That’s what I’d be tempted to say to any bloke who abused his position and tried to harass me sexually: in my view it’s the only way to deal with this sort of thing. Incidents involving politicians have been crawling out of the woodwork lately, from Lord Thingy (I can’t be bothered remembering his name but you know who I mean) to Dark Hints being dropped about men on all sides of the house. WHY should the place supposedly in the forefront of our national life, be so backward? It should not be up to women to think about the best way to deal with this stuff: they ought not be having to deal with it at all. Other organisations have procedures in place and named individuals to go to if it happens. The Commons should be setting an example in all these things, not being some kind of sluggish, antediluvian back-water where change is resisted to the hilt!
But we all know that’s how it is. The only way, as an individual, to deal with sexual harassment is to stamp on it: tell the guy, quite bluntly and if necessary graphically, exactly what future you have in mind for his genital equipment if he can’t keep it in his pants. Just getting awkward or embarrassed is not going to do the trick – because, let’s face it, that’s exactly what he wants: I’d favour saying very loudly, ‘Could you take your hand off my thigh please?’ in front of a whole table of dinner-guests, or else bending his forefinger back, all the while giving him an angelic smile – that’s quite painful (the finger not the smile). The thing is, these inadequate and pathetic males are abusing a position of power, in which women want to get on, so by doing that you’d probably scupper your chances of getting a job. But do you really want to work in an organisation which tolerates this sort of thing? Because it’s not going to stop once you get the job. The guy will still be there – or, if not him, someone else higher up. You don’t need that in your life – be the stronger woman and tell them where to get off!
There’s a lot of this kind of crap goes on in our national life – making the victims responsible, I mean. Like the cry that goes up, first thing after recession has set in: ‘Let’s get people back to work!’ And since nobody can create jobs out of thin air, they end up harassing the unemployed – because pretending it’s Just Up To Them is about the only option they have left. Governments, when it comes down to it, have precious little power in a global economy – but the last thing they’re ever going to do is admit it.
Rant over. Now on with Thursday