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Why don’t women feel safe? Personified danger has always been far scarier than statistical risk

Men do not understand what it is like to be a woman. Credit: Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Men do not understand what it is like to be a woman. Credit: Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto via Getty Images


March 13, 2021   7 mins

Men do not understand what it is like to be a woman — to feel unsafe on the streets. In the aftermath of the death of Sarah Everard, whose body was recently found outside Ashford, that fact has been extremely clear. 

I have walked the streets of London and Liverpool on my own for the past 20 years, at all times of night, rarely giving it a second thought. So reading women’s accounts of their everyday experiences, and talking to the women in my life about theirs, is a glimpse into an alien world. I am left with the terrible, bleak feeling that it will be impossible to ever make women feel adequately safe.

There is a kind of stereotyped masculine response to these female fears. That is: they are irrational. Murder, especially the murder of women, and especially the random murder of women by strangers in the street, is vanishingly rare. You are far more likely to be hit by a car on your walk home. So if you worry about it, goes this response, you are wrong.

This response is not exactly wrong, but it misses the point by a distance. It’s absolutely true that murder is rare in the UK; you are less likely, as a citizen of the UK in 2021, to be murdered than almost any other human in history. The Crime Survey for England and Wales puts the UK’s homicide rate at about 1.1 per 100,000. For comparison, according to the UN, the USA has something like 5 per 100,000; Brazil, about 27.

In the UK, and many other countries, the number of murders per year has been dropping since at least 1990. Going further back, there was a surge in the later years of the 20th century, but on a longer timescale the trend is clear: you were many, many times more likely to be murdered for most of human history than you are now in the UK, or in most other countries.

To carry on in the same stereotyped vein, if you are a woman, you are even less likely to be murdered. Of the 695 people murdered in England and Wales in the year to March 2020, 506 of them were men. And for the specific issue of murders on the street, by strangers — the fear we’re dealing with — the disparity is greater still: 154 men were murdered by strangers, and just 23 women. 

All this is true. But that doesn’t mean that the streets feel safe for women.

For one thing, it’s not just getting murdered that women fear. They fear getting abducted. They fear being raped. They are made by men to feel uncomfortable. Men yell things out of cars at women as they drive past, or follow them as they walk home, shouting out to them. One woman I know finished a half marathon as a bunch of men at the finish line loudly rated the attractiveness of the runners (“would, wouldn’t.”) 

I’m a bit sceptical of surveys like the recent one which found that 97% of young women have been sexually harassed, because the definition of “sexually harassed” varies, and I’d say some of the things they include in their data are borderline. But I bet that most women have some stories like the ones above. 

It’s mercifully true that almost none of those cases will escalate into murder, and few into actual violence. But, equally, I don’t think it’s irrational to be unnerved, in a world where these things happen reasonably regularly, and so to avoid being out alone after dark. 

If men being threatening is the main driver of women feeling unsafe, you might think that we have a clear way to move forward. Simply get men to stop being threatening, and women will feel safe. But I worry that will fail, on two grounds. One, I don’t think it’s possible, and two, even if it were, I don’t think it would work.

The first trouble is that we bump up against the law of large numbers. Imagine that the average woman walks past 200 men in a day. I expect working women in large cities see much more than that, in non-pandemic times, but others who are at home or who live in small communities see far fewer, so perhaps that number’s about right. In a year, that’s 73,000 encounters; in a decade, 730,000. Even if only a tiny fraction of men are dangerous or threatening, women will occasionally encounter them. 

Forget “not all men”: even if it’s “almost zero men”, there are enough to make women feel threatened. And it’s probably not almost zero men; it’s probably some relatively small but non-trivial fraction of them. (Or, even worse, a larger fraction of men, but only some of the time, for instance when drunk.) How many incidents per decade would it take to make you anxious? One? Two? 

There’s more than just this going on though. We’re also battling against human psychology.

In the US and UK, crime has been falling consistently for 30 years. In America, there are something like half as many violent crimes per person per year, and about half as many property crimes, as there were in the early 1990s. In the UK, the crime rate has fallen to something like a quarter of its 1996 peak.

But in both the USA and UK, most people believe that crime is increasing. The percentage who think so has dropped in the UK over the last 10 years, but still, nearly two-thirds of adults think that crime is more common now than it was a few years ago. Almost 80% of US adults think there is more crime now than a year ago. People’s perception of the risk of crime is only very loosely tied to the actual risk of crime in their country. Bringing it down — making people safer — will probably only have a relatively small effect on how safe people feel.

What’s more, while it is true that things like traffic accidents are much more common, humans are much more likely to be scared of dramatic, rare risks than common ones: “They worry more about earthquakes than they do about slipping on the bathroom floor, even though the latter kills far more people than the former,” wrote the security expert Bruce Schneier back in 2006. 

Schneier also points out that personified danger, dangers with identifiable victims, is far scarier than anonymous, statistical risks. 10,000 faceless people dying of diabetes will never get to us in the way that a single named child ill with bone cancer will. If there’s a human agent behind the risk, that’s even worse. And risks that we don’t choose, risks that are beyond our control, are scarier than those we choose. High-profile murders by strangers meet all of these criteria. They are almost designed to scare us. 

And we will always keep hearing about them, once again because of the law of large numbers. There are about 70 million people in the UK. If we get the risk of murder down to an unrealistically low one-in-70-million per year, we will still hear about them once a year, because they will make the news. The news will never dedicate 100 times as much coverage to diabetes deaths as they do to street murders, because that’s just not how the media works or, really, ever could work. A newspaper headline of “100,000 aircraft landed safely yesterday” would not sell many copies.

More than that, women tend to be more risk-averse than men. I want to be really clear about something: this is not “irrational”. There’s no optimal level of risk aversion, no correct amount to be worried. But it is an empirical fact that although men are more likely to be victims of crime and violence, they are less likely to be worried about it. 

That makes sense. Even if I do get jumped in Finsbury Park as I walk home some night, there’s some deluded bit of me that thinks I could fight, or at least run. I would feel like I have some control, and risks we think (rightly or wrongly) that we can control are less scary. Most women do not have that feeling. It is hardly surprising that the world is scarier for women.

Plus, we’re diurnal animals. The night is frightening for us, and has been since before we evolved from our common ancestor with chimps. You don’t have to go all evolutionary psychology to think that being alone on a dark street is going to be scary for humans, whatever the real risks are.

Women also differ widely in their responses to things. There is a great essay by Scott Alexander, called “Different Worlds”, talking about how the same situation will be perceived entirely differently by different people. We all have different levels of threat-perception, and almost all signals we receive from the world are ambiguous. Some people will read some behaviour as dangerous, some as benign.

I read this story, about a woman’s reaction to unwanted attention on a train, and it felt threatening and unpleasant. But perhaps some other women might think it was harmless flirting. And the survey into sexual harassment I mentioned above included “being stared at” as sexual harassment, but I remember some female friends, when they were single, telling each other about that guy at the bar “checking you out”. The line between flirty “checking out” and harassment-level “being stared at” will be different for different women. Which is entirely normal and unavoidable. But it does mean that some women will be much more likely to feel threatened than others. Which will in turn mean that it will be harder to reach a point where all, or enough, women feel safe.

What can be done? Certainly men could be more aware of behaviour that might seem threatening. And doing whatever we can to reduce the level of crime, improving rape conviction rates, reducing workplace harassment and stigmatising the sort of creepy behaviour I talked about above — those things are good in their own right, and probably will have some effect on how safe women feel. I’ve seen women suggesting curfews for men — I’m not sure how seriously — and no doubt that would lower the incidence of attacks, although it’s not really proportional or realistic; it would involve punishing an awful lot of innocent men for the actions of a terrible minority. As would restricting alcohol sales, given that at least half of attackers in violent crime are under the influence.

Fundamentally, we are fighting too many things — especially the law of large numbers, a sensationalist media, and human psychology — for it to be realistic that women will ever feel safe enough. Men will never understand how women feel; but even worse, we may never be able to entirely change it.


Tom Chivers is a science writer. His second book, How to Read Numbers, is out now.

TomChivers

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Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

Good read – let down by poor first line …
In fact, most men DO know “what it is like to feel unsafe on the streets”

Last edited 3 years ago by Ian Barton
Tom Williams
Tom Williams
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Agreed. As a teenager growing up in inner city Leeds in the 90s I feared for my safety walking on the street, especially after dark. I regularly had my pockets ‘searched’ by groups of other young men intent on robbery, and had to make my escape from the top deck of the bus on numerous occasions after being threatened with robbery/violence. Sadly, I imagine the situation is the same now in UK towns and cities.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Williams

In London, the situation has improved substantially since the 80s and early 90s due to CCTV.

Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Quite so. There are parts of London close to me that I avoid after dark (quite early in the winter, of course) and I don’t travel on the tube when the drunks are going home later in the day. And, I object to this idea that I can’t understand how the various victim groups feel. I have my fair share of human empathy, as do most people. It is just a way of closing down discussion.

Peter de Barra
Peter de Barra
3 years ago
Reply to  Mel Shaw

… and particularly the no go areas — avoided even in daylight and tolerated as no go …

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Mel Shaw

You are right about empathy Mel but there are a small number of experiences that we can only understand if they have been our personal experience. Sometimes when people say, ‘I know how you feel,’ they are mistaken no matter how well meaning they are and no matter how generally they are good at putting themselves in the shoes of others.

Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

But you don’t have to have exactly the same feeling to be able to respond appropriately and we can extrapolate from experiences we have had. I am sure we do it all the time.

Martin Goodson
Martin Goodson
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

I think there is a value to even partial understanding of another’s suffering and this is empathetic. The partner and carer to a stroke victim will have an increasing understanding of the difficulties and feelings of the partner as time goes by even though they may not actually ‘feel’ their partner’s feeling, if that makes sense.

Scott Allan
Scott Allan
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Men are 11 times more likely to have an actual assault. This is the difference between feelings and reality. Perhaps more lines about actual harm and not fantasy??

Simon Flynn
Simon Flynn
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

.
Very true.
.
There are many times when I do not feel safe on the street and in public, and I have certainly modified my behaviour to avoid such situations.
.
Noisy, often drunken, agressive men and youths in groups frighten and sometimes threaten me.
.
But then, I have a d1ck, so that doesn’t matter.
.

Last edited 3 years ago by Simon Flynn
Dan M
Dan M
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

It’s a good, considered article, looking for answers, so we shouldn’t over-react and immediately start calling out the ‘woke left’ as some other commenters have done. Aren’t we here to listen and debate rationally?
But that first line got to me too, and I wonder at the differences (see Scott Alexander essay?) between my life and Mr. Chivers’. As for me, I grew up with the frequent threat of violence, actual violence against me, intimidation, and the witnessing of violence against and murder of other young men. How I miss the old Bermondsey (not!).

Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
3 years ago
Reply to  Dan M

The east Midlands mining town I grew up in was like that, too.

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

It’s really not the same, in my experience. I’ve had a good few encounters on the streets of London where violence was on the cards (Although it’s years since it actually came to that). I came out of each feeling pretty good about myself — I had faced the enemy, and come out unscathed. My manhood was vindicated. The fact is, although objectively I don’t rate my capacity for effective violence very highly, I could deploy the threat of it, through body language, tone of voice, etc, effectively enough that no actual fight occurred. This dance isn’t open to women; the escalation to actual violence is entirely out of their hands; so even when they emerge unscathed, they will have (I imagine) suffered a humiliating, traumatic demonstration of their powerlessness in the face of brutality.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

You are a braver man than I …

Jane Bray
Jane Bray
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here. Women aren’t looking for a fight (I’m not say you were) but the powerlessness is a really big part of the fear.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jane Bray
Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Bray

I’ll wager that very few of the men who meet up with gangs of hooligan males out for trouble are looking for a fight either.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Very well put, added to the fact that most men, even in a fight situation, don’t have the fear of rape. I don’t actually think men can easily ‘feel it’. Obviously they can empathise.
But the bottom line really is that women have always been at risk, since the dawn of man. No matter what is discussed, or how many vigils, there will be people who break the law and do nasty things.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

I agree, I regret to say though that the only person I have known personally who was raped was a man, by a gang.
Not all men are big and burly. Bullies pick on people, males as well as females that they instinctively sense can be overpowered with ease.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

This dance isn’t open to women
Yes, of course it is worse for women, but why can’t you accept that it isn’t open to many men as well?
A considerable percentage of men have no chance of being able to project strength or physical self-assurance or do anything to persuade violent predators think twice.

cathy.t
cathy.t
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Yes. This is my experience. The couple of times I have been assulted – the best i can describe this is as “a grab, grope and gone” before I could fully react, which left me enraged at my powerlessness to have stopped it and that the man felt free to do it. In fact years on, remembering these events brings back feelings of anger.
But I do not, as a result, live in fear of a possible future assault. I know, depending on circumstance I may or not be able to defend myself. And where I have not been surprised i.e the interaction lasted long enough for me to pull myself together (or more specifically focus my anger into action to defend myself), the result has been quite different. This is not to say a male of superior strength and determined aggression would not overwhelm me.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

But Jonathon, not all men an escape the violence and intimidation you were able to do. Perhaps you are big. The absolute fact is that men are many times more likely to be injured and murdered than women are. Of course this is not to minimise in any way the tragic and needless death of the young women murdered last week. Horrible, but women are much safer than we are – and that is an absolute fact.

Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Depends what you’re up against. In my youth I had encounters with yobs on the streets and came out of them unscathed, but they weren’t out to rob me and didn’t carry knives. They were just looking for a fight. If I were confronted now by a knife-wielding group of robbers, as has become a reasonably likely scenario in recent decades, I don’t think being male rather than female would help me in the least.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

The Law needs to define what level of force can be used in self protection, protecting someone else and making a citizens arrest. How is intimidation defined and at what point can the honest person strike, even if they have not been hit?
Until this is done many chivalrous tough fit men will not intervene because of the risk of being prosecuted for assault. I can think of scaffolders who box, members of the TAVR who are capable of subduing most yobs but are they risking prosecution for assault ? I suggest lawyers, academics, politicians and civil servants should base their decision by sparring with some unarmed combat instructors from the Armed Forces.
The Law must be based upon what an honest law abiding person must do in order to protect themselves in a streetfight or a home invasion and nothing else.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I totally agree. Men ask themselves the same question that women do: “If that person or group attacked me, would I be able to defend myself?” The difference is that men would normally be able to answer ‘Yes’, while women would usually think ‘No’,

Jill Mans
Jill Mans
3 years ago

Well done, Tom, brave attempt to understand.
Although getting long in the tooth now, I was once considered to be wolf-whistle-worthy – which in fact I rather liked. I have twice been stalked in my young days, once quickly dealt with by a policeman but the other time more seriously, involving a bedsit move.
I don’t though feel threatened by men. My generation was taught that we have to look after our own safety and not take risks, and I see nothing wrong with that.
Take heart, decent men everywhere – plenty of us still appreciate you!

Christian Moon
Christian Moon
3 years ago
Reply to  Jill Mans

This seems the key to it. Women’s sense of agency and of responsibility is systematically undermined in a culture that places all the blame for any ill with men or ‘the patriarchy’. Without agency women are disempowered and can only feel like victims.

Juilan Bonmottier
Juilan Bonmottier
3 years ago
Reply to  Christian Moon

Yes, the irony – still not appreciated by those who persist in making cases based on ‘patriarchal tyranny’ or ‘white male privilege’ etc… (which says something for the general intellect of those who argue in this way) is that in exploiting ‘victimhood’ for power you merely hand more power over to the allegedly responsible perpetrator. You don’t achieve agency by stripping someone else of theirs (unless what you really seek is revenge and satisfaction of resentment).

Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
2 years ago

I read a short story recently where the protagonist behaved exactly in this way. I found it incredibly disconcerting but couldn’t articulate why. Thank you for forming the words so well.

John McKee
John McKee
2 years ago

A good point, and well put.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  Jill Mans

“Take heart, decent men everywhere – plenty of us still appreciate you!”
Sorry Jill. In statistical terms, you don’t exist.

Red Reynard
Red Reynard
3 years ago
Reply to  Jill Mans

Thank you, Jill.
And for many of us as long in the tooth as you, you may still be wolf-whistle-worthy – although we do it in our heads now 😉

Ken Maclaren
Ken Maclaren
3 years ago
Reply to  Jill Mans

I agree Jill – a good article, well reasoned.
It’s sad that these horrible situations get all too easily exploited by extremists. Sadly it doesn’t matter what those on the extreme shout about and blame, there will always be those monsters who commit horrific crimes. To say women should never take safety precautions because it’s a male problem and therefore victim blaming helps no-one.
My daughter has just headed away to college. I asked before she went it if could give to bits of ‘dad advice.’ She agreed, ‘when you’re walking home at night, don’t look at your phone.’ And the second she asked? ‘just have fun.’

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
3 years ago
Reply to  Jill Mans

I travel all over the world alone and never feel threatened. If we carry ourselves with dignity unless we unfortunately interact with someone who is essentially unhinged we have no more to fear than men. Overwhelming men respect woman who behave with dignity.
There are places I would avoid being where people are out of their heads on one thing or another but then so would the guys on here. If a waitress indicates the man across the room wants to buy me a drink I am flattered and certainly do not feel harassed I can always say I am flattered but I need an early night and the retort is no more than thats a shame. Woman essentially dress for themselves but if you turn a head when you have done well that day it should make you feel good rather than a victim. I actually find woman coming on to me far more confusing than men they are so damn complicated. Men seem to offer so much more clarity. Maybe we should start a group for woman harassed by other woman.
That’s not to make light of a death of a young woman but to try and keep persecutive. Odd that it fits with the other thing doing the rounds.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
3 years ago

I’m not sure a curfew for men actually would reduce attacks on women – criminals don’t obey the law. It would reduce the attacks on men though with fewer of them about.

Besides, most of the comments I’ve seen on the matter have men saying they’ll just say they identify as women, non-binary, gender-fluid or somesuch and because this is clown-world, it would be transphobic not to accept the claim!

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

men saying they’ll just say they identify as women

Oh god! And which toilets would they all use?

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

If drunk enough, probably a lamppost or a wall.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

Maybe a study on what profile of male needs curfew. I rather doubt Middle class areas would have a need for it.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

That might open several cans of worms. While it’s “men” everything is fine. Finer definition than that and things might get uncomfortable.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
3 years ago

Fear is exploited for power. Certain politicians have seized on this latest murder to exaggerate the risk and magnify the fear women feel. This essay provides helpful information for understanding the problem but misses where to look for ‘What can be done?’
Our streets are safer than ever according to Chivers and unless the trend alters will become yet safer. Reassuring women of this so they may gain confidence is the most effective thing we can do. Instead we have the likes of Harriet Harman undermining the efforts of the Met Police Commissioner’s efforts to reassure women that such crimes are rare and seeking to sow division that she may exploit [see Sky news “Sarah Everard disappearance: ‘It’s men who are the problem,’ says Harriet Harman MP”].
This is the larger part of the problem. Street crime is a problem and no doubt more can be done. But it is a problem that lessening. Meanwhile, opportunistic politicians seeking a cause to advance themselves is an increasing problem. Dealing with that rather than focussing on one horrific murder by a man and generalising it to all men and all behaviour that may upset women, from unwanted attention to murder and rape, will be much more efficient and practical than aiming for a world of zero crime where people are afraid to talk to strangers.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jonathan Ellman
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

Being a man can be very scary, I lived in precarious ways for a number of years, and early on, on my mother’s urging, began carrying a large knife. I never used the knife on anyone, but a few times having my hand on it allowed me to have sufficient confidence to prevent being attacked.

I believe very strongly every person without a criminal history has the right to armed self defense, which means the legal right to carry a weapon. I think guns are the best choice, as they are the equalizer, where an old, small, woman can defend her self against the biggest man.

Naturally the Brits would be appalled at this. In USA where I live now, in my state as in many of them, every adult citizen with no criminal past may carry a pistol concealed, or openly, with NO permit, and no training, and not even a registered gun. Few do, I have never carried a concealed gun, but I have not felt the need to other than those few years wile a young man. The amount of homicide by legal carry citizens is almost zero. Criminals kill people, good citizens do not kill wile committing a crime.

Sheryl Rhodes
Sheryl Rhodes
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I am thankful that in the US, I have the option of being armed. If people broke into my house while I was home, I would have NO chance of doing anything to effectively defend myself without a firearm. I knew a woman who literally fled across the country–twice–to escape a violent stalker. She settled in a quiet semi-rural area, hoping this time he wouldn’t track her down, and eventually, reluctantly, got a handgun. One day the stalker found her and began breaking in the kitchen door to get to her. She got the gun and stood where he could see her, telling him to go away or she would shoot him. He broke in anyway and advanced on her, and she shot and killed him. Again, there was nothing she could have done to protect herself at the end without being armed with a weapon she could use at a distance.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Sheryl Rhodes

But then rates of homicide in the US are about 4x what they are in the UK due to guns being available.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Look at then locations where violence occurs, in a few blocks in certain cities amongst criminals. Chicago has certain areas which are very violent but the university lecture theatres are safe.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

2019 – 18 adults and children killed in total in schools and universities in the US.

2018 – Santa Fe High School, 10 killed, 13 wounded.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 17 killed, 17 wounded.
16 more killed in other schools and universities.

Last edited 3 years ago by Claire D
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

You have highlighted the large number of disturbed people in the USA, possibly due to drug taking. The UK had vast numbers of fire arms pre 1917, swords as well, but people did not go round on mass killing sprees. Since 1914, the UK has trained vast numbers of people to kill, who have done so in many conflicts and refrained from doing so when they leave the Armed Forces. Switzerland trains vast numbers of people to kill and lets them keep military rifles at home.
It is about emotional maturity, self- control, self -respect, discerning, thoughtful of others feelings, responsibility, a sense of duty to others, all the factors of chivalry which enable a person to kill in battle but be gracious, well mannered, elegant, refined and cheerful in peace time. If Britain and other members of the Commwealth had not achieved this, the vast numbers of men and few women who had undergone hand to hand combat training in the Commandos and Special Forces since 1940 would have killed and crippled vast numbers of people everytime felt a bit peevish with someone. My experience is that these highly trained people are the first spot potential violence and either avoid it or not to retaliate even if assaulted.

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Most gun killings in the US are between people who know each other or rival gangs. The number of ‘random’ killings of any type is small, and getting smaller.
In fact, it is exactly their rarity that causes them to get broadcast all over – “if it bleeds, it leads” is the old saw. Same with racism; there are fewer and fewer incidents so the few that do happen are trumpeted to the world.
And, as a result, people are frightened and concerned about racism when they need not be.

Linnette Gallego
Linnette Gallego
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry M

White people have no business telling nonwhite people what level they need to feel concerned about racism.

Racism isn’t just about being killed. It’s being passed over for promotion and the opportunity to build intergenerational wealth that negatively impacts already vulnerable communities. It’s the psychological and physiological toll of continuously being told you’re less than.

Black women are three times more likely than white women to experience sexual harassment at work because sexual harassment is about asserting power over lower status people. Black women are on the bottom rung.

The workplace is where most nonwhite people experience racism. 40+ hours a week.

Last edited 3 years ago by Linnette Gallego
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Is that a reason to be unarmed?

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

It might be, if there is a corrallation between allowing the general public to be armed and increased numbers of homicides.
From the evidence (UNODOC), in countries where firearms can be bought with relative ease, homicides are more prevalent.

I don’t think arming the female British public is the answer, in fact I think the idea is hysterical nonsense.

Last edited 3 years ago by Claire D
John McKee
John McKee
2 years ago
Reply to  Sheryl Rhodes

This anecdote makes an excellent point. Sometimes violence is the only valid response to an existential threat.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Excellent post. In the US an attacker is always taking a risk that the intended victim may be armed. In the UK, an attacker would be able to be sure that they did not have a firearm.

Saul D
Saul D
3 years ago

This is a discussion that crops up with a certain monotony over the years, and is replete with over-the-top opinion pieces, bad statistics and misleading opinion polling to sell a women-scared-man-bad narrative (akin to labelling all muslims as terrorists because of one incident involving ‘a’ muslim, it uses the same lazy childish stereotypical thinking).
In general, stranger on stranger violence is much more likely to have a male victim (and in the UK there is a strong societal taboo about violence against women). It is also a ‘lonely streets’ phenomena – the fewer people about the more opportunities for one-on-one encounters and fewer bystanders for assistance (see R.Philpot or M.Levine). Almost the worst thing you could do would be to take the 99% of law-abiding, anti-violence, men off the streets.

Cassian Young
Cassian Young
3 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

>  bad statistics and misleading opinion polling to sell a women-scared-man-bad narrative akin to labelling all muslims as terrorists because of one incident involving ‘a’ muslim
That’s correct.
The use of data points at the extremes of a normal distribution to draw conclusions about the centre, unites the “all muslims are potential terrorists”, “all blacks are criminals” and “all men are potential rapists” narratives.

Last edited 3 years ago by Cassian Young
Juilan Bonmottier
Juilan Bonmottier
3 years ago
Reply to  Cassian Young

Absolutely -and it’s the same with diversity -the old, if 3% of the population is black then why aren’t 3% of politicians, astronauts, policemen etc… black too? Must be systemic racism etc… This is just a bad understanding of distribution norms.

Cassian Young
Cassian Young
3 years ago

Yes. All children capable of understanding these points should be taught them at school as part of the some kind of civic studies course.

Eloise Burke
Eloise Burke
3 years ago
Reply to  Cassian Young

as part of some kind of statistics course.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago

But of course, such statistically defined “justice” is somehow absent from people’s consideration of the male/female prison inmate ratios.

Linnette Gallego
Linnette Gallego
3 years ago

Thank you, self-appointed professor of sociological statistics.

Last edited 3 years ago by Linnette Gallego
Linnette Gallego
Linnette Gallego
3 years ago
Reply to  Cassian Young

If a woman is killed or sexually assaulted, it is most likely a current or former romantic partner.

Whether women are more afraid of randos jumping out of the bushes, unhinged boyfriends/husbands, or a Tinder date taking advantage of too many drinks – men are the primary source of violence experienced by women.

You cannot get around this fact.

gretchen
gretchen
3 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

Isn’t this “More men get murdered than women” stance monotonous and restrictive? No one is arguing that’s not the case, but to keep returning to it seems like that the viewpoint of a disempowered bystander. Jackson Katz is interesting on this – his work seeks to empower men by placing them firmly at the heart the violence against women debate. Here’s his Ted talk – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTvSfeCRxe8

Last edited 3 years ago by gretchen
Saul D
Saul D
3 years ago
Reply to  gretchen

I think you misread. The authors I gave, show how bystanders are an important component in the prevention of violence. Men and women supporting each other reduces reduces threat. And in consequence, making women fearful of men, simply makes women more vulnerable because they start to avoid the very people who, through physical strength, can most help.
To follow this on, the old and very well embedded idea of a chivalrous gentlemen has been used as the epitome of good male behaviour for centuries. There are things a gentleman does not do, and takes a stand on to defend women and children. We’ve lost this role model due to the tendency for ‘blame-casting’ where one man, becomes all men, and a gentleman is cast as an oppressor, instead of an ally. Dividing people is less safe than uniting them.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

Interesting point, but originally Medieval Chivalry was about elite male violence and how to behave effectively on the battleground, the more of the enemy you killed the more chivalrous you were considered to be.
It was the Victorians who misunderstood and introduced a fairytale version of it by mixing up chivalry with courtly love, which tends to be how people think of it today.
The difficulty for early feminists was that the Victorian version of chivalry felt like an excuse to prevent women from fully taking part in public life, ie, women need to be protected from the hurly burly male world of politics and business. How ironic that there appears to have been good reason for that male protective attitude, but for about 100 years women, some women, fought against it, and now here they are demanding protection again.

I think most decent men are instinctively protective of women but let’s not forget that for for a long time now some women have sneered at courteous men as if it is an outrage, because they insisted s e x was a social construct.
Perhaps what is happening in the 21st century is the realisation that s e x differences are in fact profound, and they matter.

Last edited 3 years ago by Claire D
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

I think you find you will find chivalry comes from the Beduin. Beduin women have to be free to tender te flocks and fetch water: tribal vengeance protects them.
I agree with you that the Victorians brought in a fairy tale version of chivalry but this was response to the squalor and vice of the slums. Places like Bradford went from 6,000 people in 1800 to 120,000 in 1850s.
Historically women ran the farms and estates when men were away, so during the Anarchy, War of Roses and Civil War women defended their homes and castles.Also women have often run pubs and breweries in the rough part of towns.
In warrior societies and where men worked away from home, Sparta, Vikings, Mongols, Beduin, Dutch and British woman had to be free to travel and run the farm/business . In Sparta women trained in gymslips which included wrestling and had far more freedom than those in Athens.
I suspect most of the feminists who sneer at courteous men come from families where there are not those who strong chivalrous and can fight: in short gentlemen.
In Buddhist societies, women are trained in martial arts: Wing Chung was started by a nun. The simple solution is to combine the rigours of Spartan athletics and a Buddhist martial Arts training for both sexes from the age of 5 years.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

I expect that the medieval chivalric code may well be linked indirectly with Bedouin and all other horseback warrior cultures (the word chivalry comes from the Old French “chevallerie”, from the Latin “cabellarius” for horseman) where prowess in battle was highly valued, but the point I was making was that originally “chivalry” as we know it in Europe had nothing to do with protecting women.
As I said I think protecting women is a universal biologically driven tendency in men.
Strangely enough I think looking after their men is also a universal biologically driven tendency in women.

Last edited 3 years ago by Claire D
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

It did, it was how chivalry was defined. The constant struggle against heat, thirst and hunger caused the Beduin to adopt certain chivalric customs such as allowing women to freely travel to water wells (which were never poisoned) and not touching them during raids. Love songs developed in Arabic society from the 9th century onwards. There appears little chivalry amongst the barbarians who over ran the Western Roman Empire and also in Chinese culture. Binding feet is absurd amongst nomads.
During the Anarchy Stephen showed chivalry towards Matilda even though he was fighting her for the crown.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

With respect Charles you are missing the point and muddling up the behaviour, which we might call “chivalry” today, but is essentially protective, life enforcing behaviour, with the historical definition of “Medieval Chivalry” which I have tried, and obviously failed in your case, to explain.

Last edited 3 years ago by Claire D
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Claire D. The reality is that is countries and societies vary their attitude to protecting women over time and there is also massive variation between them. Just look at clothes in Britain. In Regency, say post 1800 Britain, women wore far more revealing clothes than in 1870. Well to do farmers daughters of 1800 had far more freedom, especially if she was shepherdess, than a well to do lawyers daughters in London in `1870 due to the growth of lawless slums, the rookeries.
Much of the way we look at social, economic and industrial history is through the post 1850 lense of urban life. Look at how Nell Gwynne thrived in Restoration England: impossible in 1860.

Cassander Antipatru
Cassander Antipatru
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

I suspect it’s probably a matter of convergent evolution. Women are more physically vulnerable to attack than men are, so if you want to keep women safe from attack, the two most obvious ways are (1) have norms against women going out and about on their own (so there’s always a male relative on hand to help defend them), or (2) have strong norms against men hurting women (so the need for defence will — hopefully — not arise). It’s not surprising that separate cultures should independently converge on one or the other of these options.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

Indeed.

David Stanley
David Stanley
3 years ago

Thank you for one of the few nuanced articles I have read on this issue. I would only add a couple of things.
A lot of men do know what’s it’s like to feel unsafe on the streets at night. I’ve been violently attacked several times and, even though this was many years ago, I still assume I’m not entirely safe when I go out at night.
Also, men and women tend to respond to these things differently. I started doing martial arts and weightlifting so that I could prevent it from happening again. The fact is a lot of women just don’t want to do this and so never develop the self confidence to counteract their fears.
However, the elephant in the room is that men are generally much bigger and stronger than women so this will always be an issue, as will our different responses to it. Why do women worry about being attacked more than men? Well, if you are smaller and weaker than at least 50% of the population you will inevitably be less confident about your ability to physically defend yourself. Conversely, men will always struggle to understand women’s response and see it as irrational and overly emotional. As you say, neither response is ‘correct’ so we have an impasse.
Unfortunately, these debates become so toxic with loud mouthed idiots on both sides dominating the debate. A curfew for men is as ridiculous as a curfew for black people in order to stop knife crime. On the other hand saying to women ‘pull yourself together darling and take it as a compliment’ is not exactly helpful when a 13 year old has been propositioned buy a grown man.
Women are weaker than men and do need more protection. However, unless we invent a load of benevolent robots do to this work, their protection will always come from men. This creates a paradox that no one can solve.

Margaret Donaldson
Margaret Donaldson
3 years ago

I am over 70 and all my life have been told by firstly my mother to watch out for strange men when out on my own. And I have been terrified and ultra alert when walking home in the dark. Miss Everard was plain unlucky. Whatever happened, she was going to lose, caught by surprise on a busy road where even I would expect to feel safe, by a man who was far stronger than her. It is a very sorrowful one off but our justice system will deal with her murderer and other lessons will be learned. Last night on the news, the BBC reported from Mozambique where terrorists are invading communities, beheading men and enslaving young women and children. It doesn’t lessen the grief for the loss of one unique life but it does put things in perspective.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Exactly. I have been familiar with the situation in Mozambique for some time. Did the BBC dare to mention the religion practiced by the terrorists? Probably not…
That aside, and awful thought the murder of Sarah Everard is, it is my perception that there are fewer such murders than there were 30 or 40 years ago.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
3 years ago

The Washington Post had a report on Boko Haram abductions in Nigeria. Of course, there was the wicked abduction of the 300 girls.

How many boys? 10000

Margaret Donaldson
Margaret Donaldson
3 years ago

You are right to point out the difference. I wish we could have an Unherd article on what is going on in Nigeria and why. I despair really. The murder in Clapham has been hijacked by hysterical women, police blamed for upholding the Covid law and the grieving Everard family cannot even mourn their daughter in peace, quiet and reverence. Meantime the real evil goes on all over the world including the UK.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago

It may not be realistic that women will ever feel safe enough – but there are actions that men can take which make women feel safer. Such as:- not walking behind a woman, not staring at her, speaking to her or calling out to her. This applies anywhere and anytime where the streets are relatively empty and there is nobody in close enough range for the woman to call on for help.
I’m now getting on in years and as such am invisible to men – except for those that offer me their seat on crowded public transport. But I can well remember the fear I felt as a young woman when an older man followed me home at night from the bus stop to the nearest housing estate – and became verbally aggressive when I wouldn’t answer his personal questions. I ended up knocking on the door of the nearest house and asking for help. All credit to the kind man who answered the door dressed in his pjamas, who then got dressed and accompanied me to my home. I still remember him 50 years after the event.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago

It’s probably true, Tom that “men will never understand how women feel” but neither will women ever understand how men feel, including how we feel about being lumped together with rapists and murderers.
Of the 695 people murdered in England and Wales in the year to March 2020, 506 of them were men.”
So how about we just make the streets safer for everyone, without making a feminist psychodrama of it?

Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago

Women = good
Men – not good
That’s the narrative folks.

David Uzzaman
David Uzzaman
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

I remember a childhood rhyme:
What are little girls made of? sugar and spice and all things nice.
What are boys made of ?
Frogs and snails and puppy dogs tails.
Little did I know it would be scientifically undisputed.

gretchen
gretchen
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

That is simply not the narrative, and to say so is reductive. This is not about a hatred of men, far from it – it’s about the problem of gender based violence – figuring out from where this arises, and seeking to do something about it. Let’s not be passive bystanders here.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  gretchen

I’m afraid I think it is.
There is a marked tendency amongst some feminists to lay the blame for everything either at the door of men, masculinity or the patriarchy – from anorexia to global warming.
And for some, even when men put on dresses and want to be women, they can’t help putting the boot in.
They honestly don’t have a good word to say about men.

gretchen
gretchen
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

I’m afraid I think this is a blind alley. Not all men are bad. But women everywhere live in fear of sexism and harassment.
I have every possible advantage – I am white and well educated, I live in a good area, run a business and have financial independence. And yet my freedom, and that of my child, is curtailed because of the attitudes of some men to women. These attitudes manifest in numerous ways. When I was 11, a neighbour repeatedly stood wanking at his bedroom window, while his wife and children sat downstairs. I have been flashed at, repeatedly wanked at, groped, shouted at, bundled off dance floors by strangers, and chased through streets at night. These events could be considered relatively minor – I am fortunate enough never to have been sexually assaulted – but this is sexually driven behaviour. My daughter is now 13, and I cannot allow her to greet delivery men because they have made inappropriate comments to her on our doorstep. Men beep at her from cars, and everyday, I fear for her on her journey home from school. It is like living under siege. Do men have to put up with this? No they do not. And that is the issue here – it is not about extreme feminism, it is about equality of the sexes, and freedom.

Last edited 3 years ago by gretchen
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  gretchen

“But women everywhere live in fear of sexism and harassment.”
I don’t. But it sounds like you have been repeatedly victimized. What did you do when your neighbor was w@nking? Call the police? Same with being chased through streets and “bundled off the dance floor” whatever that means. I have pretty daughters as well, what you do is you help them understand the world. One of mine was stared at on a bus in Berlin by two women until she asked them why they were staring at her. But you don’t instill fear in your own child. If a delivery person made an inappropriate comment to your teenager, did you report it to the service? Indicating to your daughter that she should be afraid to answer the door is doing her a disservice.
This is not about equality of the sexes. Men are not going to act like women and I doubt we would like it if they did. But don’t equate men with people who w@nk in public. They are not one and the same.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

Spot on and saved me replying.
most women you talk to have faced a couple of incidents, usually minor, but never the litany of abuse described in the comment. Frankly if I viewed the world as that hostile I simply would not leave the house at night.
Most men, btw, will also have had some bad experiences: violence from men, but also low level sexual harassment from women – usually groping.

Elaine Hunt
Elaine Hunt
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Do you think the women you know would necessarily tell you?. I have been groped at two social events. I didn’t tell my husband because I knew it might be the end of our social interaction with the perpetrators, and their families.
I suppose it would have been worse if I had told him and it hadn’t been the end!

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  gretchen

I have every possible advantage – I am white

I’m interested why you think being white is an advantage when it comes to sexism and harassment.
I’m a bit flummoxed why you think being well-educated is a plus in that regard as well.

I have been flashed at, repeatedly wanked at, groped, shouted at, bundled off dance floors by strangers, and chased through streets at night. 

Did being white and well-educated help you in those situations?
Please do explain, because I genuinely don’t understand your logic.

Eloise Burke
Eloise Burke
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

I believe she could expect to be listened to, at least, if she complained about it.

Linnette Gallego
Linnette Gallego
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

It’s all about the power attached to identity in dominance hierarchy. Simple In-group-outgroup dynamics.

As a white woman who is educated, she fits societal perceptions of respectability. Also such she is more likely to:

– live in a lower crime neighborhood. Therefore she is less likely to be the victim of crime in proportion to the general populace, as most criminals prey on their own communities (there’s less risk in being apprehended aka the police care less about poorer people preying on each than poor people/criminals violating socially higher people).

That being said, there’s quite a lot “white collar crime” in business and politics. But these people are seldom held accountable.

On that note, racism makes nonwhites more likely to experience economic disparity and struggle. Poorer conditions lead to scarcity which lead to more crime. Poorer women are more likely to experience domestic violence.

(Racist like to argue that nonwhites are just more criminally-minded because it’s convenient deflection from how white people, especially men, exist and sustain at the top of the social hierarchy, which is through reaping the gains of exploitation (hello, colonialism), assigning lower status to those who don’t ascribe to arbitrary cultural values and norms, and giving impunity to harm-doers within their ingroup, etc.)

– have a non-service job and thereby be less likely to experience sexual harassment than women in service jobs, who report much higher rates of sexual harassment. Even at her non-service job, she is still less likely to be targeted for sexual harassment than her nonwhite counterparts because sexual harassment is an act of dominance over less powered groups. White women are higher on the social hierarchy.

– be seen as innocent if accused of a crime or social harm, especially against nonwhite people. She is more likely to get away with sexual harassment toward men and other women. Btw sexual harassment can be creating a smear campaign against other women such as saying another woman colleague screwed her way to the top.

However, this privilege gets removed if she is accused of a crime against a white man because he’s higher in the social hierarchy

Last edited 3 years ago by Linnette Gallego
Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  gretchen

“Not all men are bad’?
Why – thank you.
I’d prefer it if you told it as it really is and said something along the lines of -‘Most men are perfectly decent and a very small proportion of them are bad. In fact a tiny proportion of them are utterly evil and very dangerous. These are aberrant monsters.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  gretchen

“Live in fear of sexism and harassment” Oh, come on. Fear of sexism? Sexism is annoying, but encountering the odd jerk who *like a middle-aged taxi driver back in my youth) talks only to one’s male companion and pretends to be surprised that a woman can read and write) never killed anyone. The world is full of stupid and annoying people. And even “fear of harassment”…do that many women really restrict their activities so they don’t get into any situation in which oafish men might wolf whistle them, or make unwelcome invitations or comments? I’ve always hated that sort of thing, but never once – even when it was at its peak, when I was in my late teens and early 20s – did is actually frighten me to the point of avoiding any particular activity or area; it just annoyed the hell out of me. Everyone knew that most men who did this sort of thing were just idiots, not predators.

Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago
Reply to  gretchen

Oh come on. Look at the narrative around domestic violence – men are the perpetrators and women are the victims yet women instigate violence against their partners 40% of the time.

Karin Esevik
Karin Esevik
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

Yes, women are also violent towards their partners, both in heterosexual and same sex relationships. Some studies have been reported to find that women are even more often violent towards their male partners than the other way around.
However, I do think that statistics would show that men who beat their female partners to death vastly outnumber women who beat (or poison or stab) their male partners to death (and when they do kill their male partners, it is not seldom after a period of abuse from that partner).
The frequency of violence is less relevant than the level of violence. After all, the absolute majority of violent behaviour probably comes from both male and female…TODDLERS.

Jimbob Jaimeson
Jimbob Jaimeson
3 years ago
Reply to  gretchen

I feel for anyone being scared and fearfull (though not their exact feelings of course) and will normally feel that way myself if out alone at night (I’m male) ….but as Tom pointed out, this is absolutely not about gender based violence…as that doesn’t stack up statistically. This is about a perceived power imbalance and the fear that generates (even if irrational). I don’t have answers but I feel both men and women need to work together to lessen this fear rather than against each other.

Colin Colquhoun
Colin Colquhoun
3 years ago
Reply to  gretchen

figuring out from where this arises”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erin_Pizzey
It arises from basic primate social behaviors, and both sexes have a role. I am a scientist who studies primates, so I would think that. But it’s clearly true and if it wasn’t a politicised matter it would be pretty uncontroversial.

Karin Esevik
Karin Esevik
3 years ago

Violence is innate, not only for aggressive purposes, but also for defensive.
(Sorry for this lengthy reply – and the questions, but I am curious.)
I wonder what your view, as a scientist working with primates, is on rape, especially gang rape.
I remember being shocked when I saw a doe being what I could only describe as gang raped by three bucks. It felt like rape (even gang rape, which I have recently read sometimes was used as a punishment for “disloyal” women within biker gang but now happens even to women who are not at all acquainted with the rapists, in “attack rapes” as opposed to “date rapes”) was more of a biological issue than a cultural one. Which was disheartening. Humans tend to use gang rape to humiliate the victim or assert superiority towards her. I doubt that was the intention of the bucks.

(Something one rarely talks about is how differently people can respond to attacks, and perhaps are not equally prone to being attacked. I know a two 19 and 21 years old sisters that are both well over 6 feet tall and very athletic. I will go on believing until somebody proves me wrong (but it will take a lot to convince me) that a random rapist (even a random date rapist) would be less likely to attack them than a smaller girl.
My sister, who is 5’3″ “tall”, would perhaps make a more probable victim. However, she is strong as an oxen and so…let us call it unwilling to take a beating, that if she was ever attacked, I have no doubt the attacker would regret it. (She would make sure he lived just long enough to regret it.) While I am taller but of a weaker constitution, and would most probably freeze from fear.
I am not at all saying this to put any of the blame on the victim. I just believe that, just as some are less and some are more susceptible to diseases, perhaps some are less or more less as susceptible to attacks.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Karin Esevik

Rape – in the sense of actually restraining an unwilling female in order to mate, or using physical violence to make her comply – is actually quite rare in the (non-human) animal kingdom. What you observed probably looked very disturbing, but may not have actually been “rap\’ from the doe’s point of view; why didn’t she run away from the bucks? In most species, if a female is not in season – i.e., ovulating and thus able to get pregnant – she will just avoid males of her species altogether. Generally mating is a complicated, hormone-driven dance that requires the cooperation of both parties to be successful. Even among our closest relatives, primates, actual rape is very rare. It’s been observed among wild orangutans, but not (as far as I know) other apes, or monkeys, not even among chimpanzees, whose society is very male-dominated and in which females often get physically bullied by males. Usually males of these species just aren’t interested in mating with a female that isn’t in season. In some species, females are highly selective, even when they are in season, so if they don’t have the protection of a single dominant male – eg. like gorillas do – they can be more vulnerable to rape. Dolphins definitely rape sometimes. I’ve seen squirrels mating in my backyard and it certainly looks like rape to me, i.e. the female doesn’t seem at all willing, it basically just involves the male chasing and tackling her and quickly doing the deed while she screams and struggles to get away. But it’s clear that in many species – including ours – relations between males and females are very complicated. A mother squirrel raises her brood alone, usually successfully as long as she can find enough food to produce enough milk for them, hide them well, and repel predators. She doesn’t need their father for anything, so doesn’t have to like him or even want him around. In our species, females have always known instinctively that having a strong bond with their children’s father – at least while those children are very young and vulnerable – maximizes their chances of survival, and males have always known that protecting and providing resources for the mothers of their children maximizes their survival chances. So that understanding has formed the basis of parental pair-bonding. Children born as a result of rape have a huge disadvantage, because their mother has no bond with their father. Random predatory rape. because while it may (perhaps a 10 percent chance, at most) result in a pregnancy, but the victim of that rape will not get the protection or support of her child’s father, has never been a good genetic survival strategy, for our species. Nor has casual sex, which is why neither has ever been the norm, and the sense of being widely tolerated and approved of. In nearly every human society that’s ever existed, men have been expected to support and protect their offspring.

Eloise Burke
Eloise Burke
3 years ago
Reply to  gretchen

It arises from the biology of the male. They are evolved to fight each other for access to females (among, of course, other things), and they simply WILL fight each other as part of their biology. They will organize in armies and fight each other in great numbers. Dealing with it in a society is simply a part of the challenge of being human, and Jordan Peterson has an excellent take on it.

Colin Colquhoun
Colin Colquhoun
3 years ago
Reply to  Eloise Burke

That observation doesn’t paricularly explain why males would beat up females, and it’s also silent on what women do to secure their interests. It’s simplistic. Men are typically more overtly violent than women, but that’s only a small part of the human story. Anyway women do also use violence, at least in the home. You personally may not, and you may not relate to it. But then neither do I, and I’m a man. I almost certainly WON’T physicallly fight someone unless I’m desperate, which also is true of many women. I hear some women get a visceral thrill from violent men. As you say, that may have to do with men fighing each other over women. Sorry if I’m mansplaining this, but to be fair I work on the neurobiology of primates for a living.

Karin Esevik
Karin Esevik
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

You do not seem to be literate.
Men who behave like jerks AND make women (and other men) feel unsafe, while there is no good reason for doing that, ARE jerks.
THAT is the narrative.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
3 years ago

Really insensitive and poor comment . No where , no one said ALL men are racists & murderers .

In THIS story a women has been murdered . A random man has killed her. It is sad that she was walking home and she was killed by a random man . NOT a gang member, NOT a dodgy character but.a policeman who probably was suffering from undetected mental issues .
Yes sometimes men die too . When there is a different shocking story , that death too will be mourned. This is NOT man vs woman . This is not feminism . Someone just lost their daughter!! There is anger against a senseless crime NOT men .

This article is just asking us ALL to think and assess oneself not attack one another.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

Thank you Tom for some balance and common sense.
I hope this recent tragedy does’nt become another BLM-like eruption of hysteria with all the attendant political and social reactions. The fact that people have been confined in lockdown makes these commotions more likely, they would blow over soon enough except that politicians, like Harriet Harman in this instance, try and make political capital out of them and cause more trouble.

Last edited 3 years ago by Claire D
Peter de Barra
Peter de Barra
3 years ago

… it it termed The Rochdale Syndrome – child rape by ethnic gangs has been tolerated for some decades … the topic is largely verboten and charges let alone convictions have been scandalously few, in proportion to ongoing crime levels. How odd that the women of Rotherham have not risen up and demanded effective action.

Kate Melton
Kate Melton
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter de Barra

Watch Maggie Oliver with Peter Whittle on The New Culture Forum, she is trying but not getting much help.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
3 years ago

The closer you want to get to absolute zero risk the more authoritarian the state becomes to enforce it.

Alfred Prufrock
Alfred Prufrock
3 years ago

I would like to point out that when a Somali brutal gang rapist was on a plane to Istanbul being deported to Somali some of the Guardian reading passengers made such a fuss he wasn’t deported and in fact may well be walking the streets of London right now.
Also human rights lawyers recently prevented at least two rapists being deported to Jamaica. I would suggest deporting rapists and shooting Guardian readers would help matters considerably.

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago

We’re all talking about this as the abduction and murder of a stranger. But given how quickly his colleagues knew just who to look for, I have to wonder what will emerge during the trial.

Pierre Pendre
Pierre Pendre
3 years ago

The article asks what can be done; the answer is nothing, and there’s no point in deluding ourselves. Some men are feral and we can’t always pick them out. Sheltered middle class people are unaware of the extent to which violence is natural to some men.
The murder of Sarah Everard was probably opportunistic; she met a killer who came across her by chance. I remember another case some years ago where a man who spotted a woman as he drove past in broad daylight, did a u-turn then raped and killed her. There have been similar, fortunately rare, cases and their rarity is what makes them memorable as we will remember Sarah. It is this atavistic animalism which is horrifying because it shows what some of us are capable of.
Killers like Sarah’s and, the Yorkshire Ripper are likely to be psychopaths. Most men who are violent to women are simply brutes. They’ll be around as long as sexual jealousy exists and women control their access to sex.
Women’s groups demand the government pass laws to stop male violence as if it were something that could be corrected by education, training or the kind of social restrictions which Chivers shows are unimposable and would be unfair to most men.
Remember also that hundreds of thousands of women are out after dark every day and come to no harm. They’re more at risk from a family member than a street predator. There’s a limit to how safe an urban environment can be made. In the end, our safety is our own responsibility.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  Pierre Pendre

A good comment. This is not a new issue and like many issues people always ask what can be done and when there is a suggestion it will be completely impractical. It is also relevant that reactions based on emotions and ignoring the facts, some of which you mention, will make matters worse.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

Until the data became too embarrassing and had to be censored about 20 years ago, the British Crime Survey showed pretty conclusively that the problem of male violence generally, not just towards women, arose disproportionately from a particular demographic subset of “male”.
I’ll leave everyone to work out which demographic that is. If you’re struggling, ask yourself: Who am I not permitted to criticize? and that should get you there.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jon Redman
LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago

Many men fear crime too and not just on the streets. Fear of crime isn’t confined to women walking alone at night. Being robbed in your house is a great fear to millions, some people cannot even feel 100% safe at home. Whole towns live in fear of aggressive families or gangs/groups.
This is one of many good reasons to have strong law and order.

The author seems to attempt to dismiss the ‘typical’ male response of saying ‘men are at far more risk’, before offering a load of statistics to back it up. It felt a little bit like ‘I’m not a , but…”.

The author doesn’t explain why society cares more about the murder of women than men? Based on coverage womens lives are far more important by a massive factor?
Is it just that modern society hates men? I don’t think so, historically it was always this way. If a man attacked a far weaker innocent man and an equally weak innocent woman – some very ingrained part of me knows that attacking the woman is worse.

Now the rape/assault element is a crime women are far more likely to suffer – certainly with better policing the chance of this happening could reduce further. One idea is to have highly trained undercover single female officers walk the streets at night (with backup etc), if there are opportunistic rapists out there this could catch some of them, and a lot of muggers.

Last edited 3 years ago by LUKE LOZE
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

I’m sure that it is deeply embedded in humans (and other animals) that a female rendered no longer capable of gestating is a much bigger loss to the group (in survival terms) than a male.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I’d group it the other way, society (including men) thinks that men ~14 – 55 should be able to ‘look after themselves’. That attacking a ‘man’ isn’t as bad, attacking a male child or a very old man is about as ‘bad’ as attacking a young woman.

The risky behaviour of young men and societies view of men as more expendable (women and children first) is pretty strong.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

I think we are probably both right.
Mine is “evolutionarily embedded” where yours is more “culturally embedded”

gretchen
gretchen
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

No one is debating whether more men or women get murdered. We know it’s men. Nor is this about a hatred of men, far from it – it’s about the problem of gender based violence – figuring out from where this arises, and seeking to do something about it. Jackson Katz is interesting on this – his work seeks to empower men by placing them firmly at the heart the debate. Here’s his Ted talk – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTvSfeCRxe8

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  gretchen

You are right, nobody is debating who gets killed more – that’s rather the problem.
The title of the article and gist of it is that women are relatively less likely to be attacked compared to men and by historic / international standards.

I didn’t say that it was ‘hatred’ of men, I dismissed it. I do point out that we (including me) see male on female violence as somehow worse that male attacking an innocent man – but struggle to explain why.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  gretchen

What does “gender based violence” mean?
There is a need for honest and fact-based discussion of violence in general, and such discussion is nearly always hampered by distracting and useless noise about “patriarchy” and “misogyny”.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

A policeman has been charged with the murder of Sarah Everard. Perhaps all policemen should be subjected to a curfew given their astonishing propensity for crime. It seems that not a day goes by without a policeman or woman being found guilty of a serious crime.

Wulvis Perveravsson
Wulvis Perveravsson
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Surely if you wanted to commit crime them becoming a police detective would be the best way to facilitate it? There is perhaps a good reason why there are countless TV and film dramas about such characters!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

You mustn’t use the term policeman, it’s sexist.

The correct form of address is :
Ooooooorfficer!

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago

Good article. And when reality hits home we know that there are men and there are women, and that some men behave in an aggressive or intimidating way towards women – not all, but enough to make the experience of intimidation a part of everyday life for many women. My daughters tell me this in a resigned, matter of fact way. These aggressive and intimidating men include those who pretend they’re women (or maybe really have convinced themselves that they are, with society’s connivance) and demand the right to use women’s changing rooms and lavatories. These men are more a threat – both perceived and actual – to women than any cat-caller on a building site. I’d like to think Harriet Harman will be making this point, but I won’t be holding my breath.

Last edited 3 years ago by Andrew D
Simon Flynn
Simon Flynn
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

.
And some men behave in an aggressive or intimidating way towards men as well, you know. It does happen!
.

Catherine Newcombe
Catherine Newcombe
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Flynn

Probably the same men being generally horrid to all.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

Horrid rather understates it. But I think you are right. The research shows that men who are violent to women tend to be generally violent.

Victor Newman
Victor Newman
3 years ago

Is this phenomenon a mix of social class, misandry and virtue-signalling? Woke people see themselves as both victim and secular priests, without any responsibility beyond asserting their absolute entitlement. In their roundabout way they are telling us that some women are more important than others.

Steve Hall
Steve Hall
3 years ago
Reply to  Victor Newman

Both. There can be no priesthood without a sacrificial victim to follow.

Marie Morton
Marie Morton
3 years ago

It is interesting that when a terrorist attack has happened the media have immediately said that we must not generalise and scapegoat a whole group from one incident. How odd that so many have now done exactly that in the light of this one tragic murder.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Marie Morton

It is interesting that when a terrorist attack has happened the media have immediately said that we must not generalise and scapegoat a whole group from one incident. How odd that so many have now done exactly that in the light of this one tragic murder.

Very well said, Marie!
It always strikes me as bizarre how some people can’t see how ludicrously transparent their double standards are.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
3 years ago

There’s no optimal level of risk aversion, no correct amount to be worried. 

Come again? Does this just mean that there is no one-size-fits-all mathematical formula for risk aversion, that there us a range of behaviour that reasonable people would agree constitutes a reasonable level of risk aversion? I can agree with that. Otherwise this statement is completely wrong. There very much is an optimal range of risk aversion, and what we need to do is to teach people how to identify this range and then try to make their behaviour land in it. Neither cowardice nor rashness is conducive to a happy life lived well.
Part of this is due to childrearing. Most parents are more protective of their daughters than their sons. When bad things happen to boys, there generally is somebody there to teach them that these things will happen, and how to deal with them better when they arise in the future. When bad things happen to girls, there generally is somebody there telling them that it is all their fault for being in such a situation in the first place.
So, no wonder that men feel more capable of dealing with an unsafe world than women do. They have been practicing this more all through childhood and adolescence. And the very nice thing about identifying this dichotomy is that it very much points at a solution. Women have come up with all sorts of wavs to train for a less cowardly, fear-focused, oppressed existence — from martial arts and other self defence courses, outdoor experience and leadership courses such as done by Outward Bound, to joining the armed forces. And, no doubt, many others. But, naturally, these options can only be taken by women who have decided that they very much do not have an optimal level of risk aversion, and would like to do something to change that. Getting many of them to want this appears to be the difficult part, since going against one’s upbringing is hard.

Last edited 3 years ago by Laura Creighton
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

We could probably educate people on how to accurately assess “outcome probability” which would help greatly.
However, even if that was achieved, many would be unable to overcome their seemingly excessive fear about the outcome itself – however vanishing unlikely it is to occur.
From a Darwinian perspective, it is highly advantageous for any group to have some people at both ends of the risk aversion scale.
Call me a hate-filled patriarch if you will, but it’s obviously more advantageous for the more fearful perspective to be held by “those who gestate”.
I seem to remember we used to have a name for them.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ian Barton
Wulvis Perveravsson
Wulvis Perveravsson
3 years ago

Beautifully put. I think that in general, our level of risk aversion as a society is increasing. This seems to be catalysed by a media desperate to sustain itself through sensationalism, and a political class that operate like a bunch of marketing executives. 

Last edited 3 years ago by Wulvis Perveravsson
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago

Chivalry and good manners have been mocked by middle class Marxists since the 1930s. Until the 1970s American entertainment promoted good manners. Motown had a lady who taught deportment and if one looks at their stars they were graceful and well mannered. Something happens in the USA post early 1970s and far more characters in American entertainment become verbally aggressive. In the UK football hooliganism takes off and this is not due to poverty as there is no trouble at Rugby League matches. However, the young are treated as innocen, so if an adult intervenes to correct their behaviour they are the ones who can end being punished by the Law. If an adult grabbed a youth who was threatening a lady and took them to their parents, especially if it was a Mother, they would be the one punished for assault. A boy may be a pest but if by his late teens has not learnt gracefully to accept rejection by a lady, he can become a rapist.
If men were trained to be chivalrous, there is no reason why women cannot travel un-molested. In Beduin women were free to travel as interference with them brought tribal vengeance. It is highly likely chivalry comes from the Beduin.
Ladies it is simple, do you want a society which creates David Niven( an athletic chivalrous Commando Officer) or Weinstein ( fat slob and rappist ) ?

Kevin Thomas
Kevin Thomas
3 years ago

I hope people are starting to get wise to the cynical way activists and their allies in the media are using tragedies to advance not solutions but identity politics. Why are we discussing cat calling after a woman has been murdered? Why were we discussing statues in Bristol after George Floyd was killed in Minnesota? Because the activists are waiting for these incidents and co-ordinating campaigns at a time when people with clearer heads feel they can’t argue with women, or with black people. A similar thing was just attempted over the Oprah interview with the Sussexes but they vastly overestimated how much public sympathy there is for Meghan Markle and it fell flat. The BBC gave it their best though.

One other point: when we misogynist, right wing, white males used to run this country, the murderer of Sarah Everhart would have been visited in his cell at 6am by Albert Pierrepoint, led to a trapdoor and had a noose placed around his neck prior to being dropped through it. The party of Jess Phillips and most of the feminist left put an end to that. Today, due to liberal crime policies, the average murderer does about 15 to 20 years. Everhart’s killer will get more largely because of the press attention, however he didn’t know that. Maybe the conversation we should be having is about punishment and deterrence.

Last edited 3 years ago by Kevin Thomas
David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Thomas

I hope people are starting to get wise to the cynical way activists and their allies in the media are using tragedies to advance not solutions but identity politics.

Disagree with you on the death penalty, but your analysis of how activism works is spot on. And people do wise up slowly, which is why activists tend to alienate people from their own causes.
The difference between BLM and the (real, historical) N-zis is that the N-zis would have killed George Floyd themselves and blamed it on their enemies. Perhaps we should commend modern activists for their patience.

Last edited 3 years ago by David Morley
Anjela Kewell
Anjela Kewell
3 years ago

Well said. We live in a highly feminised society where our male politicians and commentators are too scared to be men and answer the woke brigade with a clear cut NO

Steve Craddock
Steve Craddock
3 years ago

2 points come to mind immediately about the foundations of some of our discussions around crime and specifically girls and women’s perceptions of it directed towards them.

The first being the use of statistics and data captured by the highly politicised and biased body we know commonly as the police. The second is the presentation of special interest and pressure or lobby groups as unbiased authorities on a subject. Unsurprisingly the paid for commissioner of the stop voilence against women group, lady so and so, says how “terrible it all is” and “something must be done”. That isn’t a debate, or even necessarily a truthfull statement it is merely a spokesperson reading from a card.

The feelings of fear so heavily referenced is not the sole domain of women, as it used to be a routine headline about the elderly who also fear to leave their homes at night.

This fact is selectively ignored because it reveals that the true nature of the problem does not fit in to the present misandry agenda as it is related, as it always has been, to the age-old demon of the strong taking advantage of the weak.

However, in the 21st century strength is no longer the whole picture and it is probably better worded nowadays to be more inclusive. In doing so we end up with the much broader issue of the powerful taking advantage of the powerless.

With how modern society and its laws and mores are set up any protection at a street level for the powerless can only come from a suitably authorised, empowered, accountable and non-political police force.

Unfortunately, l believe, this is not what we have in the UK today.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Craddock

This fact is selectively ignored because it reveals that the true nature of the problem does not fit in to the present misandry agenda as it is related, as it always has been, to the age-old demon of the strong taking advantage of the weak.

Yes, I think that’s right. It doesn’t make it any less of a problem, but I think it’s true that the narrative is framed in such a way as to make it a feminist issue.
There must be a lot of people, particularly the elderly, who simply do not go out at night out of fear. But they never appear in the statistics.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Elderly people tend not to go out at night anyway, not just out of fear. The older people get the less they go out at night. For lots of reasons, eyesight among them.

David Stanley
David Stanley
3 years ago

A lot of people are arguing that men need to be educated to show more respect for women. One problem with this is that when you are a teenager you notice that quiet, sensitive lads get ignore by girls in favour of loud, lairy idiots. I’ve met countless women who’ve dismissed men for being too nice. Until that changes, many men will grow up learning that if you want to get female attention it doesn’t pay to be a gentleman.

Nick M
Nick M
3 years ago
Reply to  David Stanley

This definitely resonates with me. The confident, loud, pushy guys are always the ones that get the most women. I guarantee it is those same men that are most like to be the ones that behave in the ways that women are scared of and intimidated by on a quiet dark street.

gretchen
gretchen
3 years ago
Reply to  David Stanley

This smacks very much of fear-based victim blaming to me, which is a pity. Once again the finger of blame is being pointed at women for gender based violence.

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago
Reply to  gretchen

I disagree. I saw it all the time when I was growing up. I am a woman btw.

gretchen
gretchen
3 years ago
Reply to  D Ward

I can only say that I am sorry to hear that.

Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago
Reply to  David Stanley

A lot of people are arguing that men need to be educated to show more respect for women.” I don’t respect anyone – respect is earned but just because I don’t respect a person doesn’t mean I wish them harm.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  David Stanley

One problem with this is that when you are a teenager you notice that quiet, sensitive lads get ignore by girls in favour of loud, lairy idiots.

I think this is true of some girls but most grow out of it, probably by learning the hard way.
Some female friends have admitted to being turned on by male on male violence – again as they grow up they accept that fantasy and reality are best kept apart.
In adults it’s less common – but perhaps this is why some women are attracted (as spectators) to rugby and even boxing).

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

I was going to say that the solution is more police on the streets, instead of monitoring so-called hate crimes online or waddling around Tesco buying sandwiches and crisps, which seems to be their preferred method of crime prevention.
However, it is alleged that Sarah Everard’s killer is a member of the police ‘service’, and every day we read of a police person committing some or other serious crime. So, perhaps that is not the solution.
Thus we are left with the Drakeford Doctrine, under which all women move to Wales and any men still remaining in Wales are compelled to stay at home after 6pm.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

There is not much relationship between the number of police officers and the level of crime. In general. This is how crime has plummeted even as the numbers of offciers went down.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that a special effort to tackle a specific crime can’t be useful. We could start with tackling sexual crimes against women – the rape conviction rate is pathetic, given that the factor most predictive of repeat rape offendig is not a conviction for rape, but an acquittal.

ltarget.esq
ltarget.esq
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

There is a close and direct relationship between reported crime and the number of police. More police = more reported crime; fewer police = fewer reported crimes.

William Jackson
William Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

A policeman in civilian clothing could be a GP, a street cleaner, a shopkeeper, a teacher. Any humanbeing is capable of any human activity upto and including any barbariry. The occupation of an offender dressed in civilian cloathing surly is of little primary importance, other than to sensationalists, politicians, and reporters. Police on the streets in uniforms, and not caged in offices, or you would in part have it in Tesco.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
3 years ago

And how many women are committing those crimes? If a woman was to confront me in the open, I might weigh my chances/ risk against her . I might even win. If a man confronts me I have almost no chance. It’s our size & biology too. That is where the fear & helplessness is.
Also there are many other types of fears that women harbour Rape & sexual assault, dominance ( mental or physical) & the ability for it to change quickly from a verbal to physical . It’s less likely for women to be the perpetrators.
Mental health of men has scary implications on both men & women.
Being in an accident is equally distributed without prejudice, sex & size discrimination.

Last edited 3 years ago by Alka Hughes-Hallett
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

The logic of that last sentence should, by rights, make you a Thanos fan.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

The crimes that women commit against men, such as theft or abortion of their children, are usually supported and enabled by the state, which is a much more ubiquitous and frightening adversary than the odd random nutter.

gretchen
gretchen
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Unfortunately everyday sexism along with gender based violence is not just carried out by “the odd random nutter”.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  gretchen

200,000 aborted children a year is 550 a day, with the father’s consent not required. That is indeed pretty everyday.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Jon, God isn’t real, and therefore you don’t have to do what (other men say) God says. It took me a while to work out, but I’m much happier now, and I daresay, more moral too.

Mark Stone
Mark Stone
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Hmm. Not cool.

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago

 “Almost 80% of US adults think there is more crime now than a year ago.”
And they’re right – there has been a big increase since 2015 and again since 2019. This is largely political – BLM, Defund the Police – but it’s still real. 

Richard Long
Richard Long
3 years ago

It’s possible that this highlights (very sadly)
a very subtle but age old difference in the way the male/female brains assimilate fear.
The easy one is the fact that females do not have an overgrown ego system, for them,, talking about their fears and indeed their hopes and aspirations, is just part of the amazing communication skills females have and in essence ‘If it hurts, talk about it’

Men, as we all well known, firstly have to resolve the problem, not debate it! For a matcho male, telling his mates over a pint, that he is terrified of dark streets and attackers, generally would be taboo.

For female to female it would be simple communication.

I believe men look over their shoulder on dark nights in dark places as many times as women do, the difference being women would probably tell someone over coffee, men would fear being laughed at, or as my grandfather would have said ‘ Oh do grow up boy, stand up for yourself’!!.

Big boys don’t cry they say, girl’s cry to communicate, get rid of the steam and move on.

As to whether our streets are more dangerous now than in my grandfather’s day,
I really doubt it.
Victorian and war blackened streets were truly horrible places and certainly in the second world war, actual street crime was hourendous, simply because it was easy to hide your victims under the morning bomb rubble.

We have lost another young woman in circumstances that should scare us all, and my heart goes out to her and friends and family.
Let’s hope we learn something.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Long

The easy one is the fact that females do not have an overgrown ego system…”
Can you point to any medical books that provide any support for your theory? Thought not…

Simon Flynn
Simon Flynn
3 years ago

.
Au contraire.
.
There are many times when I do not feel safe on the street and in public, and I have certainly modified my behaviour to avoid such situations.
.
Noisy, often drunken, agressive men and youths in groups frighten me.
.
But then, I have a d1ck, so that doesn’t matter.
.

gretchen
gretchen
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Flynn

No one is saying it doesn’t matter. Of course it matters. But it’s not women you are afraid of, is it? And you are much more unlikely to be raped than women.

Tom Jennings
Tom Jennings
3 years ago
Reply to  gretchen

Less likely to be raped, more likely to be murdered. Some choice.

gretchen
gretchen
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Jennings

And yet, for the most part, it is not women committing murder, is it?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  gretchen

That misses the point though. Dead is dead. Who is more likely to be out walking this streets at night? Men or women? And why does it matter who attacks you?

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Alka Hughes-Hallett