I’m getting tired of hearing about the scandalous behaviour of lords, priests, politicians, and those in the entertainment industry. What I cannot understand is why on earth most people left it for years before making complaints.
Or are they simply jumping on the bandwagon?
Or are they simply jumping on the bandwagon?
We live in a different culture now. In my day, and I go back a long way, it was the norm for men to grope women or attempt to grab a fondle or two. It was bad but the women didn’t run screaming blue murder. No, they hit back, usually where it hurt most. Most of us fought our own battles, or laughed it off.
However, current headlines have produced a few funny memories.
1. Man on bus
2. Man in cinema
3. Man at work
4. Man on paper round – didn’t laugh that one off
In those days some men were very ‘into exposure’ ... and I can relate the tale about a guy who was quite funny.
1 It was my first job and I travelled there on the bus, one of those vehicles that had long seats facing each other near the boarding end. After that all seats faced the front. Three of us, all around the same young age, did the journey together and we always sat on the long seats so that we could enjoy some girlish chatter. One morning a man boarded the bus and sat opposite, facing us. He was dressed in a dirty raincoat; I’m sure you've all heard about men in dirty raincoats!! He stared at us, occasionally smiled (lecherously), and eventually opened his raincoat. The guy actually exposed himself on the bus. What a sight! Oh how we giggled. He tried again on other days but in the end I guess he couldn’t stand the sound of us laughing. For all we knew he might have been arrested.
2 A friend and I visited the cinema. It was mid-afternoon and dark as hell in there. I was engrossed in the film when the person next to me went out. Almost immediately my friend pushed past me to take the empty seat. Then the guy she’d been next to moved into the vacated place next to me. Me being a dumb-head I didn’t even wonder why there’d been a great switching of seats until my new neighbour dropped something on the floor. Naturally, as you do, I looked down to see what it was. As he bent forward our heads collided and then he straightened and my eyes were immediately drawn to his lap rather than the floor. I nudged my pal and whispered, ‘he’s got his thing out’, to which she replied, ‘kick him, I did.’ Heehee you can appreciate that I am now reliving that long forgotten incident.
3 Then there was a bloke at work who loved to say inappropriate things about the girls’ figures, usually their breasts, and especially if they were well endowed. I was, so I took the brunt of it. Most of the time we ignored him but one day, when I was feeling particularly tetchy, I retaliated. We were in the canteen, waiting in queues to be served. The pest was in a queue immediately adjacent to mine and he shouted across, ‘Mornin’ Val, how are they today,’ to which I replied, in equal volume, ‘Fine, Norman, how are yours?’ His mates thought it was hilarious and, you know what, Norm never bothered us again.
Yes I know I’m being flippant about things that shouldn’t have happened, but that’s how we were brought up: to fight our battles without making a fuss and reporting only the more serious issues.
4 The man on the paper round was more worrying. It was late afternoon in winter and I was just finishing my round on a dark lonely road, near the local vicarage, when I was attacked. Or rather, a young man tried to attack. He penned me against the wall with his bicycle but what he didn’t realise was that the bicycle saved me from whatever he had in mind. I screamed, threw the remaining newspapers on the ground, punched him in the face, and fled to the nearest house. Of course, he was never found, even though the occupant of the house searched the vicinity. Nowadays people would ring the police, but there were no phones to hand in those days. I never told my mother about it.
It’s different with children. What happened to them is disgraceful ... and sick. Many would have lived in fear of sexual predators. They wouldn’t know what to do and in some cases wouldn't even know it was wrong. But a lot of the complaints we're hearing about now are about incidents happening to older people. Like the woman who accused Lord whatshisname of inappropriate behaviour, saying that it could have/or did ruin her career chances. A kick in an appropriate place would have cured him for all time.
That’s my opinion and I know many would disagree. I imagine those who do would be younger and brought up in a different age. I’m not saying that things were right then, just that we coped with it in a different way. Now that we live in a sue-for-compensation society it’s every man and woman for him/herself and I fear it's getting out of hand.