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I've been thinking about something that happened at dd's school yesterday....

(23 Posts)
curlew Fri 18-Oct-13 12:45:13

It's a boy's school, with girls in the 6th form making up about 25%.

There are been a few nasty incidents in the town recently, a man in a mask following young women down dark alleys. And recently the man responsible has got bolder- he grabbed a woman and tried to pull her into a side road but she fought him off. All very unpleasant. The police have issued guidance on what to do. Anyway, yesterday they had an assembly at the school to pass on the police information, and to talk to the girls about keeping safe. But it was girls only. I'm wondering why- surely boys should know what's going on as well?

AuntieStella Fri 18-Oct-13 12:49:28

I agree that the boys needed to know as well.

But as this specific attacker is targeting female victims, then I can see why the focus in this specific instance is on the girls. And if the decision was made for a separate talk in order to ensure that the presence of boys did not cause diversion or inhibition, then it could be the right thing to do. Especially if this was a one-off in a school which does not usually separate on gender lines.

joanofarchitrave Fri 18-Oct-13 12:55:58

I agree that it should have been boys too, if only so the boys understood what was happening.

There was a thread on here some time back talking about sexual harassment. One poster described having a man masturbating in front of her on public transport. A male poster dismissed her story saying 'a man wanking in public, that's not very likely, is it?' only to be drowned by a tsunami of posts saying 'it's happened to us'. He clearly had no idea how common this is.

Viviennemary Fri 18-Oct-13 13:01:29

I agree everyone should have been made aware even though only girls were targeted. Because then everyone would be on alert if they saw anybody acting in a suspicious way.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Fri 18-Oct-13 13:02:44

The assembly was girls only?

I think that's odd. Yes, maybe it made sense to give the girls separate safety advise since this offender seems to have particular targets. But the boys need to know what's going on too. Not least because they could witness behaviour that might help track down the offender.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 18-Oct-13 13:05:12

Do you mean the assembly passing on the police info was girls only? I'd have thought that should have been for everyone but that there might then have been a separate session for the girls.

SleepyPanda Fri 18-Oct-13 13:28:33

You are in the same town as me OP.

FWIW I, and most of my friends, are of the opinion that it is most likely someone with a bad sense of humour trying to scare people. I'm not saying it's impossible there could be an attack, but I suspect it's unlikely.

It's a good opportunity for a reminder of general personal safety, for both girls AND boys, because this is always relevant regardless of whether or not there is some idiot in a mask.

BUT...the mass hysteria is probably exactly what they are hoping for, and it's being fuelled with the Chinese whispers of he's 'following girls down dark alleys' and he 'grabbed a girl and tried to pull her down an alley' and the like. That's possibly a slightly dramatized version of events.

Apologies OP, if you feel I'm derailing your thread, but fellow students suddenly being scared to walk to the corner shop to buy milk at 7.30pm is frustrating and ridiculous.

BasilBabyEater Fri 18-Oct-13 14:31:37

I bet the police didn't tell the girls to arm themselves against this predator so that they could effectively defend themselves, did they?

Have you noticed that? Their focus on how to keep safe is always in some way restricting your life.

The boys should have been included because it's their problem too - their friends, girlfriends, mothers, sisters etc. could be attacked and also they need to know that it's wrong to do this and if they were vaguely considering it, then don't.

curlew Fri 18-Oct-13 14:58:08

Sleepy panda- that's what dd and I were thinking- but we are talking is slightly more seriously after the message from the police was read out yesterday. I don't think they would compose a message like that unless there was some substance to the incidents.

Basil, those were my thoughts too!

DavesDadsDogDiedDiabolically Fri 18-Oct-13 15:20:07

It depends if the Police were giving the girls escape strategies.

The culprit is Male, it could be one of the boys. Why tip them off/make it easier to identify potential victims that aren't following the Police advice?

Although, I'd expect the boys to be talked to at some stage.

SleepyPanda Fri 18-Oct-13 15:51:18

The bulletin on the police website came three days after I had first heard about what was going on through a number of friends. Things were going crazy over FB, with each 'warning' status more dramatic than the last.

I totally agree that there is some substance to the incidents, after all we've been shown CCTV photos of the man, but I do wonder if part of the reason for the police input was to get the FACTS out there and quash some of the scare-mongering.

I'm only going on what I've read from the police website and via the university though, your DCs may have been read something different.

It's always good to be aware, and if recent events are being used to highlight general personal safety then that can't be a bad thing.
That should apply to all though, and I agree that the school should have included both the boys and the girls in the assembly.

KoPo Fri 18-Oct-13 16:23:47

Basil .... What exactly do you mean by "arm themselves"?

That is something that could end up putting someone's life in serious danger (and I don't just mean the attacker). Also if pupils are going out armed they are then liable to end up under arrest for it.

I also wondered why they just spoke to the girls and mentioned it to DH, his thoughts were that perhaps they didnt want the 6th form boys going out and trying to act like sodding vigilanties. Also as suggested upthread it could actually be one of the older boys committing the offences.

scallopsrgreat Fri 18-Oct-13 16:56:35

I wonder why the 6th form boys are likely to go out and be vigilantes and the girls aren't?

Maybe it's because girls are conditioned to restrict their lives in response to being targeted for attack, rather than being taught to prepare for it.

In fact I wonder why women are being targeted by this attacker in the first place? Maybe if we were more conditioned to fight back we wouldn't be targeted so much?

Tis a trick of the patriarchy isn't it? Make the oppressed believe they can't/shouldn't fight back.

EBearhug Fri 18-Oct-13 19:10:36

What happened to the boys while the girls were in the assembly? Could they have been talking to them about the situation as well?

I can see the sense in separating them - I'm sure that some of the boys when I was at school would have found it very entertaining to try and spook the girls if this sort of thing was going on, and it wouldn't have helped if they'd seen any of the girls looking worried in the assembly. But I do think they should talk to the boys as well.

KoPo Fri 18-Oct-13 19:21:46

scallops - Probably because of some twisted view that it is macho and hard to go out and act the vigilante. Most likely thing to happen then is someone innocent of anything gets beaten to a pulp and the real threat is still there.

Do you seriously believe that children (and yes they are still children at 16 and 17) are equipped to go out and try to find and fight adults? Yes we should be damned angry and doing something about it. But seriously go out and fight whoever this is? Arm up the girls?

We should be able to rely on the police and the fact that other men would find this unnaceptable and speak out. But sadly the voice of the majority of men is curiously lacking.

BasilBabyEater Fri 18-Oct-13 19:22:40

Yes I wonder why men are so silent about this sort of thing?

KoPo Fri 18-Oct-13 19:24:24

Because sadly they dont think it applies to them and is therefore irrelevant is my best guess

BasilBabyEater Fri 18-Oct-13 19:39:59

But most men have mothers, daughters, female friends, lovers etc... it does apply to them.

scallopsrgreat Fri 18-Oct-13 20:15:30

Why did your husband think the boys would be equipped to be vigilantes as they are only 16/17?

Because women are conditioned to be passive and men aren't. It is unthinkable that women would fight back, create vigilante groups and do something about this.

I don't think arming 16 yr old girls would be a good idea. If they were armed, got caught by the attacker then couldn't do anything about it there would be victim-blaming. And it could put them in further danger (I am thinking things like spray in the eyes etc not guns and knives when I talk about arms).

I do think women should get angry and vocal about this type of stuff though. Very angry and very vocal.

KoPo Fri 18-Oct-13 20:21:51

He didn't think they would be equipped. He wondered if there would be some hotheads that would think it clever and macho to try though.

scallopsrgreat Fri 18-Oct-13 20:26:09

I'm not having a go btw KoPo. I just think that it interesting that the first responses are for women to hide away and men to be violent.

KoPo Fri 18-Oct-13 20:34:39

Look at most of the innapropriate violence and its falls at the feet of men. It comes from the twisted ideas that that is how men are supposed to be according to the wisdom of the patriarchy. This is just my thoughts atm (not feeling in a charitable mood tonight).

scallopsrgreat Fri 18-Oct-13 20:35:49

Oh yes I agree.

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