Imagine you’re faced with a peculiar choice: would you rather find yourself alone in the woods with a bear or a man? This question has stirred up quite a buzz on social media, and the responses from many women might surprise you – they’d opt for the bear!

Read the original article by Lisa Sugiura over at The Conversation.

While this choice may seem shocking to some men, it reflects the harsh reality of women’s experiences in a world where male violence is all too common. The fear of encountering a man in an isolated place is grounded in alarming statistics, with one in three women worldwide experiencing sexual or physical violence at the hands of a partner or non-partner. In comparison, bear attacks are relatively rare, with only 664 recorded incidents across the globe over the past 15 years.

It’s important to understand that this fear isn’t about labeling all men as inherently dangerous but recognizing the real risks posed by a subset of men. Women frequently adjust their behavior to avoid harassment or violence from strangers, a form of “safety work” they’ve had to adopt as a survival mechanism.

However, non-violent actions by men also contribute to a culture that normalizes misogyny and enables predatory behavior. When men remain silent in the face of abuse or participate in sexist behavior, it perpetuates an environment where women must constantly be on guard. This insidious continuum of sexism impacts women’s daily lives far more than the remote threat of a bear ever could.

While this conversation may feel uncomfortable, it’s not intended as an indictment of all men. Instead, it’s a call for understanding, empathy, and collective action to combat gender-based violence. By listening to women’s experiences and working together, we can create a safer, more inclusive world for everyone.

Head over to The Conversation to read the original article by Lisa Sugiura.