The ‘Me Too’ Movement – Some Men Claim ‘Sexual Ambiguity’ As An Excuse But I Beg To Differ By Eddie Luigi

By Eddie Luigi

This is not a blog on the male perspective of the current media storm concerning sexual harassment of women. I am a male and this is my perspective. I do not claim to be speaking for all males.

I have never assaulted a woman and all of my sexual adventures have been consensual on both sides.

Now I don’t fully understand how women  work, and I may have been guilty of misreading a situation. That said, there was never a point of no return. If the woman said no at any time in the proceedings, then no it was. I would shuffle of with my bruised ego, muttering a few choice epithets under my breath.

I may be old school ( I am 68) but I was bought up to treat women as I would want other men to treat my mother, sister, aunts or daughter. 

I am the first to admit I am not God’s gift to women nor am I a Hollywood matinee idol. 

I have always been amazed, pleasantly surprised and grateful that a woman would find me attractive enough to want to indulge.

I don’t think that because one woman would be attracted to me then all women would. 

I have never wanted to treat women as ‘hunting trophies’ and mark my progress with notches on the bed.

I do not hold with the view that if a woman gets drunk then she is begging ‘for it’. 

By that token if a man gets drunk he is begging to be buggered? Surely not?

Unfortunately these do tend to be the opinions held by some, but not all, blokes.

I have been accused of inappropriate behaviour with regards to some women. It concerns my old school upbringing, where I was taught that if a lady offered you her hand you did not shake it, with a vicelike grip until one of you blinked. 

You took her proffered hand by the finger tips and gently kissed the back of her hand. It was a mark of respect and also stopped the passing of sexually related messages with the fingers, thumb or pressure.

Therein may lie a difficulty. What to one woman is a compliment and considered to be gentlemanly gallantry, another woman will consider unwonted and unwarranted behaviour.

But some of the stories I have heard emerge  are beyond any of this that I describe. And I cannot understand how a man can claim sexual ambiguity or misreading a situation so badly that he sexually assaults or raoes someone!

I would like to see more women stand up to sexual harassment. 

One of the ways might be to boycott the perpetrator in a work environment. 

Make it clear that you will have nothing to do with the pervert, and won’t even give them the time of day. 

If they ask a question, reply through a third party, making sure the third party knows why you are behaving that way. 

It worked for the Irish against Captain Boycott (which is where the phrase originated. You learn something new everyday.

I also believe that capitulation in the face of an overwhelming superior force, should not be considered as consent.

I am who I am because I have been who I have been.

Now I did not spring from my mother’s womb into the fully formed ‘all round good guy’ that I appear to be today. Before I reached the age of 30, I was anything but.

Before I was 15 I was what would now be called a troublemaker, but was then called a gutter snipe. 

I stole, was guilty of breaking and entering, shooting at the Queens birds, shoplifting, bullying and various other crimes that eventually led to my being sent to an approved school and being given the option of Borstal or a boarding school specialising in training young thugs for a life in either the Royal Navy or the Merchant Navy.
Between the ages of 15 and 30 I was a serving member of the Royal Navy. I was what would now be called ‘one of our brave boys’, but was then referred to as a ‘piss artist’. 

While in the Royal Navy I used swear words as punctuation, I told inappropriate and politically incorrect jokes. I thought the truth was so precious that I wasn’t going to squander it by using it.


When I reached the age of 30, I thought ‘enough, time to grow up. 

When I was a child I did childish things, but now I’m a man I should behave as a man.
So I gave up lying, cheating, taking drugs and wounding people with words.

Which brings me to Jared O’Mara. 

I can’t condone what he did or said, but I can’t condemn him either. When I was in the Royal Navy if you made a mistake you were punished for it according to the severity of the action and once your punishment was finished that was the end of the matter.
I would look on Jared O’Mara as a bit of a prat for not choosing his audience. No doubt if Jared O’Mara had been a member of the Bullingdon club, his actions would have been laughed off by the Tories as youthful high spirits and he would have been helped up the greasy pole to high office.

And before the Tories and mainstream media try to gain political capital, with their screeching rants about this being a ‘Labour Party problem’ as we’ve heard the Right Wing press claim, they should look to the racist, misogynistic, elitist, aristocratic snob, who was not only their Prime Minister, but has been consistently voted the greatest Briton of all time. Winston Churchill, oh and of course the 36 Tory MPs caught up in the sexual harassment scandal.

Isn’t it about time men stop hiding behind pathetic excuses for their behaviour and started taking responsibility for their actions? It really is time for a change!
 
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Let’s Talk About Kevin: In Twelve Nagging Questions By Sheila Joyce

By Sheila Joyce

The whole Kevin Spacey thing and the way he has handled it thus far has got me thinking:


1. Being gay is most certainly not in the same category as making sexual advances on a minor. Are you, Kevin suggesting otherwise? 



2. But, would it have been a bit tricky to apologise for this story potentially being true without being open about the fact that coming on to a male (of any age) could have definitely happened? 

3. ‘Inappropriate drunken behaviour’ again, is not the same as paedophilia is it? 

4. Does describing this as ‘drunken behaviour’ suggest that this has happened / could happen again if drunk? That’s not ok.

5. Are you suggesting that making ‘sexual advances’ towards a minor is the same as ‘making sexual advances’? It isn’t.

6. At some point, Kevin, do you think you might have to acknowledge that this kid was 14 and explain whether you knew this at the time or found out later and respond to that particular issue? 

7. Perhaps we the consumer of this news should consider whether a short statement is too surface-level to fully ascertain whether Kevin Spacey knew this kid’s age at the time or not, if he remembers the occasion even vaguely or not, whether this was a very clumsy way of apologising and also having by default to come out about his sexuality and wait for further (expert) development of the story / case?

8. At the very least, could we be thankful he didn’t accuse the victim of lying or victim-blame in any way? At least he acknowledged the anguish he’d carried with him for his entire adult life. 

9. Does anyone think that preying on a child is the same as coming on to a man? 

10. Does anyone disagree that fancying men is not the same as fancying minors? 

11. Did it not occur to Mr Spacey for one second that it would be really bloody unhelpful to link sexuality with sexual assault or sexual abuse?! 

12. Did I mention that paedophilia is not the same as homosexuality?

The more questions we ask, the more we realise that so many more need to be asked.  And I for one hope to see these addressed sooner rather than later.

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An Open Letter To A Judge From A Victim Failed By The System By The Masked Avenger

Author Anonymous 


Dear ‘Your Honour’

I am writing to you because I want you to know how unjust the justice system really is. 

I am a rape survivor and I had to face the perpetrator in court. 

You will know all about the court and it’s processes being a judge and all. Anyway the point of this letter is for me to highlight to you the lack of support for rape victims.

First of all you have to fight so hard to even get to court. Most don’t even reach that stage. 

According to Rape Crisis England and Wales 1 in 5 women between the ages of 16-59 have experienced sexual violence at some point in their life. But only 15% of those actually report it to the police.

So reporting it and getting to Court is a massive hurdle overcome in itself. A hurdle that isn’t easy to overcome when you are recovering from the horror and trauma of rape itself.

Then comes the trial. It starts and you are made to watch your video evidence in full in front of a jury of 12 people.  

To relive every agonising moment, to hear the most personal and traumatic events replayed in front of a court full of strangers; to see their expressions, and reactions. Those people are considering everything about you’re future and with your fate in their hands.

The nerves that fill you up to the brim. Forget eating, sleeping or functioning.

A minute lasts all day.

I was given a room to wait in but when I went out of that room to the toilet I saw the perpetrators family and general members of the public who had come to watch the trial. 

Why are general public allowed?  

His family laughed when I gave evidence and NOTHING was done about that. 

The jury have to be 99.9 % sure of guilt or they have to acquit the accused. 

This is the case for all crimes, so why is the conviction rate for rapists so disproportionately low compared to other crimes?

The way the court deals with rape and abuse needs to be reviewed. So many rape victims don’t report the crime through fear of not receiving justice or support. And they  are right! 

According to ‘Amnesty’ a third of people believe that women who flirt are partially responsible for being raped!! 

There has to be a fairer way to hold trials. Something needs to change. There has to be more support for the victim. 

We need to have open and honest conversations about the way society views rape and how victim blaming is commonplace.

Simple little things like a separate toilet for people who are seated in the witness protection suite so we don’t have to face anyone we don’t want to see. It isn’t rocket science but it would make a massive difference to victims.

The pain lives on long after the decision of the court.

Please please hear us. 

Give us support and understanding. 

I know people have to have a fair trial but my trial was far from it and nobody stood up for me.

The decision on my case was a few years ago now,  but it never goes away, it never ends.

Yours sincerely 

The Masked Avenger 

#MeToo – Sexual Assault By Helen Hill

By Helen Hill

          ** Trigger Warning **

I woke up this morning and carried out my usual morning routine of enjoying a cup of tea whilst browsing social media when I saw that #metoo was the number 1 trending topic on Twitter.

Intrigued I clicked on the hashtag to see what it was all about and it is safe to say that I was horrified when I realised that it was a hashtag to raise awareness of sexual assault.

#metoo quite literally means “I have been sexually assaulted too.” 

To see that it was in the hundreds of thousands of tweets at 7am blew my mind and also turned my stomach because as I read through the endless pages of women and girls of all ages, races and genders admitting that they had been sexually assaulted there was only one thing that I could think…. yes girls, me too.

It happened when I took my first holiday abroad without my parents, a massive group of us jetted off to Bendiorm in Spain for two weeks of fun in the sun on a club 18-30 holiday.

Although my mum and dad were a bit wary, they knew some of the lads I had grown up with were going and knew they would look after me so they permitted me to go.

The lads really did look after us girls and we always started off in the hotel bar before all going off to the bars and clubs on the strip, we stayed together all night and the lads were in the same hotel so they always made sure we got back to our room safely.

One night we were in a bar dancing when my friends strap snapped on her sandle, it was pretty early on and we were only in a bar around the corner from the hotel at this point so me and her walked back to change her shoes.

We did not think it was necessary for the lads to come with us, afterall we were 2 streets from the hotel, we were together and would be less than 5 minutes.

We knew there would be loads of people around – it was 9pm in Benidorm in August – the place was packed with tourists.

We walked back to the hotel, went to our room and she changed her shoes then we began to walk back.

When we reached the corner where the streets met we were grabbed, pushed against a wall and pinned…. both of us, by two men.

At first I think we just froze with fear, unable to believe it was happening. 

I suppose you would never think that two of you would be attacked at the same time or that there would be more than one attacker, or that it would happen somewhere so busy; it was still daylight!

I guess the unofficial plan with girls (we never discuss it and we probably should) would be that if something happened one of you would run for help…. but when you are both pinned by two men you are powerless and we were both terrified and completely at a loss as to what to do.

Then the groping started, they were trying to kiss us and grabbing at our chests, we struggled but two 5 foot 3 girls who weigh 9 stone were never going to wriggle free from the grip of grown men. As one of them put his hand up my dress and grabbed at my knickers I realised that we were in serious trouble and I had seconds to act before… well I dread to think! 

For the first time in my life I threw a punch, hitting the bloke who was attacking me square in the face and harder than I ever thought I was capable of.

He stepped back startled and his mate turned to help him (to be honest I think the attackers were both in complete shock that I had even dared throw a punch and were quite clearly not expecting it because they were now the ones frozen in shock now).

Thankfully it worked to our advantage and as they were distracted I grabbed my friends hand and we ran for our lives towards the bar and to the safety of our friends. Once we were running they did not pursue us.

I think what we failed to realise at the time was that we had been sexually assauted and just how serious what had happened to us was! 

As young girls taking our first steps in the world I think we just thought that because we had not been (God forbid) raped, that the police did not need to know.

We genuinely just thought we had been lucky we did not get raped….

LUCKY that we only got sexually assaulted. Lucky it was not worse….

The truth is, afterwards when my mind processed the events of what had happened I felt a few different emotions but the biggest and strongest feeling was doubt and I found myself questoning everything….

Was that really a sexual assault? 

Does it count? 

Was it bad enough? 

Were those men just a bit over zealous and drunk?

In my opinion, there lies the problem. 

Every time a woman is attacked in that way, plays it down like we did and doubts herself as to “whether it counts” and every time we do not report it, every time we think ourselves “lucky” and think “it could have been worse” we become part of the problem by allowing it to continue!

Those two men probably grabbed more young holiday makers that night…. myself and my friend owed it to other women to report those men for everyones safety!

We owed it to ourselves to recognise that we had been vicitms of a crime.

I am really ashamed that we failed to respond to that situation and I know my friend (who is now a police officer) is too.

That is why I am writing his blog post – in the hope that another woman will read it and if she ever finds herself in that situation she will speak up where we failed to.

As women we should be free to go about our business without fear of being groped, touched and raped.

We should not self doubt that “it might have not been a sexual assault” when someones unwanted advances require us to physicaly punch them to get them off us!

We should not play down these assaults and attacks as over zealous and drunk behaviour and we should not feel ashamed when we are a victim.

We need change and if by saying #metoo and sharing my story helps oher women to speak up I will be really pleased because the more of us that do speak up and the more society realises how widespread this problem is.

Then the harder it will be for people to keep turning a blind eye and sooner or later something will have to be done to address it and for me, I think that has to be done through education.