As of the time of this writing, the hashtag #romanempire has nearly 2 billion views on TikTok. Why is the Roman Empire suddenly in the zeitgeist? It all began when a woman in Sweden casually dropped an Instagram post of a screenshot between her and her partner, where she asks him how often he thinks about the Roman Empire. Evidently it was quite often. She then urged others to do the same with the men in their lives.
Naturally this trend made its way to TikTok and true to form, far too many men claim they think about the Roman Empire at least once a week. Men thinking about a civilization that "did not regard women as equal to men before the law," per PBS, doesn't bode well for the ladies. Personally I don't want to date a man obsessed with a time when women were nothing more than mothers or wives. This begs the question, what do women think about? One TikToker has an answer that definitely needs more work.
Why does this woman think about getting kidnapped or being murdered?
In my previous life I was the creator and director of a true crime festival, which was born from my interest in the genre. I'm also someone who had a traumatic childhood and is an assault survivor. To combat any and all complex post traumatic stress, I am in therapy. This has given me the tools needed to move through the world in a less anxious way.
All this to say if you are like Chelty, who goes by @chelty2015 on TikTok, there might be some unresolved issues at play regarding her TikTok. When asked how often she thinks about being kidnapped or getting murdered, she said "every other day." That's too many times and doesn't make sense when it comes to who is actually being kidnapped or getting killed.
According to Our Time Press, via the CDC, "homicide is one of the leading causes of death for women aged 18–44," with non-Hispanic Black women experiencing the highest rates of homicide. As a white woman, Chelty is less likely to be murdered.
I couldn't find specific information on kidnapping but Statista reported, using data collected by the FBI, that "Black people in the U.S. are overrepresented among missing persons." Young Black women "make up just 2 percent of the U.S. population, but more than 15 percent of missing persons — or around 80,000 individuals in 2022." The report came to the conclusion that young Black women are more likely to go missing in the U.S.
This isn't to say that white women aren't the victims of these crimes, it's just statistically less likely to happen. So, why might a white woman worry so much about either of these things? I suspect the media is partially to blame for disproportionately covering when white women go missing or are killed.
Dr. Kaye Wise Whitehead, the founder and director of the Karson Institute for Race, Peace and Social Justice at Loyola University of Maryland, told WBALTV 11, "It takes all of our attention. News turns to it, police officers, the FBI — everybody does everything possible when a white woman goes missing." She added, "Truly I want them to be found, I want their families to be made whole and restored. My concern is we don't have the same type of interest, attention outlook a commitment when Black girls and woman go missing."
It's possible Chelty is under the impression that kidnappers and killers are around every corner, because these crimes are reported more when a white woman is the victim. The late journalist Gwen Ifill referred to this as "Missing White Woman Syndrome," said NPR, and it describes "media's fascination with, and detailed coverage of, the cases of missing or endangered white women — compared to the seeming disinterest in covering the disappearances of people of color."
It's important to note the music Chelty chose to play under her TikTok. It's titled Crime Junkie Theme. Crime Junkie is a popular true crime podcast so it stands to reason Chelty likes true crime. Is she implying that consuming true crime has contributed to her fears? Maybe.
I've noticed a trend on social media where men are suggesting women are more anxious about being victims of a crime because they like true crime. Where do these men think true crime content comes from? I have no doubt it can make women more jumpy, but avoiding the genre of true crime doesn't make crime itself go away. That's goofy.
However, I do think it's important to know the difference between a real threat and a perceived threat based on a trauma response. I've said this many times to myself and others, your issues are not your fault but they are your responsibility. If a person thinks they might get kidnapped or murdered every other day, it's time to look within.