Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Fellow Vagina Americans*

BORING POST ALERT--MAJOR RANTING--NO PICTURES--NO KNITTING--YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Monday was a meeting at work to answer the final questions people had concerning the move to Newark.

We were given a packet of information with maps, places to eat, places to get your nails done (such an east coast thing--I've never met so many people obsessed with their fingernails til I moved here), and attractions. I'm a cheapass, so I won't be eating out, I could give two shits about the state of my finger and toenails, but I did find a nice Farmers' Market that allegedly takes place every Wednesday til the middle of October in a park across the street.

Hopefully that will take the sting off of having to leave my beloved Farm Stand currently across the street from our office.

One of the last topics covered was parking.

The final word on parking?

"Females will get spaces on-site; everyone else will have to park in the parking garage."

Oooooooo.....let me describe how mad this makes me.

First up, let me give you a schematic of the office and parking layout:

Office

See how close the parking garage is to the office? If you parked in the garage, you'd have approximately one block (the block OUR office takes up--there's another office building on the other side of that street that I didn't draw) to walk to get to work.

Apparently that wasn't safe enough for my fellow female co-workers.

They don't want to walk a whole city block and thru a parking garage. Something might happen to them!

Never mind that 45% will be leaving the office at 4:30 p.m. (arriving at 8:30 a.m.), another 45% (me being one of this group) will be leaving the office at 5:00 p.m. (arriving at 9:00 a.m.) and the other 10% will be leaving at 6:00 p.m. or later (female attorneys with no set hours, a random female secretary who might have to work late, and one employee who lives nearly in PA who commutes into the office--she shows up at 10:00 a.m. and leaves at 6:00 p.m.).

That 10% is the ONLY group I'm willing to entertain a "I can't walk that far" whine from. By the time they leave the office it will be dark. The other 90% of us? Notsomuch.

Now, let's look at the statistics.

I've done some research on all the places I've lived.

In Anchorage, as a teenager, I would ride the bus in from downtown to mid-town for work.

In Greeley, Colorado one of my favorite things to do was to go for walks in the dark--past frat houses and what people told me was not a good part of town.

In San Antonio, I would often have to walk past a very busy bus terminal that had many mentally unstable people waiting for buses or loitering (it was past a hospital).

In Lansing, well, did I ever blog about my close friend's sister being taken from her home while her children slept, to a different home where she was tied up, tortured, set on fire and murdered? Sadly they didn't kill her before they set her on fire. They still haven't caught the person(s) who did that.

I pulled the 2003 crime statistics for Anchorage, Lansing, San Antonio, and Newark.

Now I know comparing these statistics is like comparing apples to oranges because lets face it--San Antonio dwarfs Lansing with it's population of 1,212,789 to Lansing's mere 118,937.

But in some ways it's NOT comparing apples to oranges because I've spent time in all of these places.

However, keeping in the apple to apple comparison, I'm going to compare Anchorage, AK (population 271,085) to Newark, NJ (population 278,551) (all of these numbers are from the 2003 FBI Report of Offenses Known to Law Enforcement).

Murders in Anchorage: 17
Murders in Newark: 81

Forcible Rapes in Anchorage: 244
Forcible Rapes in Newark: 85

Car Theft in Anchorage: 1197
Car Theft in Newark: 6018


Hmm...interesting huh? I'm more likely to have my car stolen and be murdered in Newark, however I'm more likely to get raped in Anchorage.

But let's look at the overall violent crime v. property crime numbers.

Overall Violent Crime in Anchorage: 1744
Overall Violent Crime in Newark: 2731

Overall Property Crime in Anchorage: 11706
Overall Property Crime in Newark: 13861

So we're talking about a 987 difference in violent crime in Newark v. Anchorage with Newark topping Anchortown.

And a 2155 difference in property crime in Newark v. Anchorage with Newark topping.

If you use the overall population rates as a base, then I've got a .98% chance in Newark of being a victim of violent crime, and a 4.97% chance of being a victim of property crime.

In Anchorage? A .64% chance of being a victim of violent crime, and a 4.32% chance of being a victim of property crime.

Holy cow. Those are some scary percentages.

The underlying reason this chaps my ass is given these numbers and stereotypes of urban areas, it's women like my coworkers that hurl a dingleberry on a Vagina American's chance of ever being considered equal to a man.

I could see if one was unable to physically walk a block -- and our office hitman accounts receivable guy is one of those people -- but being a woman makes me physically unable to walk that extra block in the daylight? Huh?

The whole thing disgusts me.

I believe tomorrow morning I'm going to see if the Office Manager won't let me park in the garage and walk. Chances are she won't respond to me because quite honestly the poor woman has bigger fish to fry than listen to me right now until we get moved and settled.

It's possible that this move is just wearing really thin on me for reasons I don't want to get into, but I'm failing to see why the women in my office are so scared to walk a block.

I mean we all know someone or of someone who has been raped, murdered, mugged, or had their car stolen or broken into, but a block? A block down a busy street in broad daylight?

Maybe y'all can enlighten me, maybe I'm neglecting to see some glaring obvious point out there--what would be your reason for not being able to walk a block in broad daylight?

And if you're not a Vagina American--would you really worry about your wife/mother/daughter/sister/girlfriend walking a block to work in broad daylight?

Ok, rant over! Push out the jive, bring in the love!!!

*Once again, I have to thank The Daily Show for introducing me to the term "Vagina Americans."

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29 Comments:

Blogger Trillian42 said...

OK, unless THAT SPECIFIC garage has a SERIOUS record of being a problem (at which point, why does ANYONE have to park there), yeah, I'm with you. Besides, if I walked an extra block, I might let myself eat dessert more often. :)

6:52 AM  
Blogger Red Dog Knits - Kristi and Otis said...

My husband worked on that case - sad. I've lived in some dicey parts of towns (Phoenix and Grand Rapids and in Lansing when I first moved here). I went everywhere but had Otis/Cujo - who tore a new asshole in one unsuspecting wierdo in an inner city GR park while I was on an evening stroll. My best friend lives in NY and works in Jersey - she carries mace and freaking gets her nails done too - I just don't get that. Getting my nails done means there is no dirt under them...at least not a lot of dirt.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

I like getting my nails done until I developed a fungal infection that now has to grow out. No more acrylics for me. ever.

As far as being safe, I think it's as much a matter of attitude as of place. I live in a fairly safe neighborhood which still has had murders and swat team action in the last few years. Does that keep me from walking? No. I will not be frightened of my own shadow. I do take precautions and walk in the daylight and in areas that are not deserted. I mean, duh, that's common sense. I think your penis american decision makers were trying to be courteous and went overboard. I'd park in the garage.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Kay aka dkswife said...

Well this vagina american would like to tell your fellow vagina americans to kiss my female ass, suck it up and walk. Here are the stats where I work:
Right across the street from me -- I mean right across the street not even a block -- is a homeless shelter, with get this, a soccer field. I have no effing clue why the homeless need a soccer field, but whatever...so I work in a not so great part of town...for 20 years...and have not been attacked yet. Not saying it will not and cannot happen, but please, and I have also told you about that stats (national -- not just a MO stat.) in the town I work in as being the 10th most dangerous per capita. Do I think I live close to a dangerous town, yes, because of all the crime that happens, but really, what are the odds. Carry mace or a gun (If you can do a concealed thing), and go on with life. Okay, my rant is over as well. Yes, that would piss me off as well.

The parking should be designated based on a real need...not a gender.

7:55 AM  
Blogger Cindy in Happy Valley said...

I'd want to park in the garage just so I wouldn't have to stand in the parking lot and scrape ice off the windshield in the winter.

That being said, the "gender politics" of inequality (IMHO) have a lot more to do with individual choices (and the ability to stand up for ones self) than populist attitudes. I also suspect that the lawyer thing is kicking in. They want to decrease their chances of being sued if one of the female employees was assaulted in the garage.

Weird, but I can't help but think that there is some CYA stuff going on here.

Ask to park in the garage. It will be SOOOO worth it in bad weather.

8:01 AM  
Blogger sgeddes said...

My guess is that they had a limited number of the "close" spaces and tried to think of the easiest way to decide who gets them. Seniority, alphabetically, gender, my guess is that they thought this way would be the least troublesome to the whole staff. Maybe they should have done a lottery.

I like parking a little further away from the door, more exercise. I have started walking every morning when I come to work for a little exercise (about 2 miles) and this time of year the entire walk is almost in the dark.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Tactless Wonder said...

I obviously don't comment early enough anymore...CYA was on the tip of my tongue as I read your post.

You work for lawyers after all! When you weigh sexual harassment (sexism) vs possible assault, they really were between a rock and a hard place...

Wait until after the move, once things have settled, offer to sign a waiver, they will let you park wherever you want.

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would think it is more an issue of the parking garage than the walking a block. Parking garages are one of those places where people are more likely to be attacked. I realize 95% of the people will be leaving during day light hours but they probably felt it was better to err on the side of caution.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Kay aka dkswife said...

Oh, and about the nails...it is crack for my fingers...I LOVE getting my nails done. It is one of the most non-frugal things I do, but I love it.

8:55 AM  
Blogger DPUTiger said...

This would bug the crap out of me too. If you believe you might be a victim, then guess what? You already are! I hate crap like this. I'd opt for the garage too. Good luck!

8:58 AM  
Blogger janna said...

I think it's the belief that parking garages are unsafe. Not sure I've ever actually seen statistics the back that up, though. However, back in the 80s, TV shows loved to use parking garages as crime scenes, so that makes it true, right? ;-)

9:29 AM  
Blogger Amby said...

Huh. I go to meetings in downtown Detroit all the time, sometimes in iffy neighborhoods, and never had a problem. Yet I heard recently that a woman was attacked in the parking garage of a super-ritzy/expensive/snobby shopping mall right up the street. You've got to be aware no matter where you are, and yeah, some places you need to be even MORE aware.

Jeez, if the area is THAT scary, what's to keep the guys in your office from being mugged in the parking garage? Having a wiener isn't going to protect you from a thug.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

These nervous nellies should get an effing grip. Granted there is significant crime in Newark, it poses minimal threat to your office worker. AlsoI presume that your office is not relocating to so-called "bad neighborhood." All your frightened co-workers can use their fancy-ass long fake nails as weapons.
I'm a native NJer and am baffled by the fascination with nails.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Magatha said...

Well, the assumption here grates my cheese. The assumption that men can defend themselves and women cannot. (Can a man not be just as easily murdered and have his car stolen as a woman?) I know men who couldn't lift a finger to defend themselves and I know women who I'd be afraid to come up against in a dark garage or at the grocery. ;-) It is completely Neanderthal and I suspect a high ranking female with "influence" in the firm is the genesis of this nonsense. Ask for the garage if you want it. At least you'll not have to scrape your car to go home after a snowstorm.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So they gave a map to all the places that you can get your nails done at?! And you get to park in the lot that is close to the office building?! Leads me to believe they expect you all to scratch to frost/snow off your cars in the winter time.

I agree with everyone else here if you think you will be a victim, you already ARE one!! Just be prepared and go for the family jewels. Plus if you have to scream anything scream FIRE!! not RAPE!! I was taught in basic training that people respond to Fire but ignore rape.

There that is my two cents worth. Love, Mom

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Michelle (Akknitter) said...

There is the slight possibility that it's more of a crossing the street issue. I wasn't afraid to walk around in Newark as long as I didn't have to cross too many streets. Those drivers are insane, and if you are wearing impractical shoes, it's harder to get out of the way.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Disco said...

And I thought chivalry was dead ;0)

2:07 PM  
Blogger cpurl17 said...

I worked in a company once where they had reserved parking for all the Directors and above in title. Come to find out that it was the President who wanted the reserved space and made all the others park with him so he wouldn't look like an asshole.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I live in New Orleans. Yeah there are places you just avoid, especially after dark but come on!

I have never heard of more scaredy cats than the women (and their stories of their friends) I know who live close to you in New Jersey. I mean, they are afraid to go beyond their block for fear for their lives. I'd rather be cautious then terrified any day. For some reason it is always the women who act scared of where they are who are the targets.

They ought to see which employees actually need to be parking closer to the building and give them those spaces.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Not wanting to walk one block in the daylight is just silly. Even I'll admit that!

I also don't get the nails thing. When I used to bartend, the owner required I had done nails. Weirdness!

6:08 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Wow, I'm totally shocked by that.

My youngest sister and I had to go to summer school one year during high school when I was 15 and she was 14. The summer school was WAY on the other side of town, in a fairly urban area a couple of bus rides away. My dad took us there once on the bus to show us how to get there, and we went there every day by ourselves without a problem.

When I met my husband, he lived in a really rough inner city area of Cleveland. I used to take the bus over his house all the time by myself at 19, 20 years old (and boy, did I stick out being the only white person around, LOL!). I got some funny looks, and once some teenagers yelled something stupid at me, but that was about all that happened.

I've worked/gone to school downtown off and on for over a decade now, and have caught the bus home by myself hundreds of times in the evening/at night, and I've never been fortunate enough to just walk a block to the bus stop. At my last job I had a good 6 block walk to the bus stop.

I'm not naive - one of my older sisters was robbed by a man with a butcher knife downtown some years ago on a Saturday morning - but I won't let fear of crime stop me from doing what I need to do.

Those are some crazy statistics though, especially about Anchorage. Anchorage just isn't the kind of place that comes to mind when I think about high crime cities.

P.S. That's funny about the nails! Ive only had three manicures in my lifetime, and two of those were for weddings I was in.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Hmmm, my husband's grandmother was attacked, raped and left for dead...in her home. Not a parking garage. We had a lady shot in my town on her way to work. At 9:20am in front of the local shopping mall.

Seems a bit paranoid on your employer's part. You are correct.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Beverly said...

Is it wrong that all I can think is, at least you won't have as far to walk? I am all for convenience, and I hate having to walk any further than necessary. But, I do agree that it shouldn't be a gender issue - just a lazy ass issue.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Starfish said...

I get the whole "we are not the weaker sex" thing - but maybe you should check it out before running into the garage. I have lived my life in NY, and work all hours in various parts of the city. I can totally hold my own, but if someone told me I had to work in Newark, I would seriously consider taking them up on parking on site. Check out the neighborhood before you decide.

And for the record - I don't get my nails done. :)

12:10 PM  
Blogger Sssarahevt said...

I love your mom.
I however think that screaming "free big macs" would get more of a response : )

6:16 PM  
Blogger Edubabbler said...

Dr Mad Scientist sent me over. I could bore you with my experiences in Newark (always felt safe, never mugged, raped, threatened, etc), but let me give you a little insight into the psyche of the NJ suburbanite. Many of them have drunk the Kool Aid about how dangerous Newark is. I am guessing that your new office is in the shiny, pretty new business district by NJPAC and the Pru Center. Uhm... safe as the UN. There is sooo much security there, trust me, the chances of anything happening are nil.

What this speaks to is the old school white fear of the gentile white woman being ravaged by an unknown black male. If you think I'm going overboard, just look at the McCain ads. They totally reflect this.

Gotta go to class with your hubby.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

The parking lot is going to suck at 5:00 pm after a day in the office when it's been snowing all day outside, and you have to slip and slide all the way to your car, only to scrape off the ice and snow. I hate scraping off my windshield. Oh, and trying to back out of a parking space when the parking lot has been plowed, but they couldn't plow the snow away from my car ... ug!

I went to the movies a few years ago to see Titanic. When we went in, the parking lot was clear. when we came out, there was two feet of snow on the ground. I am not exaggerating.

I don't know much about NJ winters, but I know, here, in Coastal S. Maine, if I had a choice between parking in an uncovered, exposed-to-the-elements parking lot and parking (for free) in a parking garage, I'd take the garage.

I don't think the bit about them giving a map of where to find the nail salons is very funny. I think it's very sad, and if they're concerned about "sexual harrassment", to me, that kind of stretches the seams a bit. How many "men" would be receptive to that sort of information? I think it would make me want to ask where the nearest hardware store or the closest tattoo parlor was located.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Rebel said...

You know I'm behind you on this one - so I didn't feel the need to comment. Until I got 'the lecture' today after class. My students started asking me where I lived (a 7 min. walk away) and did I have someone to walk home with, etc etc etc. I was informed in no uncertain terms that I was to eat dinner *before* class so that one of the men could drive me home. =/ It's sweet, but I'm a grown-up and I'd like to make my own decisions about what's safe and what isn't.

11:33 AM  
Blogger JRS said...

Nail places?! JFC. They seriously included that info?! How about something useful, like the locations of the local library or Planned Parenthood?!

I'm with you on the parking thing. Walking a block is nothing and, quite frankly, something that most Americans should do more often. Plus, you're right, expectations of special treatment just create backlash. Grr.

9:55 PM  

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