Attitudes that permit sexual abuse have not changed sufficiently it seems and I’m sorry Jessica Ennis has had to take the flack. She sees clearly where so many are lost in the grey. We should be thanking her for not wanting her name associated with this football club in the event they re-sign their rapist.
How many times does one hear the phrase, men are predatory by nature, as if that excuses everything. A predator, like a bully, uses weakness, especially when the pervading culture not only tolerates their behaviour but celebrates it.
In my youth, so long ago now, predatory males were the norm, part of life, as indeed, sex is. When I was a plump and innocent pubescent child hurrying down a crowded street towards the station on a darkening winter evening after school, a heavy briefcase in hand, green felt hat firmly on my head, slightly sweaty in my Harris tweed coat, a turbaned, moustachioed, wound beard, aged Sikh stopped me. I could not understand what he said. I thought he was asking me for money for his bus fare.
A businessman, smart suit, clean shaven passed close by. The look of disgust he gave me, a knowing accusation, made me listen harder.
‘Puss puss you very lovely. Five pound alright.’
I broke into a run, red faced, indignant, frightened but unharmed. I was the one who had transgressed. Safely home, recounting the details, the family fell about laughing and it was funny looking back. Even then, the ridiculousness of the businessman’s disapprobation should have concerned us more.
It is not and never is the child’s fault. How can it be? Imagine if I had turned to that businessman for help, asking as those young girls in care had to ask, only to be blamed, disbelieved. Is it ever a woman’s fault that she is raped? That attitude needs to change more than anything.