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I don’t know whether this is part of my Saturn Return, but I think I am becoming a bit of an old cynic.

There has been a bit of a hoo haa about a woman celebrity who is old enough to know better, downplaying the rape of a woman too drunk to say ‘No’, by a footballer who I have never heard of, (not unusual, I’m not a football fan) in a hotel room. The footballer had served his time and is now out but there is a movement to make sure that he doesn’t get his job back

Now let me make it clear, in my opinion rape is a heinous crime, less to do with sex than power, fuelled by a sense of entitlement and lack of consideration by the perpetrator towards the victim and there is no excuse for it, but I do believe there are some situations where mitigation and self-protection is required. Not just the potential victim to protect themselves against the rape, but by the potential accused to protect themselves against the accusation of rape if it were not intended.

I can see the situation now, young girl flattered by the attention of an up and coming footballing young man with a sense of entitlement, (or his mate) drinks too much, goes back to his room, she has sex with the footballers mate (who was not charged with rape) and the said footballer thinks he can join in too. Whether she was too drunk to say ‘No’ or too drunk to care, isn’t clear. Certainly there was no evidence of fighting back but was she so incapable that she couldn’t, which should have meant a big no-no as far as the men were concerned. However, if this is the case, why wasn’t the mate convicted of rape as well or why did he not at least protect the young woman? There have been all the arguments about ‘….handing it to them on a plate’ ‘A woman’s body is her own and unless she actually agrees, it should be supposed she is not consenting’ ‘……shouldn’t have put herself in that position in the first place’ ‘All men are rapists’ etc. etc. The victim had to relocate, but also got a rather large compensation package.

Now, I am not questioning the emotional and physical damage done by rape and neither am I making any judgments in this situation, I wasn’t there and only have the information from the media. Nevertheless, I can’t help thinking that if the young footballer had behaved more like a gentleman with self-respect and courtesy and the young victim had behaved more like a lady with self-respect and dignity, then none of this would have happened. What has happened to those old fashioned values?

I know when I was much younger, under the influence of drink I lost some of my inhibitions. One of my sayings is ‘I have never been so drunk that I have forgotten what I have done, but I have been drunk enough to not care what I have done, which is far more embarrassing’ luckily I have never been in the position where I had to fight off rabid ‘suitors’ either drunk or sober. (There was one occasion where a young man tried to grope me in an intimate place, but what he got for his efforts was a punch in his intimate place)

There was a time (and now I am beginning to sound like my grandmother) where it was frowned upon if a woman got even a bit tipsy. It wasn’t considered cool to go out and binge drink – by either gender. If you were female you were a complete slapper and if you were male then you were a loser, couldn’t hold your drink, very seedy and heading for a life as a tramp. OK I accept that drinking and drunken behaviour has been going on for millennia, but it was never celebrated in the way it is now days, with celebrities falling out of nightclubs and being photographed with no knickers on. (It’s usually the women the photographers target) It seems to have become acceptable to be drunk and disorderly in public and allow yourself to behave without any inhibitions.

As I get older it saddens me that the consequences of that behaviour are always someone else’s fault, somebody else to blame, someone else to pay and never the responsibility of those involved. The bar staff who served them the drink, the supermarkets/local off licences who sold them the pre going out drink, the local council who hadn’t properly laid the pavement slab that they tripped on – and the parents collude in this because they can’t believe their little darlings can do anything to bring it on themselves. The sue me, sue you culture, no win, no fee, personal injury lawyers are not a positive addition to life in general.

I remember some years ago I heard a tale told by a member of the aristocracy (probably on radio) on how this grandfather gave him a clip when he didn’t doff his hat at a female member of their staff.

‘But she isn’t a lady’ the boy said in his defence

‘You don’t doff your hat because she is a lady’ said the grandfather ‘you doff it because YOU are a Gentleman’

In the end, our behaviour should not reflect what others do and do not deserve from us or what we deserve from them, it should reflect the way we want to be seen by the world at large and this should be taught from an early age. It also should reflect care and respect for others, whether you feel they deserve it or not and I despair that this is becoming less and less the norm.

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