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A different place

Comments Off on A different place 11 November 2017

A different place

Some men are under the impression that they are the persecuted ones. They can’t even chat up a woman for fear of being accused of sexual harassment. They can’t even fancy someone in case someone reports them to their employer or the media and suddenly, like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, their careers are over. To which I reply, what complete and utter tosh.

It is one thing to find someone of the opposite or same sex attractive and quite another to shower them with unwanted and uncomfortable attention. Most men, I believe, know where the line is that should not be crossed, when no means no, when they have to move on and see where life’s loves labours turn up next.

We have discussed before, haven’t we, that the disgraced former defence secretary ‘Sir’ Michael Fallon thought that as recently as 2002 and 2007 it was acceptable to repeatedly touch a woman’s knee or to encourage another woman to warm her cold hands on his penis. No, it wasn’t. It’s never been acceptable. They were not different times when sexual assault was as normal as a consensual relationship.

If I was young and single, I wouldn’t have a fear in the world about somehow being persecuted by women who were trying to stitch me up with allegations of impropriety. I may not have been the sharpest tool in the box, I had a colourful past in the relationship department but I knew, instinctively and by way of my upbringing that women were not mere objects who existed purely for my delectation. I wasn’t very good at ending relationships – weak and cowardly at times, if I am being honest – so I had my faults for which I feel a degree of shame but I know was probably not as bad as the hurt I caused some girls. That was the worst it got for me.

I was lucky in my friendships with men. So far as I can tell, I did not know anyone who crossed the line between consensual and non-consensual. I suppose we all had different lives but I recall nothing that made me feel uncomfortable. My friends weren’t gropers or perverts. I don’t recall an environment where girls and later women were downtrodden in the sense of sexual equality. It could be this merely reflected the circles in which I moved. It could also be that I was brought up by my lone parent mother who taught me, by way of example and by her actions, that women deserved proper respect.

Speaking personally, I am glad that unacceptable male behaviour is being exposed in the public eye. It’s all about power, as we know, and power moves in mysterious ways and areas. A filthy rich movie producer who could make or break careers, a famous actor who could use his influence to raise up the careers of younger performers, if only you’ll touch me or let me touch you. Ugh. It’s not just me who finds the very thought of this as repulsive, is it?

Now the genie is out of the bottle and some men are finding out in a hard way that their past behaviour was a disgrace and could now have implications for their futures. Too bad. I have absolutely no sympathy for them. Where in the past men simply got away with it, the world is a very different place today.

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