Ever so late to this, sorry – only just read it.
My take on it is not to sweat what everyone else could do, but to focus on what *you* can do to protect yourself. To take back the power. You are, after all, the most important person in your world.
A long time ago I lived in a rough area and was mugged and the guy had a knife. This left me seriously rattled; jittery, angry. I signed up for a self-defence course for women and have to say how truly empowering it was; because I realised – probably for the first time – that you don’t have to be physically enormous, burly, fit and male – there are very simple techniques that will use the assailant’s own strength against them.
I felt so good going to that class, that one night walking home from it, I approached a short dark alley (to avoid it would have required a serious detour) and saw a man lounging against the wall. I think I saw the glint of a knife. To suddenly stop and hurry back the other way would have shown I was frightened and invite a chase. So instead, heart thumping out of my chest, I marched straight up and past him, looking him full in the face as I did so. I tried to set my own face to say, ‘Just you try it.’ Nothing happened.
Yes, something did happen. A shift inside me. I didn’t have ‘victim’ stamped across my forehead any more. I felt I’d won. I felt strong; and free at last.
Point being, that just having the confidence (hope?) that I could deal with it if I had to, meant that I didn’t have to. It was a wonderful feeling. Wonderful. Months of anxiety dripped out of me.
That was all decades ago. I’ve forgotten nearly everything I learned. Note to self: take another course. Soon.