Curious to hear about how height affects feelings of safety/sexual aggression

posted 6 months ago in The Lounge
Post # 16
Member
551 posts
Busy bee

I think a lot of it has to do with environment, as PPs have said, but maybe in a slightly different way for me. I grew up in an inner city Boston neighborhood. At all times of the day, and especially at night, you ran the risk of riding the bus or train with drunk frat boys, heroin addicts, people with untreated mental illnesses and the occasional rogue sleazeball. From a young age it was drilled into me by my parents that whenever I was out walking or commuting, I needed to keep my eyes peeled for anything that might be classed as suspicious behavior. It’s just something that you get used to doing after a while. I live in the country now, and I still check behind me when I walk around alone. And yes, if a man near me is exhibiting suspicious behavior and happens to be 6’5″, I’d be much more perturbed, but I’m 5’3″ and petite, so a determined, testosterone-fueled man doesn’t have to be a giant to overpower me. Oddly, if a cop or another male figure of authority were that height I would feel safer—probably a primal parent-child instinct thing resurfacing. Dangerous, too, if you consider how many cops have been accused of sexual assault. 

Post # 17
Member
11341 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

There has been some interesting research regarding disparity of force between men and women; what I have read has been in the context of justification for the use of deadly force by a female victim against a male assailaint.

I don’t recall if height was a big factor; upper body strength and speed are what matters.  A retired NYPD detective told me recently that women are typically attacked from 7-10 feet.  It takes an average adult male two seconds to close that gap.

Another thing he said is that we *cannot* outrun a male attacker, no matter how fit we are.  He’s faster.  We may have the ability to outlast him, but, he’ll easily catch us.

Post # 18
Member
197 posts
Blushing bee

I’m 5’2 and really small. It’s so easy for men to overpower me and a rapist taunted me about it. 

“I love having power over you”

it’s something I’ll never forget and I hate that 

Post # 19
Member
538 posts
Busy bee

I definitely feel more vulnerable because of my size. I’m only 5’1″ and all the way through college, I had guy friends who thought it was funny to pick me up even though they knew I hated it. I took Krav Maga (self-defense) for a few years, and the class was mostly men, though there were quite a few women. That’s when I saw how easy it was for average-size men to throw me around. The instructors had to teach me modified versions of some of the techniques; even though Krav was developed with the assumption that your attacker would be bigger and stronger, it wasn’t developed with child-size people in mind.

I also grew up with an older sister who was bat-shit insane and she often physically assaulted my mother. She loved to say things to my mom like, “You can’t make me do anything. I’m bigger than you.” She was bigger than me too, of course. Still is. She stopped terrorizing my brother when he grew taller than her, but she continued to target me and my mom.

Lesson learned: Being small makes you an easy target. Being small means other people can do whatever they want to you. Whether it’s dangerous people who really want to hurt you, or friends who mean no harm but still think they have the right to pick you up and carry you around and will laugh when you protest, because your anger is so funny and cute to them. So it’s not just fearing for my safety, it’s also the blatant lack of respect, due to my size. I kinda hate being short.

Post # 20
Member
959 posts
Busy bee

I’m 5’2 and fortunately never really get much attention. No one’s ever tried to pick me up, or patronize me due to my height. I’ve never felt *more* uncomfortable around tall men than shorter men…creepy people give me the creeps regardless of their height, age, race, etc. 

I’m also like Slo in that I’m extremely paranoid simply from reading or hearing about horror, so I’m always on my toes regardless…and frankly height has never even ocurred to me before. I don’t feel I’d be any stronger if I was taller, or be less of a target. By simply being a woman I know I’m a target for sexual assault. 

Post # 21
Member
871 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2019 - Country/barn

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wander :  ugh. That just made me feel sick to my stomach. I’m so sorry you went through that 🙁

Post # 22
Member
584 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

I’m completely average height for a woman in my country – between 5″4′ and 5″5′.  I don’t think I associate my height vs men as far as being on guard, but I can’t experience what it’s like to be on the short or tall ends of the spectrum.

The 2 scariest women I’ve ever known were both probably about 5″1′.  Both could take down a large man, not with martial arts training or something, but with a mean punch and a rage problem. 

I know you didn’t ask about men, but I thought it might be interesting to add, my husband is tall (6″2′ I think) and he has mentioned before that he has felt like a target to guys looking for a fight at pubs or walking home, because he has the height to “not look like an easy target” but he is on the skinny side, so they probably think they can get the upper hand on him.  He’s sketchier than I am walking alone at night. 

Post # 23
Member
4710 posts
Honey bee

I’m 5’4” which is very much average height where I’m from and never really felt threatened because I’m not tall. However, my friend who is really short (she’s 4’10”) have complained about this.  

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beesinging :  

Post # 24
Member
197 posts
Blushing bee

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xraychick01 :  Thank you, I’m glad we’re talking about this because it’s just as real as the greater risk of violence of women in general. 

Post # 25
Member
2836 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2017 - Courthouse

Honestly I think height/weight/physical fitness level doesn’t have a lot to do with it. I’m sure it’s true some rapist or attackers view smaller women as easier targets. But there’s a reason it’s not just little women getting attacked and raped. 

I’m 5’0” and average weight. I’ve always been hyper aware of my surroundings. But my mom is a true crime junkie and always taught me to never trust anyone. 

Post # 26
Member
650 posts
Busy bee

I’m 5’3 and skinny but I don’t feel the same way your friends do. I have an average amount of caution and people definitely don’t pick me up against my will! The only issue i have is that people think that because I’m small I don’t deserve personal space. On public transport people always squish me into a corner of try to take up both their seat and mine if I ever get a seat. And when I’m walking people don’t give me any room either and they’re often very close to knocking me over, despite the fact that there’s plenty of room for them to move over and give me space. When you’re small people simply try to walk right through you. Haven’t had the same experiences with sexual harrassment, fortunately. 

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