IT’S not like the talks given by mothers and fathers to black sons in America. The ones which tell them to be ultra polite with law enforcement officers lest they find themselves in the mortuary.

No, little girls in the UK rarely get sat down and told about the myriad dangers which lurk beyond their front door.

But somewhere along the line, they imbue the knowledge that not all the folks out there are nice. That while most men are decent, some are very decidedly not.

Somewhere along the line, as they become aware of their sexuality, they become fearful that they may become victims of an unwanted, uninvited sexual assault.

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And all along that line they know that they will be no match for a male assailant who is, in the natural order of things, bigger and stronger.

So they grow up self-imposing restraints on the way they live their lives. They calculate the safest route to walk. Sometimes they carry alarms. Often, they bunch their keys through their fingers to serve as a weapon in time of need.

And, as they lose the nonchalance of youth, they observe an unspoken curfew. They don’t go out alone after dark. Or, pre-Covid, they opt for public transport, carefully selecting a seat distance from any lone male travellers.

Post-Covid, they stay home and overdose on bad TV.

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Last week, a number of men took to social media to say in unison that they had no idea this was how women thought and behaved.

C’mon guys. You all had mothers. Most of you have wives or girlfriends. You all know other men who leer drunkenly at women or make off colour jokes in mixed company. And maybe you think it’s enough to ignore their “banter”.

Well it’s not. To rework an old adage, all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

So think on, all you decent men out there. Call out bad behaviour. Teach your sons to be respectful. Acknowledge female fear by not walking too close, or sitting too near to women you don’t know. Then your daughters may live in peace.

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