But the idea that a woman cannot be expected to cope with going into a witness box, where she will be publicly identified, is equally stereotypical: it implies a degraded notion of weak and timorous women.
There is still a strong impression that the party's political approach remains timorous and lacks creativity when it comes to figuring out new responses to old problems.
And we have become a surprisingly timorous nation because we don't ask our leaders, our politicians serious questions.
The best departments will encourage an entrepreneurship of information and ideas, which in turn requires daring, not conformity, and a cool-eyed rather than a timorous attitude to risk.
I still cannot quite believe that this cowering timorous country of ours has produced such an extravagant masterpiece, and it has achieved something that not many modern buildings do - it has won the affection of those who use it.
If it had been, a particularly vicious correction must have occurred to turn Britain back into the timorous , conservative country it became in the Seventies.
At the moment, however, he is tackling arguably his most challenging subject, one which many lesser and more timorous artists would not dare contemplate for fear that it might ruin their fragile reputations.
Even a timorous proposal to convert taxis from diesel to less-polluting petrol five years ago failed to win legislative support.
Some are behemoths in the truest sense of the word, massive as oil tankers, others, small knock-kneed and timorous and as prone to panic attacks as barking deer.
But sadly it is all too typical of the dismissive attitude adopted by those at the Executive who seem to think that an airy-fairy, and probably timorous , arts lobby will go away if told that everything will be all right.