A safe hike
So, women, do you ever turn down a chance to hike in the wilderness or go for a walk in the park at night because you feel it might be too dangerous? Or do you feel safer a few miles out in the boonies than you do in downtown Reno?
If you’re a female over the age of 18 living in the United States, a UNR grad student wants to know about your outdoor experiences. Lilace Mellin Guignard, a master’s degree candidate in UNR’s Literature and Environment program, has crafted a survey for women, the results of which will guide Guignard’s thesis on women’s attitudes on hiking, animals and even how it feels to not shower for a few days.
“It’s about how women use spaces, what spaces they choose to use and how they decide risk for themselves,” Guignard says.
For example, statistics would show that a woman hiking a few miles from a trail head is likely to be safer than a woman walking in an urban park. “Serial killers don’t like to go on multi-mile hikes,” Guignard suggests. And for many women, the most dangerous place to be is home—where domestic violence claims a far higher percentage of woman than any outdoor activity.
“There is no such thing as real safety,” Guignard says.
So a woman often makes choices based on perceived dangers. The messages a woman receives about safety can often be traced to her upbringing.
“Risk is something everyone defines for herself, based on what’s defined as a benefit,” Guignard says.
Guignard will use the survey info and several one-on-one interviews with women to complete her thesis and eventually to write a book. Participation in the online survey is confidential and open to any women—regardless of how much time they spend outdoors.
“The goal is to collect a wide range of perceptions,” Guignard says.
You can take the survey at www.unr.nevada.edu/~lilace.