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Women feel unsafe in a town overrun by men

Sex crimes and domestic assault have been steadily increasing in the small oil town of Williston.

By Kristin Wong Jan 24, 2013 4:52PM

In the midst of an oil boom, young men have been migrating to North Dakota in search of work. It's lucrative work, too—many of them rake in six-figure salaries.

Because of this boom, Williston, North Dakota has seen a notable increase in its population of single men. In fact, the single men now significantly outnumber the single women of Williston. But the scarcity of women has an unsavory side effect—the men are becoming aggressive.

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The New York Times profiled the town this week, quoting a 22-year-old worker named Jon Kenworthy, who moved to Williston in December:

"It's bad, dude. I was talking to my buddy here. I told him I was going to import from Indiana because there’s nothing here.”

As bad as it is for the men, it's worse for the women, who say they no longer feel safe enough to go out alone.

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"So many people look at you like you're a piece of meat," Williston resident Megan Dye told the Times. "It's disgusting. It's gross."

And it's not just their imaginations. Over the past six years, there's been an increase in crimes against women, "including domestic and sexual assaults." In those six years, North Dakota has become the state with the third-highest ratio of single men to single women in the country. In 2011, there were 1.6 single men for every single woman.

"I've noticed my standards dropping," one young man told the Times. "I just went home two weeks ago. I saw the girls I had planned to see. That, hopefully, should hold me off until I go back next time in two months or so.”

While this attitude may seem harmless, the commodification of women in Williston is clearly linked to the increase in domestic and sexual assaults. Jessica Brightbill is a 24-year-old Williston resident who was attacked by two men on her way to work—at 3:30 in the afternoon.

"One hopped out and grabbed her by her arms and began dragging her. She let her body go limp so she would be harder to drag," the Times reported.

Bing: More about Williston, North Dakota

After that incident, Brightbill never goes out alone. And even though she's single, she expresses the difficulty of finding a good man in her town:

"It's just people trying to have sex."

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Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images/A row of new single wide mobile homes in Williston, North Dakota.

Jan 25, 2013 7:15PM

time to pack heat.. make them ten size too big handbags useful

either that or take some "**** kickin" classes

Jan 21, 2013 5:04PM
They forgot to mention that rape/murders of women are way up there too. Keep your daughters away.
Jan 18, 2013 9:35PM

Ladies remember gun control is puttig 3 in the 10 ring.



Jan 18, 2013 8:22PM
Maybe it's time for the police to start doing thier jobs and put some of the asses in jail where it sounds like they belong..Good luck ladies.
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