"I remember, vividly, a day when my friend Masa asked me to walk her to the bus stop. It was only 6 o’clock, however we’d both decided that we were going to call it a night and head home as it was already dark; and at 15 and 16 years old, every hour of darkness meant another danger, another faceless and nameless stranger around every corner just waiting to pounce.
"As we walked together, we talked about the fears we had of walking alone whenever it was dark; or just in general. I remember she laughed after something was said, and looked at me, and said: 'When I die, you need to make sure my funeral is freakin’ amazing.' I laughed in return and assured her that I would make sure it would be, but there was no way she was dying any time soon."
"To this day, this exchange haunts me. It’s forever going to be something that lingers in my mind, and it sends chills down my spine. That evening, while we were talking, our fears of being stalked and harmed at the hands of a stranger at nightfall were those alike to the bogeyman, or monsters hiding under the bed. We knew that these things happened, but they were never going to happen to us, right?
"When Masa was taken from us, it was 7 PM. It was still light out, and she was close to her own home. She was on a walk, listening to her music. She felt safe, and she had every right to feel that way. People said that she shouldn’t have been wearing headphones. That she shouldn’t have been alone, and she should’ve been more aware of her surroundings."
"When a woman dies at the hands of another, the first thing that is always analysed is what she did wrong—what can we tell our daughters, our friends, our loved ones what else to do to make sure that it’s not them that this happens to next? When in reality, no amount of awareness, no keys between fingers, no phone in hand would have been able to stop what was already set in the mind of a killer."
"The problem doesn’t lie in what women should have to do in order to stay safe in their own spaces, it lies in the fact that women aren’t safe in their own spaces. That we tell women that it was the responsibility of the victim to not be a victim in the first place."
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