What a week it’s been.A South African athlete got away with killing his model and activist girlfriend, in the UK a man killed his daughter to punish her mother and another one killed his whole family, 2 famous white British men pontificated about why women and girls are responsible for ensuring men don’t attack or harass them and a Thai minister nearly wrecked the tourism industry by declaring that it’s not safe for women to wear bikinis in Thailand (presumably because he thinks bikinis may cause previously blameless men to become rapists and murderers).
First it was Richard Dawkins at the weekend. “If you want to drive, don’t get drunk. If you want to be in a position to testify & jail a man, don’t get drunk” he tweeted.
Now, where to start?
oFirstly, drinking and driving is a criminal offence, while drinking on its own, isn’t. Raping on the other hand, is also a criminal offence whether or not you’ve been drinking. Or indeed, whether your victim has.
Then followed a series of tweets where other rape apologists agreed with him and some people challenged him.But basically, he implied that if a woman wants justice for rape, she’d better ensure she plans it properly, like she would if she’d decided not to drive that night because she wanted to drink. Remember laydeez, if you’re planning on being raped, don’t drink! Not sure if he extends the prohibition on drinking to everyone as we may all be the victim of or witness to a crime at any time, so we should probably give up drinking now as if a crime occurs, we may not be able to give an accurate account of it.
I suspect he would find that unreasonable. This is our culture’s offering of a towering intellect.
The next one was Alan Titchmarsh, gardener and nincompoop. I was slightly baffled as to what Laura Bates from Everyday Sexism was doing on a gardening show and then I discovered that it isn’t a gardening show, it’s one of those chat shows with a mix of everything, including Laura (who did a sterling job refuting the crap the white men were talking), Kathy Lette and the appallingly smug Nick Ferrari, whoever he is. I don’t know whether Alan thought that as it’s daytime TV no-one will be watching so it’s OK to cheerfully declare that children wearing “inappropriate” clothes might be said to be “asking for it” when builders cat-call them, but he obviously realised after he’d said it, that the show does actually have an audience and so he was careful to emphasise that he didn’t condone all this sexual harassment, he was just observing it. And Nick Ferrari, his bloated self-satisfied guest, pretended that workplace sexual harassment was just silly women making a fuss about nothing.Here’s the thing men: if you pretend that you’re an honest broker simply observing “life as it is” without condemning sexism, then women are entitled to assume you’re in favour of it. There has been an awful lot of rubbish talked recently in the media about how Britain’s Muslims should stand up and be counted, come out and tell Muslims who are beheading people in the middle east, #Notinmyname, distance themselves from such excesses being done in the name of their faith.
I call upon the likes of men like Dawkins, Ferrari, Titchmarsh and ALL men, to stand up and come out in favour of women’s humanity. Stop validating misogynists by pretending that women are exaggerating misogyny and the effects of it. Stop aiding and abetting rapists and predators by letting them know that you can be relied upon to demand that their victims are perfect, before you will allow them to be considered victims. Stop giving a nod and a wink to other men who do the dirty work of keeping women in our place (beneath you) while you pretend you don’t benefit from what they do because you’re too cowardly and dishonest to acknowledge it. Stand up and be counted.Oh of course I don't call upon men to acknowledge women's humanity and offer us some solidarity. I’m expecting to see a flock of flying pigs being herded by a crowd of flying swineherds bleating that NAMALT*, before I see men as a group holding their bros to account for their abuse of women.
*Not All Men Are Like That