The Heart Beat The Heart Beat blog

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.

Photo; Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesMore on MSN Living: Just got engaged? 11 things to do NOW!

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.

 More on MSN Living: Engagement etiquette tips everyone should know 

"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."

Subscribe to The Heart Beat

More from The Heart Beat:
A virtual reality sex game is on the way
Why powerful people are more likely to cheat

Study: Confidence before marriage leads to a happy union

Love content like this? Friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and find us on Pinterest

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.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

love: friendships, dating, sex & marriage

  • Sign placement/"10 Most Outrageous Wedding Photos"/Photo: Brooke Aliceon Photography

    10 outrageous wedding photos

    The typical wedding: A white dress, tiered cake, floral centerpieces and a cute flower girl -- you know the drill. Every once in a while, though, a couple trades in tradition for a quirky, never-seen-that-before idea. Here are a few of the most out-there wedding photos that made us do a double take.

  • Hot wedding trends for fall

    9 hot wedding trends for fall

    There's a lot to love about weddings this fall, like cocktails served in copper Moscow mule mugs, industrial-inspired lighting and pheasant feather details. See what's new!

  • Monique Pean Mineraux diamond and rose gold ring, $3,400; barneys.com

    Why single ladies are rocking a wedding ring

    Do you have to be engaged to sport a ring with bling?

  • ​KIVILCIM PINAR, Getty Images //  ​KIVILCIM PINAR, Getty Images (​KIVILCIM PINAR, Getty Images)

    Majority of Americans are single

    124.6 million haven't gotten hitched.

  • least expensive places to get married

    These are the 25 least expensive places to get married in America

    Even though the national average wedding is $29,858, that’s just an average. If you live in a smaller state like Idaho where the average wedding costs $16,159, you may find yourself saving a little more than half of the national spend! Check out some of the other least expensive cities to get married in below:

  • M Swiet Productions, Getty Images // M Swiet Productions, Getty Images (M Swiet Productions, Getty Images)

    Americans have nostalgia for summer romance

    Summer is winding down, but the ubiquitous summer romance lives on.

  • 8 signs it's time to break up

    8 signs it’s definitely time to break up

    For those times when nothing big and horrible happened--but nothing is feeling right either.

  • Actor/"Why we love an older man"/Photo: Shutterstock

    Reasons why we love an older man

    He’s confident, distinguished and anywhere from 4 to 20 years older than you. Age is just a number, but there’s something about older men that we love. Here are eight reasons why being in a relationship with an older man is tops.

  • Actor/"Why we love a younger man"/Photo: Shutterstock

    Reasons why we love a younger man

    While a younger man may have less life experience, that doesn’t mean he’s not emotionally mature. Here are the eight reasons why being in a relationship with a younger man is tops.

  • Other woman (Courtesy YourTango)

    5 reasons the other woman slept with your man

    Have you ever wondered what the 'other woman' was thinking?

  • Apple picking

    6 fun fall date ideas

    So fall is coming and you need some romantic inspiration now that long walks on the beach are out of the question. Well look no further! From apple picking to pumpkin carving, these are some great fall date ideas from girls just like you!

  • Go to a theme park

    8 cute celeb date ideas

    Getting bored of the same dinner and movie date night? Take an adorable cue from your favorite celebs and try something new! From dancing to boxing you can't go wrong with these awesome date ideas.

buzzing now on msn living
The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner
relationship videos
editor's picks
the heart beat