The defence argued that the young girl who was assaulted had to take on some responsibility for the attack as she chose to sit in the front seat! The fact that I have to even make reference to where the young girl was seated at the time of the attack is an insult to the mind of any intellectual reader. A recent study by Plan International revealed that 30% of young girls believed that they needed to adjust ‘their’ behaviour in order to remain safe and avoid assault. I have always thought that sitting in the front seat of a taxi was a fairly innocent act but if this is perceived as the precursor to assault then why have a front seat at all. Let’s just pull them all out and spare the victims this ludicrous insinuation. If we seriously think that this is going to impact the motivation of the perpetrator then we are totally deluded!
We head into very murky waters when we start making suggestions that the victim is, in any way, responsible for the attack upon them. Data tells us that girls think that sexual harassment towards women rests with them and not the perpetrators. As the recent study reveals, this has led a large percentage of girls feeling that it is not safe to go out, especially at night, and that if they do they need to be extremely mindful of what they wear. What planet are we living on and what era are we in?
Just the other day I was walking through the city at 11 am on the way to an event. I was dressed up as it was a lavish affair. I spotted a construction site ahead and, before I realised what I was doing, I baulked and contemplated crossing the road. I promptly berated myself for my gutlessness and held my head up and soldiered on. Needless to say there was the rumble of whispers, nudges and unwanted attention given. I am a strong, independent, professional, 42-year-old woman and this intimidation had my heart racing. I realised that I had dealt with this all my life and I was enraged. When is this going to stop!!!
Back to the case in question; what struck me most offensively was the reference to the perpetrators justified attack as a consequence of him suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Fascinating! Given that his victim has now endured a double assault, firstly at the hands of her perpetrator, followed, not promptly, by an incomprehensible legal outcome one can only assume that she is now a victim of PSTD. I was diagnosed with PTSD some time back so I’m assuming that her and I now have free licence to rob a bank, beat or assault someone or do anything we please with the full protection of the law! Surely, any sane person can see the absolute madness in this.
Then there’s the incomprehensible issue regarding the prolonged period of time in relation to sentencing. Why do I raise this? In the 18 months it has taken to hold this man accountable he has gone about proving himself a worthy, admirable citizen in society in an attempt to decrease his sentence. Laugh you may, but it worked!. The magistrate in sentencing him made reference to his “exceptional” achievements since the time of the attack! And the victim during this time?? What means did she have available to her to influence the outcome.
With such ludicrous decisions being handed down from the highest echelons, what hope do our young girls have of developing a sense of safety in the world around them? Young people’s minds are like the pool at the bottom of a waterfall and we, as adults, are responsible for the content that we allow to trickle down from the top. At the present moment it seems that the pool is polluted with an archaic sensibility, on par with that of the 50’s! I’m often asked if I think we are moving forward in the field. I do hope that one day I will be able to answer “Yes”, with honesty and heartfelt congruency for all that I see around me.