Dear Virginia,

Last week I went to an early evening performance of the opera in London on my own, catching a train home at 9.30pm. Opposite me sat a smartly dressed young man who stared at me and made me feel uneasy. When I reached my stop I walked home quickly on a well-lit route, but became aware that someone might be following me. When I got to my door and began to put the key in, a man leapt on me and tried to assault me sexually. It was the man from the train. Luckily, I screamed, a neighbour came, the man ran off, and I'm left with only cuts and bruises.

As a grandmother aged 50, I thought I had nothing to fear. But I've completely lost my confidence in travelling and walking alone, and I'm terrified of meeting this man again. I'd like to know how other women keep safe at night and how other men and women have recovered from an experience like this.

Yours sincerely,


All comments are welcome, and everyone who has a suggestion quoted will be sent a Dynagrip 50 ballpen from Paper:Mate.

Please send any relevant personal experiences or comments to me at the Features Department, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5DL; fax 0171-293-2182. And if you have any dilemmas of your own you would like to share, let me know. The next 'Dilemmas' will appear on Thursday 3 August.