Safe and Sound; Safety, Culture Shock and Privilege

I grew up in Kansas, a super friendly place. However, safety seemed to always be an ever present issue. I vividly remember the shock that reverberated across my community when Kelsey Smith, a girl from a high school close to me, was kidnapped and killed while exiting a Target close to my high school. A few years earlier Ali Kemp was raped and killed working at a pool not far from where I live. I was on a run in high school when I was followed and harrassed by a man in a truck who “just wanted to talk” and repeatedly yelled at me to “come here.”

Feeling safe as a woman has not been a privilege afforded to me in the United States.
Conversly, Taiwan is the second safest country in the world (except when you get in a car; the roads are crai). This safety feels like such a privilege. I can walk around at night and I feel safe. Obviously, I still need to take precautions/carry a cell phone, etc., but Taiwan is a safe place!
Having the privilege of feeling safe has been the single biggest (positive) culture shock to me. I suppose this is how males feel all the time? It is incredible to think that Taiwan is actually safer for me, as a young woman, than America is. Mind blowing! I anticipate that when I return to the U.S. this will be the greatest shock to my system.
Why is Taiwan so much safer? What is the difference? I have some ideas, however I’m not sure what merit they hold. Guns don’t seem to be allowed here. Hyper-masculinity isn’t promoted here like it is in the states. I don’t know what it is, but if I had to write a research paper on something here, I think I would persue that topic.

2 thoughts on “Safe and Sound; Safety, Culture Shock and Privilege

  1. Amy says:

    I absolutely second your sentiment Celeste. Taiwan is probably one of the safest places in the world for a woman. I walk down dark empty alleys at night with NO FEAR. I am still aware, but not afraid. The only time I have actually had a flashing sense of danger was one time when I was singled out and cornered at a gathering by a man who was from North America. Though from the perspective of a Taiwanese woman, I am sure it is quite different. Cultural norms and behaviour expected from them is quite different from foreigners. I get the feeling that many from traditional families are kept within a fear/shame/modesty boundary that tells them every man outside the family is scary and bad news (except when one is chosen for you), even though they are most likely to encounter domestic violence, rather than from a random stranger. It would be an interesting study, for sure.

    • banksceleste says:

      Interesting point on the perspective of a Taiwanese woman!… I feel the same in terms of my personal safety; the only time I’ve felt uncomfortable was when a North American man was being aggressive. It seems like such a conundrum.

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