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Men are overwhelmingly more violent and dangerous than women. You can pretend otherwise, but the entirety of human history points to there being something dark and almost totally unspoken within male sexuality. fisherpersons blame it on socialisation, but I do not think that is a rigorous enough explaination. Most of us control it, but there are a great many of us will beat our spouses, take sexual advantage of women we don't know, ignore pleas to stop or otherwise engage in menacing and mendacious behavior towards women. Given the mountain of evidence that men can and do pose a threat, it would be irrational and illogical for women not to feel defensive when confronted with an unknown man in an isolated location. I met two Liverpudlian lads who thought I was mad for happily walking down a pitch black country lane. Why? Because in a city like Liverpool walking into the pitch black was a riskier proposition than where I had grown up. I do not think they were prejudiced against other Scousers, it was simply a rational reaction based on their experiences. Most women have been sexually harassed (don't just take my word for it, ask them) and if they themselves have not been the victim of gender based violence, it is almost a certainty another woman they know will have been. Of course this does not mean every man is a threat, but when practically every woman has been victimised in some way, it is only sane to assume that she could be made a victim at any moment of vulnerability.
However, I too share your uncomfortableness at this perception. Just this weekend I walked by a teenager-ish aged girl in the late afternoon, on a path not many people use. Perhaps I am reading too much into the situation, but when I wandered by her and mumbled "hi", she did not exactly seem at ease with my presence, and even less so when I reappeared heading right after mistakingly taking a left out of the kissing gate at the end of this particular section of path. The possibility that I induced a sense of fear or nervousness within her is of no joy to me, indeed I find it faintly unsettling. But, without wanting to sound overly dramatic, I do not think that it is as unsettling as the thought that sexual assault is a constant threat. When I was 14 adult men didn't stop their car at the bus stop and photograph me, when I've been out drinking no bloke ever tried to bundle me into a cab to go to an unknown location before my friends stopped him, and I've never had a partner spring a "roid rage" induced beating on me only to then kick me out of my own home for several days, nor has any man I've known had anything remotely like that happen to them. However, women I've known have. I don't tell you this to shame you or score internet argument points, I can't offer you any advice on what we as individuals can do about it, but these are, some, not all, but some, of the realities of how interactions between men and women go.