Ignorance tells us we’ll be safe when really it’s luck

Mutiny Festival 2017 Picture: Paul Windsor

Keep children safe – but beware the nanny state

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Sometimes life is just risky.

If we stopped to think of all the things that could happen to us during the course of a day we’d never leave the house, right?

On the roads you rely on your own wits, but also bank on those around you having the same care and consideration for their lives as you have for your own.

‘You could get hit by a bus,’ people say, as if that’s something that happens regularly. And yet time and time again there’s a far bigger risk that women just continue to ignore.

‘Silly girl,’ you might be tempted to say, as you hear about a woman who has found herself in trouble after walking home alone at night. But I can’t join in with that dismissive condemnation because I’ve been that girl. We all have, haven’t we?

For years I thought that those who had found themselves in danger had just been unlucky. That they had been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Now I realise it’s me – and everyone else who has ever taken a stupid, spontaneous risk – that has been lucky. And I count my blessings for that.

As a young student my friends and I would often go out, drink too much, have a row and someone might walk off on their own. It was a nightmare scenario my mum had warned me about – and I always told her it had never happened.

But I would get into taxis, alone, without telling anyone where I was going. I had no mobile phone and very rarely had much cash on me.

So why do we do it? A potent mix of ignorance and bravado tells you it won’t happen to you. Yet when you think about it, it’s really just sheer chance that it doesn’t.

Older and hopefully wiser, I look at the TV appeals the parents of Sian O’Callaghan took part in before her body was found dumped in a remote part of Oxfordshire and I shudder. The precise details of what happened are still being investigated. But sadly it’s all too easy to fall into that stupid sense of security, no matter how many times the police and others warn us of the risks.

Her death should make every woman who has ever left a nightclub on her own stop and think about the difference between being lucky and unlucky.