I get it — there are plenty of people who love to hate the Kardashian family and take every available opportunity to mock them. But, as fellow Bustle writer Nicole Pomarico recently wrote, it's upsetting and disappointing that Kim Kardashian's robbery in Paris is being used as fodder for jokes. (Seriously — we have Donald Trump for that.) As someone who's never seen more than half an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians and doesn't typically know much about what's going on with the star, I care about the Kardashian robbery because it reflects a broader issue that's extremely important — the safety of women.
Yes, in this particular incident the woman in question was targeted because of her wealth and many will argue this makes her an "exception." But, as someone who doesn't have $10 million worth of jewelry and is fairly certain no one is after my J. Crew necklaces, I've experienced plenty of fear about my own safety — and I'm far from the only one. As I've recently learned firsthand, many people don't take our concerns seriously.
As a single woman who lives alone, I was recently forced to pay a hefty fee to break a lease after multiple break-ins at my apartment building. I'd attempted to speak with management multiple times over the course of several months about the building's security, and my concerns were brushed off by women who I was certain would empathize. I've heard similar stories from friends, colleagues, people I run into at parties — you get the idea. Although the Kardashian break-in was for the purpose of a robbery, that's certainly not the only reason men choose to violently enter a woman's residence when she's alone.
According to E!, Kardashian was bound, gagged, and held at gunpoint during the incident. After she begged for her life, the men put duct tape over her mouth and put her in the bathtub, the site reports. A source told the outlet that, "[s]he thought they were for sure going to kill her." As many have pointed out, this is only a news story because of who the victim is — and I'm fully aware that we wouldn't hear a word about this if it hadn't happened to a celebrity. Not to say that it wouldn't be just as important if it happened to a non-celebrity, but since it did, why not use this as an opportunity to raise awareness about women's overall safety and security?
If this can happen to someone who travels with security guards, it's even more unnerving for those of us who return home alone at night. I'm not worried about my high-priced possessions (because they're nonexistent), but I'm consistently aware that any woman alone is at risk for sexual and physical violence — regardless of the precautions we take, such as asking our Uber drivers to wait until we're safely inside our buildings before driving away and texting our friends that we've arrived home safe and sound.
Reports continue to emphasize that Kardashian is shaken up but physically unharmed — and, of course, that's something to be grateful for. But they fail to mention that violent or life threatening incidents often result in PTSD. Although Kardashian wasn't gravely injured, it's impossible to deny that a woman being bound and gagged isn't violent — and she understandably feared the masked men would kill her. Regardless of what you think about Kardashian, based on what we know, it would appear that she's at risk for PTSD (although that certainly doesn't mean she'll develop the disorder) and no one deserves to suffer like that.
I'm not inside Kardashian's head and I have no idea what emotions she's experiencing right now. But I do know that, for many of us, it's incredibly difficult to regain our sense of security after being violated in a place that's supposed to be safe. And, again, the issues of women's safety, violence against women, and the mental health issues they can trigger are much larger than the Kardashian incident. I'm sure her family will be a major support system for her and she'll be able to afford top-notch treatment if she does struggle emotionally as a result of the event — but not every woman has those resources.
The insensitive responses to Kardashian's ordeal are an example of people not taking women's safety seriously. Everyone should be above the attitude of "I don't care because it happened to a celebrity." I'm not saying we all instantly need to become huge fans of Kardashian, but we do need to think about why people think it's OK to joke about a traumatic incident that happened to someone they don't particularly like. I care about the Kardashian robbery not because of who she is, but because it reflects the frightening reality that even women with bodyguards aren't safe. The vast majority of us aren't walking targets because of our money or possessions — we're targets because we're women and therefore viewed as easy prey.