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A World War 2 Trilogy

By FRED NATH (Novelist and Neurosurgeon)

Fred's Blog

Blog

Reclaim our Streets

Posted on 12 March, 2021 at 8:35

I’m a bit puzzled. I read and heard about the laudable Reclaim our Streets campaign. What is being said suggests that London’s streets are less safe than previously, and that there is a lot more sexual harassment of women nowadays.

At the age of 70, I look back at what I’ve witnessed in the past and I don’t think things are less safe. They never were in my day either.

I recall that at the age of 13 I took a girl to the cinema and afterwards made a point of walking her home. She lived in Blackheath in London and I lived in Bermondsey. Since I walked her home, I missed the last bus and had to walk about 5 miles to get home. My parents didn’t give me as hard a time as they might because they understood it was the correct thing to do.

I would never have considered sending her home alone. It just wasn’t done in those days and I hope any self-respecting boy or man would not send his ‘date’, his girlfriend, daughter of partner to walk any streets anywhere in the dark.

I recall many occasions when a pretty girl walked in the street getting wolf whistled or occasionally some sexual remark, but I never thought any of what I saw was meant to be violating or damaging.

Things have changed for the better in that respect. Those things are not now permissible – quite rightly too. We none of us have the right to impinge on another person’s integrity without permission. That is a good thing that is different.

What puzzles me is this idea that it can become safer. I don’t think women’s safety in the streets of London, or any other city will improve against the backdrop of a reduced and overworked police force. I think it will always be unsafe especially for women, but I think the area where society needs to work on is men’s attitudes and politeness.

Always see your girlfriend or friend to the doorstep. If you’re both girls then you have to work round that, but the streets are never truly safe and there are a lot of strange and evil people out there.

In my opinion, it never was safe. It isn’t safe now and it never will be. Girls and women should always be escorted home, or they should stay over, or they should get a cab from a well-known registered cab company that is traceable.

Being on one end of a mobile phone doesn’t improve safety either, it is impossible to get instant help.

I’m not saying be paranoid but just consider never taking that risk by walking home alone at night!

 

Categories: thoughts

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