Fear is in the eye of the beholder, and that's usually a woman.
Fear is in the eye of the beholder, and that's usually a woman. Daniel Villeneuve

Men need to take women's fears seriously

IT'S pretty amazing the stuff that goes unnoticed in the long term relationships.

I know a guy in his 50s who has never broken wind, you know, farted, in front of his wife of 30-plus years.

He told me as such after, let's just say, the topic arose.

How does that happen, or not as the case may be?

There was no real explanation except that was how it had always been.

Naturally his wife had also never let fluffy off the chain in front of him either which is pretty crazy to a verbose journalist who specialises in keeping the lines of communication open.

This kind of unspoken curiosity between couples also piqued interest recently, albeit on a much more serious topic, when the recent phenomena of men finding out by default, that the females they have been cohabiting with for ions have felt uncomfortable, even terrified, by men in commonplace situations.

Situations men never bat an eyelid at, like walking to their car at night, letting tradies in the house, opening the door to delivery men or getting into a taxi alone after a night out.

To a woman they are still "normal" things but there's always that underlying seed of doubt in their DNA that is planted from a very young age that means they can never really be fully relaxed in these situations.

This stems from women grow up seeing other men deliver some very ordinary treatment to other women.

It's common enough for a lot of them to think some of it, like social hassling or unwanted sexual advances, cat-calling et all, is normal behaviour,.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are those acts horrendous enough to terrify some woman into never going out alone after dark in their lifetimes.

Most young females have a horror story pin-up girl.

Mine was Anita Cobby.

My daughter, a high school teacher who often goes in to work at weekends, it's Stephanie Scott.

Or Jill Meagher if she's out in the city having a few drinks with friends and decides to toddle off to catch a taxi home.

Those women were all in "normal" situations, some even in broad daylight, before being raped, tortured and bludgeoned to death.

No woman wants to be on that roll call of heinous misfortune at the hands of one or a pack of men.

But it's those kinds of disturbing thoughts that come flooding back to us if we are ever confronted alone by an unexpected male presence.

So what can the loving, caring man, the one that respects and adores you, do to help alleviate these concerns?

A good starting point is to let her know you're sending a tradie around. Then it's about appreciating the gravity of what is it like for a woman to live in a world where this kind of stuff happens to them, in their neighbourhood, on their television sets, in their country.

Women need an empathetic ear not an flippant response like stop worrying or overreacting or examples of the male equivalent (there is none by the way) thrown back in their faces.

They just need to feel their guys get it, so the next time an unannounced visitor or market researcher needs to come inside the house or she has to navigate a dark car park to get to home or just walk into a pub late on a Friday night, they understand that sometimes it's not that easy for a woman to do those things.

It's an underlying menace that remains in our culture and until it doesn't, there needs to be a little more understanding on the role men can play in making women feel that little bit more comfortable.

As far as holding farts in, you're on your own there.



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