chapter  13
6 Pages

The Female Fear

WithMargaret T. Gordon

In any large American city, "typical" rapes—conceived as a stranger attacking a lone woman in a dark, deserted place—are no longer news. Among the many rapes and attempted rapes that occur on a daily basis, only a small proportion are reported to the police. The Victimization Surveys are probably more accurate, in as much as women who have been attacked but escaped often don't bother to report the crime to the police. Today, more than 65 percent of the women living in American cities are afraid to go out alone at night for fear of harm. This chapter focuses on the media's coverage of crime against women can and should shatter taboos, and—as in the Hill-Thomas hearings—bring issues before the public in a way that doesn't worsen the situation for women or for the media. Commercial uses of crimes against women to increase ratings or circulation contribute to a climate of violence and fear and to the acceptance of urban violence and fear.