Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Ignore the feminazis – sex harassment is already a crime


I HAD no idea. According to feminist campaigners, it’s perfectly legal to sexually harass women in public. That’s right, suggestively pressing oneself against a woman in a crowded train carriage and making lewd comments is currently permitted, if not encouraged. Why else would they feel the need to propose legislation that criminalises ‘public sexual harassment’?  

Such a law will protect hitherto unprotected women and girls from violence, apparently. Sarah Everard, they argue, whose murder inspired this proposed addition to the statute book, would still be alive today if ‘public sexual harassment’ had been a criminal offence at the time of her killer’s earlier arrest for indecent exposure.

This is hogwash. The fact that Wayne Couzens had previously been arrested for flashing indicates to all but the most vacuous lamebrain that it’s already illegal. And, indeed, it is. Outraging public decency is an offence which carries a maximum term of two years in prison. At the very least, his arrest should have led to community service, inclusion on the sex offender register and dismissal from the police force, an outcome which would have severely hampered his ability to trick Sarah into his police car before raping and strangling her. So why didn’t this happen?

Instead of demanding laws designed to grab headlines, time would be better spent answering this question.

We also need to look at the criminal justice system as a whole. Are offenders being adequately punished for their crimes? Is there a deterrent and, more importantly, are we, the public, being kept safe from incorrigible recidivists? Last September Colin Pitchfork was released from a life sentence for raping and murdering two 15-year-old girls. What an insult to the families! Two months later he was recalled to prison reportedly after approaching young women in the street. I would like to see the person responsible for his release publicly censured. It won’t happen, though, rest assured.

In Britain, for the crime of rape, you can get as little as four years in prison. Moreover, a ‘life’ sentence can be a derisory 15 years. As I said, rather than looking for headlines, try quietly campaigning against these outrageous injustices.

More worryingly, though, is my suspicion that proposals such as this aren’t entirely determined by benevolent concern for the plight of abused young women: it’s more sinister than that. It’s to persecute young men for the crime of being young men. That’s right, I strongly suspect that the misandrist feminists obsessed with the sinister tentacles of a largely mythical patriarchy are cynically using the guise of protecting the rights of women to attack the idea of masculinity itself. Why else would they propose the criminalisation of catcalling?

Okay, it’s never been my schtick, but men have been doing it for time immemorial and, dare I say it, lots of women feel flattered when wolf-whistled by an ogling, shirtless young hunk advertising his wares on a building site. Indeed, I wonder how many courtships have been kindled in this way. Thousands, I bet.

Well, not any more, not if the feminazis get their way. The playful flirtatiousness of a first encounter, the butterfly-inducing possibility that one’s initial advances might be reciprocated or rebuffed, all those things that spark meaningful romantic connections between the sexes, will become a thing of the past. In many ways they already are. Relations between men and women are now fraught with tension. Men are petrified of being accused of misogyny. It’s a minefield. And this – if enacted by a government naively receptive to pressure from Left-wing interest groups wailing and whining about some perceived injustice – will only make things worse.

As will their proposal to include ‘leering’ in their list of prohibited acts defined as ‘public sexual harassment’. How ambiguous can a term be? One person’s flirtatious gaze will be another’s leering. In the end, afraid of being criminalised, men will simply cease to make eye contact with the opposite sex and that aspect of flirting will die, along with wolf-whistling.

I strongly advise Boris to ignore this toxic bile. Contrary to the implied assertion of these feminazis, it’s not currently legal to sexually harass women in public. We don’t need a new law. We need to enforce the laws we have and strengthen the punishments available for breaking them. At best, their proposal is a cynical publicity stunt, an attempt to demonstrate their revulsion and determination to act following the cruel murder of Sarah Everard; at worst, it’s a thinly disguised attack on men, masculinity and the historic relationship between the sexes. Bin it, Boris!

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Wesley Smith
Wesley Smith
Wesley Smith is a teacher and writer from London.

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