Skirting the issue

Consternation in the car this morning as Child Two told me one of her friends got a big ticking-off from the form teacher after assembly. ‘The teacher said her skirt was way too short and she should pull it down. But my friend said she couldn’t, it wouldn’t go any longer …’

At this point, I had a great deal of sympathy for the teacher. As I see the girls walking into school in the morning, some of the skirts are eye-wateringly, hypothermia-inducingly short. And, of course, I remember Child One in particular rolling up her skirt at the waist in an effort to make it trendier, inadvertently giving herself what looked like severe middle-aged spread with yards of navy blue skirting bunched around her waist. Nowadays her skirt is pretty abbreviated – she is still wearing the one I bought her when she was ten, even though she is now 16. Sure, she has several other skirts hanging in her wardrobe, but this is the one she likes best. And it just happens to be the shortest ….. sigh.

Meanwhile, Child Two was still full of the iniquities of her friend being told off. ‘And then the teacher said, ‘I’ve got two words for you. Milly Dowler.”

‘Hang on, what?’ I said. ‘Milly Dowler,’ said Child Two. I couldn’t believe my ears. ‘What about that poor girl?’ The teacher said she only got abducted because she was wearing a short skirt. She said all we had to do was Google it to see.’

Actually, I have just Googled it, and she is, indeed, wearing a short skirt on the day she went missing. But that is not the point! Surely? Or is it? Are we saying, ‘she asked for it’? Are really we back there again? I do tell my girls not to dress too provocatively because it draws unwelcome attention. But I don’t think that provocative dressing gives anyone impunity to kill. And I don’t want my children told that Milly Dowler deserved what happened to her, on any level. She did NOT.

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