Thanks for your comment! I have young kids and have asked myself the same question – how to help them when they get older.
So…1) My mum occasionally warned me about ‘engaging with strange men’ but perhaps if my parents had really really drummed it in to me that I should trust my gut and move far away if I feel uncomfortable (but stay near other people etc) I might have had the confidence to do that. Having said that I am in no way blaming my parents as I think teenagers/young people are often naturally more prone to self-doubt anyway unfortunately.
2) The other factor is that I honestly thought for a period that perhaps it was our fault as we were wearing dresses and cheap eyeliner. So the other thing I plan to drum into my kids is that it’s NOT their fault. The blame for harassment, sexual assault does not lie with the recipient.
Also, to be clear, I didn’t mean to suggest the man who tried to help did or said anything wrong – far from it. He was spot on and clearly a kind person. It was our youth and lack of confidence & fear that made us stay put. BUT he did make me stop doubting myself – I was right to think the sleazy man was a creep and so that did give us the confidence to eventually get off the train.