“A woman will never face a more dangerous situation than when she is out on a date with a man.” — Louis CK A woman approaches an office building door, her purse in one hand and a carrier of three Starbucks coffees in the other. At the same time, a man approaches the same door, hands free, in a hooded sweatshirt. He stops five feet from the door as the woman tries to get the outward-swinging door open, trading hands to hold the objects she is carrying. She gets the door open and enters the building quickly, feeling the man’s eyes on her as she walks. A woman has agreed to attend a movie with a man she does not know well, and it is their first date. Arriving at the cinema, the man quickly opens his door and exits the car, walking around the back of the vehicle to wait for her to get out. He is out of her line of sight as she opens her door, swings her legs out and exits the car. Two co-workers eschew the elevator in their building to walk up a flight of stairs to a meeting on another floor. The man hangs back, allowing the woman to ascend the stairs first. He stays close behind, and she assumes his gaze is on her backside. A young woman is receiving a male caller at her home, which she shares with her parents. The rest of her family is elsewhere in the house, and the two have the downstairs room with the television to themselves for an hour. The young man makes physical advances beyond her comfort zone, and she firmly reminds him to keep his hands to himself. He becomes visibly displeased and vocally unkind, and leaves. On a crowded bus across town, men sit while a woman is left standing, the only passenger on her feet. She feels stared at by the seated men around her, who are at eye level with her torso. In each of these scenarios, a woman has been placed in a situation in which she may feel unsafe or ill at ease with the circumstances in which she finds herself. And in each scenario, a simple adjustment in the man’s behavior or that of her support system would greatly reduce, or eliminate that feeling of unease. Nearly one quarter of college age women will experience some kind of sexual assault during their college career. Four-fifths of sexual assault victims in the United States are women under 30 years of age. [Campus Safety Magazine] In the early years of the 21st century, it seems that women are increasingly on guard against aggressive behavior from males. From date rape to ignoring an audible ‘no’ to street catcalling, men are seen as more of a danger to women than may have been the case for their grandmothers. In many cases, the observance of previously employed rules of etiquette may provide the side benefit of offering safety. Perhaps this was a significant part of the institution and observance of such rules, after all. Etiquette requires that a man who is transporting a woman in his car should, upon stopping, exit the car and cross in front of the vehicle, keeping himself in plain sight at all times, and open the door for her so that she may also exit the car quickly and unimpeded. When ascending stairs with a woman, the “ladies first” rule is set aside and the man goes first, again allowing the woman to keep the man in plain sight, ahead of her, avoiding his stare on her backside. A man holds a door open for a woman, stepping well out of her way and remaining in sight, offering to help with packages if needed but dropping the matter if help is refused. A young woman is not left alone with a man for anything but a few moments. He is constrained by the presence of family or a roommate from making unwanted advances. After he has left, the presence of another person in the room as witness prevents the young man from claiming a “conquest” never made. Might women feel safer if men were willingly participating in behavior which avoids situations which might raise instinctive fear responses? In our correct pursuit of equality for men and women, especially in the workplace, might we have rashly removed behavior originally designed to protect all concerned? Has the abandonment of many of the social rules contributed to the 21st century feeling of being unsafe for women? Or are we simply hearing more quickly about the same number of assaults as in the past, making them seem more frequent? Indeed, are such cases actually declining as time moves forward? In 1960, according to public records, there were 17,190 cases of reported rape in the United States, with a population of 179.3 million. In 2015, 90,185 rape cases were reported, against a population of 321.4 million. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice: From 1995 to 2005, the total rate of sexual violence committed against U.S. female residents age 12 or older declined 64% In 2010, females nationwide experienced about 270,000 rape or sexual assault victimizations, compared to about 556,000 in 1995. Completed rape or sexual assault accounted for more than 50% of the total rape or sexual violent victimizations in 2010. Between 1995 and 2010, the rate of completed rape or sexual assault declined from 3.6 per 1,000 females to 1.1 per 1,000. Over the same period, the rates of attempted rape or sexual assault and victimizations involving the threat of rape remained relatively stable. Keep in mind that definitions of sexual assault have generally broadened over time in most countries of the developed world, and that rape is a greatly underreported crime, for various reasons. Did the observance of previously common social rules have anything to do with safety of individual members of society?