One of the ‘five most dangerous places for women’ should be the KPTV newsroom

Fox 12 Investigators, a local KPTV news segment spotlighting hot topics in (alleged) investigative journalism, recently aired a segment that is about the furthest thing from “news” that I can imagine, a feature on “The Five Most Dangerous Places for Women.”

Fox 12 Investigators, a local KPTV news segment spotlighting hot topics in (alleged) investigative journalism, recently aired a segment that is about the furthest thing from “news” that I can imagine, a feature on “The Five Most Dangerous Places for Women.”

It is available to view online, if you want to check it out:

This “news” story begins by promising to provide tips on how women can stay safe, then launches into a rehash of the case of Brooke Wilburger, who was reported missing over four and a half years ago from a Corvallis parking lot.

Pictures of Brooke are shown. She is young and blonde and very pretty; the story reports that the “body has never been recovered.”

Cut to an on-camera interview with a young woman who confesses to the audience, “I get really scared being a woman and, you know, being pregnant … I’m very nervous.”

Another woman admits that she approaches benign-looking strangers on MAX platforms when she is afraid for her safety, in hopes that they can “save her.”

The report continues to lists their expert’s opinion on the five most dangerous places for women:

1. Parking lots, according to the fear-mongering narrator, “make a kidnapper’s job easy.”2. Inside your own car is dangerous because you may feel too “safe in familiar surroundings.” 3. In your VERY OWN HOME you are in peril, as we are reminded by a reference to yet another kidnapping case, that of Elizabeth Short–an abduction that occurred six years ago. More breaking news!4. On familiar streets, you take your life into your own hands, referring again to the principle that as long as we aren’t in a state of constant near-panic, we are practically begging to be victims of heinous crimes.5. On college campuses women are also especially at risk to become victims.

Some of the safety tips their report offers include keeping all windows and doors locked, and never being alone.

So, safety is kind of like being in jail? Even at the end of the segment, as the reporter and interview participants discuss the merits of personal safety training (over the background sound of a woman shrilly yelling “No! No! No!”), the message is clear: Being female means that you are required to maintain a constant state of hyper-vigilant paranoia; to fail to do so is to volunteer to be kidnapped, raped and murdered.

I take exception to this story for a number of reasons. Obviously, I dislike the insidious underlying message that is being perpetuated: that women are not only born victims, but this is a status they should accept and learn to adapt to.

I’m also offended by the fact that this is being represented as investigative journalism, a form of mass media that I believe has the power to inform and make change for the better. Not only is this story not news, it misrepresents any truth or potentially useful information in favor of creating sensationalized panic.

To summarize this hard-hitting investigative journalism: Women aren’t safe at home, they aren’t safe when they aren’t at home, and they aren’t safe on their way home or on their way somewhere else. The number one most dangerous place for women is their state of existence. Females who don’t find someone to protect them had better stay locked inside if they know what’s good for them.

Um … no. I refuse to accept this as truth.

I’m not disregarding the seriousness of people getting hurt, or worse. I don’t deny that violence against women is common, or that it is a horrible thing.

However, I’m aware of the statistics that show that men are far likelier to be the victims of violent crime.

There is some merit to the idea that women aren’t safe in the places most familiar to them, but that is because the vast majority of women suffering from assault, injury, rape and murder will do so at the hands of someone they know–a fact that is misrepresented by this Fox 12 Investigators piece.

I would be delighted to see a thoughtful story that accurately reports on ways to prevent violent crime, especially spousal and domestic abuse, but this one didn’t even come close.

It’s true for anything or anyone that is alive, every single situation holds the possibility of danger. Having said that, no one can stay sane or healthy in a state of ongoing terror, believing that someone or something is going to “get them.”

This story, this fear-mongering, sensationalized piece of non-news ��poses more of a threat to women than all of the knife-wielding strangers hiding in the shadows (real and imagined) put together.

If we have accepted the idea that all women are destined to be attacked and abused, we have to cut it out immediately. Anyone who perpetuates this premise (I’m talking to you, KPTV) is the real danger.