One new indulgence was to go out evenings alone. This I worked out carefully in my mind, as not only a right but a duty. Why should a woman be deprived of her only free time, the time allotted to recreation? Why must she be dependent on some man, and thus forced to please him if she wished to go anywhere at night? A stalwart man once sharply contested my claim to this freedom to go alone. ‘Any true man,’ he said with fervor, ‘is ready to go with a woman at night. He is her natural protector.’ ‘Against what?’ I inquired. As a matter of fact, the thing a woman is most afraid to meet on a dark street is her natural protector. Singular.
—Charlotte Perkins Gilman from The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: An Autobiography