You may have heard about the Target under-the-skirt-cameraman. Rachel Lucas has an excellent post on it here. While I'm just as repulsed by the pervert's actions as anyone else, I seem to be lacking in sympathy for the victim. Lucas makes some very good points in the same vein, I highly recommend you read her entire post, and the comments.
I told the wifey about the whole sordid tale and told her I lacked sympathy for the victim. She looked at me like I'd grown horns (happens a lot). Then I asked her, "Could that happen to you?" She seemed shocked I'd even ask and then my point of view clicked with her. Of course it couldn't happen to her, if some stranger tried to get that close to her she would have noticed it instantly and tried to move away, if that failed, she'd have told him to back the hell off.
Which brings us to the point of this little offering. It's bad enough that women are, on the average, smaller and physically weaker than men, but the blatant inattention to their surroundings combined with the ingrained 'be nice' reflex is what really makes them likely candidates for victimization.
Bollocks to that!
I understand fully well that from a young age little girls are, again, on average, less aggressive than boys and that's perfectly normal and I have no problem with it. Also, children are taught not to settle disputes on their own, to get a teacher, parent, adult. I don't disagree with that either to a certain extent, but no one is taught what to do when no one else is available. The rough and tumble nature of coming of age as a boy traditionally (not so much any more) has taught young boys how to deal with bullies and other predators. Not so much with little girls.
Which leads to a phenomenon I've noticed a lot. It's not true of everyone (nothing ever is), but a great many women refuse to confront someone until it's way too late. In the example of the Target pervert, she may, or may not, have noticed the guy standing way to close to her, but if she did, she didn't say anything about it or try to get away. A lot of women would have noticed, and not done anything about it. It's not because they're too scared, it's because they don't want to be mean.
Let me kick a much abused equine corpse here. There is absolutely nothing wrong or mean about defending your personal space. Nor with watching someone your instincts have tagged as a threat. If someone gets within arm's reach (yours or theirs, whoever has more reach) move away. If they don't let you or you don't have room, TELL THEM TO BACK OFF. If that doesn't work, push the issue. No one has any business invading your personal space uninvited. If they're there and you don't want them there, get them out of there.
Your personnel space is your early warning system. The bad guys know psychology just as well as we do. They know that if they invade your personnel space and you don't challenge them, you may feel complicit in your own attack. It is next to impossible for a women to fight effectively when she has feelings of complicity. It's why repressive regimes will force a female prisoner to strip herself prior to questioning. Your personal space is sacred and inviolate, don't let anyone into it without your permission.