You Can Shine a Light on it…But It’s Still Shit

I work in the inner-city.  I was so jazzed this year that I was able to co-ordinate with a couple downtown organizations and our civic government to secure some funding for safety lighting adjacent to our building.

Our building is on a very run-down block that is rife with anti-social and criminal behaviour.  We’re often dealing with drug deals, graffiti, drug use, fights and our favourite …public urination.  We added these safety lights to help calm traffic (so people using our space don’t get slammed) but also to dissuade people from using our space for these activities.  I’m starting to think that it hasn’t worked all that well.

Last night I was down at our building helping run an all-ages show for Local Library and I noticed that our alleyway – despite the lights, the mass of teenagers, my surly looks and the occasional vehicle  – did nothing to stop public urination from happening.  In fact, the same person returned at least 3 times to urinate in the same spot.  Even crazier…it was a woman.

Now – public urination is never a good thing.  It’s always gross – even when I do it.  But at least with guys it can be a bit more discrete and targeted.  With women, there is no discrete or dainty way to do it… apart from buying the “Shewee”.  All a lady can do is hitch up her skirt around her boobs, or drop her pants to her ankles and hope her angles are right and that she properly read the roll of the pavement to avoid standing in her own puddle.  Seeing this repeatedly has the (un)fortunately effect of demystifying this female biological process.

I’m thinking that all I can do now – apart from electrifying walls –  is put out some new signage.

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