Saturday, 10 May 2014
Are men and women equal in the eyes of the law when it comes to sexual assault?
Is violence against women the same as violence against men?
This is a story from the past, but relevant to today concerning our attitudes of how we justify to ourselves right from wrong based on assumptions about gender.
When I was in my early 20's, I took to wearing my Kilt out and about, just on the odd time or two. On one occasion, I had stopped to tie my shoe lace or something, I cant quite recall what.
At the same time, a group of giggly girls and women passed by, I think they may have been on a Hen Night. Anyhow, two of the group approached me and tried to lift my kilt and feel me underneath.
I was, for want of a better phrase, quite shocked and had to push one of the girls off me. I also had to be quite forceful in telling the girls to "fuck off".
It was not a "bit of a laugh", at least for me.
I was wearing my Kilt. I naturally had decided to draw attention to myself. I therefore invited this kind of act...or had I?
Now consider this, had my gender been female, had I been wearing a nice outfit and looked good for a night out, would it have been acceptable for a group of men to come over and attempt to feel me up?
I hope all would agree that the answer is No!
So, why then, was it acceptable for a group of girls to do this to me?
Is gender relevant?
Time has moved on.
Unfortunately, our attitudes to sexual violence against both women and men have not.
The law has also changed. The Criminal Law, recognises that assaults of this type are gender neutral.
The moral of the story is...
So the next time you see a man in a kilt, or a woman wearing nice clothes, it is not an invitation to go and feel them up, to Wolf whistle or try to sexualise them in some other way.
Most importantly, if they decide to complain to a passing Police Constable, expect to get arrested.
Above all else, they didn't deserve it, because like everyone else that night, they had chosen to wear some nice clothes.
If you have been a victim of abuse and are seeking support, please use the links below to access help, advice and support.
The sites below are largely Scottish. However, if you would like to suggest other links, please get in touch.
If you are in immediate danger dial 999 for the police.
Victim Support Scotland
Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline
Scottish Women's Aid
Abused Men in Scotland
Broken Rainbow - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Abuse Charity