When I was young, I learned the fable of the boy who shouted ‘wolf’ once too often, and sadly, as you will remember, that was the time there was a real big bad wolf who ran amok in the village. I was put in mind of this fable when I read the recent report of a woman who was blind drunk when she attacked an innocent bystander on a night out on the town. She remembered nothing of the unprovoked attack until she was being charged at the police station. In sentencing her, the district judge in Worcester commented: “I find it incredible that young people can get so drunk that they don”t even know who they’re with.” Addressing the woman direct, he continued: “I am sure you are now aware of just how vulnerable you made yourself.” A charitable comment in the circumstances, given that she had behaved disgracefully.
It must have been a quiet day in the newsroom of the Worcester Clarion, as the case was reported along with the judge’s remarks. These were picked up by the national press and found their way to me. In normal circumstances, the case would not merit my attention, had it not been for the fact that Sarah Green, the acting director of the lobbying group End Violence against Women Coalition felt constrained to comment in terms which we are all too familiar with, it’s called the “raddled harridan” rant. In passing, I ask myself what is an ‘acting’ director? Is this somebody who hasn’t made the grade but behaves as if she has?
Her reaction was not to deplore the woman’s inexcusable behaviour and to pass on her apologies to the victim, it was to attack the judge, male as it happens, so no prizes there, without any justification. She wittered on about the judge perpetuating the idea that young women drinking alcohol put themselves at risk of attack, which is not what he said or meant, although it’s true, and in this particular case, the only person this drunk woman put at risk of attack was the woman she attacked. But as if that were not enough, Ms. Green wittered on about the judge’s remarks implying that sexual violence is in some way inevitable and it is the woman’s responsibility to avoid it. And finally, before ending her rant, she complained about getting beyond this focus on women’s behaviour regarding rape and shift it to the men who choose to commit these crimes.
What on earth is she on about? The poor unfortunate judge said nothing that could tread on Feminist toes, indeed everything he said made eminent common sense, but any comments about women and self-intoxication are like a red rag to a bull, and Ms. Green cannot resist trotting out the well worn mantra.
You may remember that I was roundly criticised by Ms. Green and her fellow Feministas when I made the observation that girls who dress provocatively on a night out and get horribly drunk should bear some responsibility for their behaviour, and despite Ms. Green’s strictures, I remain firmly of that opinion. I doubt if Ms. Green will change her opinion, and she will continue with her predictable rants. But like the boy who cried wolf, Ms. Green should be careful not to discredit her opinion by blinkered one track rants which, eventually, will become meaningless if she sees this problem in black and white. To coin a phrase, if you can’t say nothing worth listening to, best to say nothing at all.