My husband is a really understanding man. He’s a listener. He’s a thinker. He’s kind and smart. He’s curious and he isn’t afraid of emotions. But there is something I can’t get him to get his head around.
My fear. My fear which, statistics and data say, is an ‘illogical’ fear.
My fear of being a victim of a random, opportunistic male act of violence.
I’ve been lucky enough to grow up in a home free of violence, and then go on to create a home free of violence too.
I know a vast majority of women are hurt by people they love (horrid, but true), not by a stranger.
But at night, I always check that doors and windows are locked, because if I’m honest, my ‘illogical’ fear is that a man will crawl through the smallest opening of our home and hurt me or my children.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve pulled the sheets away just as I’m falling to sleep and instead walked bleary eyed into one of my girls’ rooms and checked the lock on their window.
"What are you doing?" sometimes he'll ask half asleep as I sneak back into bed.
"Nothing," I say now, because he's told me so many times how safe I am.
I've also lost count of the number of times I've come home late from a night out with friends or colleagues and part way through my walk in the dark home, or my wait to find a taxi or grab an Uber, felt that same fear.
When I'm all alone in those always dark and chilly hours, wondering if the male footsteps behind me mean anything more than a man going home too.
Or when I'm all alone at night and see a man at the next corner just leaning against a shop window, or three or four men laughing and slapping backs coming toward me.
Of all the things I've been able to explain to my husband, this is one of the hardest because it makes him so sad that I always carry this fear with me. A fear of men, of whom he is one.
Women share experiences of sexual violence on Twitter. Post continues below.
I think I share this fear with a lot of women. Every woman I know is the vigilant one in a partnership about home security. Every woman I know carries her keys in her fists if she is walking by herself at night.