So, yet again WE change our lives because of men injecting women in clubs
WHEN I was a teenager, my mum used to tell me not to talk to strangers.
I have been thinking this week about all the things we now have to teach our daughters to be wary of.
Don’t get into a car with a policeman, in case he is not really a policeman. Don’t let boys who have watched too much porn tell you it is normal to strangle women during sex.
Don’t accept drinks from strangers or leave your drink unattended in case someone spikes it. And now there’s a new one. Watch out in case someone injects you with a date-rape drug.
Stories of women’s drinks being spiked are, sadly, nothing new. But news this week that women report being injected in nightclubs to render them helpless and vulnerable is horrific.
One teenager claimed she was spiked by injection in a Nottingham club. Other women, in Liverpool, Edinburgh and Dundee, have reported being pierced with a needle in their leg, hand or back before waking up with no recollection of the night before. The fact these are all university towns, where young women are away from home probably for the first time, is surely no coincidence.
Stabbing someone with a syringe is already a crime. It’s wounding, or wounding with intent to cause GBH — which can carry a life sentence. But to stop it happening, we cannot view the crime only in isolation. We need to address the culture that allows men to think it is OK to do this. Part of the problem is presumably that they think they can get away with it.
But what is happening in a man’s life to make him think this is an acceptable way to behave? And what allows him to feel the need to drug a woman and take away her power by rendering her unconscious? Worse, what makes him find that a turn-on? Obvious culprits are the prevailing attitudes toward women, of misogyny and violence.
But it is hard not to conclude that the main culprit is porn, which routinely normalises violence against women. I no longer feel the need to warn my children, now in their twenties, about the dangers of porn. But when my daughter was younger my approach was to teach her that sex with someone you love is a wonderful experience, and that if a man asks a woman to do anything that feels uncomfortable then not do it.
I wanted her to know that if a man watches porn they are more likely to normalise some of the things which are uncomfortable and degrading to women.
The problem is, though, that when a man takes away someone’s agency with a date-rape drug, he does not need to worry about that little matter of consent.
People talk the talk about being up in arms over violence against women. That includes Boris Johnson, who says the full force of the law should be felt by anyone who commits violent acts against women. And yet convictions for rape are astonishingly low.
The justice system needs an overhaul. When women report cases, the police need to believe them and push the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute.
Rape gateway crimes, such as flashing, need to lead to a serious conviction. Online porn, which can be unspeakably violent and is ridiculously easy to access, needs to be regulated, monitored — and ideally banned. And when it comes to date-rape drugging, we need a zero-tolerance approach.
Sadly, there is no quick fix for violence against women and girls. For centuries, women have had their drinks spiked and been subjected to male violence. The trouble is, it is getting more and more common.
In the meantime, women are taking matters into their own hands. A petition calling for nightclubs to be legally required to search guests on arrival for weapons and date-rape drugs has now reached more than 75,000 signatures. Some women are wearing denim and leather to boiling hot nightclubs as armour.
And there is a move to boycott nightclubs for one day next week. Once again, women are now modifying their behaviour because men cannot seem to. After all, they have no choice — if they don’t protect themselves, who is going to do it?
Candid shot reveals Kate is Wills’ No1 fan
I LOVED the black and white photos of Kate Middleton and Prince William sharing some rare moments of public affection.
Royal photographer Chris Jackson shared some behind-the-scenes pictures from the Earthshot Prize awards last Sunday.
Looking intensely into each other’s eyes and smiling at one another, these stunning photos show a couple both comfortable with and proud of each other.
There is nothing contrived about them and Kate looks as though she is genuinely enjoying her husband’s moment in the spotlight.
ONE OF A KIND
WHAT an inspiring woman Doreen Lofthouse, who died in March aged 91, was.
Having left school at 15, she turned Fisherman’s Friend from a Lancashire firm into a global brand.
Doreen left £41million to charity and £300,000 to her loyal staff. Her son Duncan still runs the company, which reports £5million profit a year.
She’s a real inspiration in both her work and her generosity. A true entrepreneur. RIP.
JAB’S A BOOST FOR ALL
WHEREVER you stand on masks and vaccines, there is one thing we can all agree on and that is that none of us want another lockdown.
But given that British Medical Association chief Dr Chaand Nagpaul said last week that it is “wilfully negligent of the Government not to be taking any further action to reduce the spread of infection, such as mandatory mask-wearing, physical distancing and ventilation requirements in high-risk settings, particularly indoor crowded spaces”, I doubt I am alone in worrying there will be one.
By Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s admission, we could soon see 100,000 cases a day – and we now have the same weekly number of Covid deaths as during March, when the country was in lockdown.
Doctors are calling on ministers to bring in “Plan B” – reserved for when the NHS comes under immense pressure – which would see the return of face masks and advice to work from home.
I am sure we are all groaning at the thought of this. But a lockdown would be worse. So in the meantime, please, I implore you: Wear a mask in enclosed spaces and on public transport and wash your hands.
But most importantly, have your vaccine, and your booster when you are due one. And then maybe we won’t have to worry about losing our freedom.
TILLY’S BEATEN BULLY
I’VE been loving Tilly Ramsay on Strictly – genuine, confident and a breath of fresh air.
What I love even more is her response to radio host Steve Allen after he referred to her, on his show, as a “chubby little thing”.
Tilly wrote: “I try not to listen to negativity, however, being called out on national radio by a 67-year-old man is a step too far.
Steve, voice your opinions, however, I draw the line at commenting on my appearance. It’s a shame someone is trying to make such a positive experience negative.”
His dreadful remark was an attempt to make Tilly feel less confident. Comments like this should be as unacceptable as jokes about race.
If he said it about my daughter I would go ballistic, so I am not sure what Tilly’s fiery dad Gordon thinks.
Tilly is giving some-thing new her best shot and doing brilliantly.
It’s a shame this older man has put her down. That’s a bully – trying to lower people’s self-esteem. It takes a strong person to stand up to it, and Tilly has.
WHAT A LOT OF BLOCKS
PERHAPS Sherrilyn Speid should not have “gently nudged” climate activists with her Range Rover last week as they blocked her on her way to dropping her 11-year-old son at school.
But for one protester to accuse her of attempted murder is a bit far-fetched, isn’t it?
Sherrilyn was obstructed at Junction 31 of the M25 near Thurrock in Essex. She edged forward, probably very frustrated at not being able to get on her way.
I’m sure most parents can understand her frustration at being prevented from doing so. And nobody required any medical attention.
The claim of attempted murder is ridiculous.
I am all for peaceful protest, but sitting in the road stopping ordinary people going about their business is not the way to make a point.
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