You’ve all heard by now, haven’t you, about the barrister who called for the age of consent to be lowered to 13 so that poor old men would not be persecuted for having sex with young girls. (My god, it sounds like a sick joke.) In other words: legalising sex with a girl who is so young that she is unlikely to understand consent never mind indicate it is preferable to upsetting a few rich, old, white, privileged men who clearly don’t care about consent one way or the other in the first place. I read a lot of current affairs, and matters relating to women’s rights, every day as you know and this has got to be the most messed up thing I’ve seen for a while.
Laurie Penny comments:
There’s nothing more embarrassing than watching bigotry flopping around trying to save itself while the tide of history retreats down the beach. Yet another week has passed in which high-profile politicians and entertainers are all over the papers being fingered for rape and sexual violence.
One of the victims of Stuart Hall, who had a long record of assaulting teenage girls, told ITN how Hall attacked her at the hotel where she worked: “He grabbed hold of me and he started kissing me and then he tried to force himself on me. I struggled, I tried to push him away, and it was only the fact that there was someone walking along the corridor . . . that he stopped and I managed to get away.” Some people are asking, with an air of annoyance, as if they were tired of all the fuss: how many more revelations will there be?
The question is chillingly rhetorical. We know, really, that the answer is many, many more. This isn’t just about ten, or forty or a hundred dodgy individuals. We have moved beyond the point where we can decently speak about outliers when it comes to systemic tolerance of sexual violence. It’s not just about Jimmy Savile, or Stuart Hall, or the BBC, or the Socialist Workers’ Party, or two American high-schoolers crying in court, or three young women chained in a basement in Ohio, or one dead girl in a hospital in Delhi. Over the past year, an enormous, global cultural shift has begun to take place around issues of consent, rape and violence against women, and it’s a cultural shift for which our institutions are clearly vastly underprepared. [Rest.]