AT MIDNIGHT tomorrow, the streets of Glasgow's southside will echo to the sound of thousands of footsteps, as women walk in protest against the harassment, violence and misogyny blighting lives at home and abroad.

The demonstrators are tired of living in fear, simply because they are female, and are demanding action to make their world a safer place.

Their concern is far from ill-founded: as the Sunday Herald reports today, calls to Glasgow's rape crisis centre have increased by 50% in two years. Across the country, statistics indicate a worrying rise in reports of sexual offences. Around the world women are belittled, abused and murdered daily.

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The anger against misogyny is more than well founded. Sexual violence against women must be seen as a modern horror - and must be treated as such.

American expert Dr Jean Kilbourne, who has been studying gender issues for 40 years, argues that violence against women should be treated as a public health issue in order to change attitudes in society.

It is not an issue that policing alone can solve: the responsibility lies with everyone from Government ministers and parents, to the men who say and do nothing when they hear an enabling sexist joke. Everyone should take action to show that misogyny is unacceptable.

This is a time when Scotland is looking to the future and focusing on ways to create a more equitable society. We can't do that while half the population is at risk of mistreatment simply as a consequence of having two X chromosomes.