11th, 2031, and it’s 76 degrees outside. Genital mutilation is finally illegal in all 194 countries, young people are able to afford homes for the first time in decades, and the worst news in the city is that a Domino’s in the Bronx caught fire. I wish I could go back and tell my 17-year-old self that she’d survive the dark ages of the he-who-shall-not-be-named administration. Everything ended up improving when the country united against him. He may have tried to take away the dignity of women by challenging Roe v. Wade and defunding Planned Parenthood, but we didn’t let him. We came back stronger after he left office, and we knew as a nation that we’d never make the same mistake of electing a misogynistic leader again. We restored the equality that was lost and expanded it even more. If I could tell my teenage self one thing, I’d tell her not to give up on advocating for what she believes in. Her voice has the power to transform the world into a better place for women and girls.