I assume that many people have by now heard the story of Ione Wells, an Oxford student who was sexually assaulted in her home street in North London. She chose to waive her right of anonymity and wrote an open letter to her attacker. I’m not going to go into detail, but if you want to read more then details can be found here: http://www.cherwell.org/lifestyle/features/2015/04/24/not-guilty-a-letter-to-my-assaulter
What struck me was how brave this lady was in confronting what had happened to her and speaking out about it. She’s right, she has nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Her attacker is the one with the problem. Ione Wells should be applauded for taking a stand, she is indeed #notguilty.
It set me wondering, why does this sort of behaviour continue in “modern Britain” and in other countries throughout the world? We’re in the 21st Century, and yet some men still think it’s ok to assault women, to grab them, to beat them, to rape them. I’m not just talking about sexual assault, but also domestic violence. Think of Jimmy Saville and all the revelations that keep cropping up about him and his contemporaries – how could that be allowed to happen, and to continue to happen, for so long? We may not be able to influence people in other countries, but it seems to me that there’s a lot of work to be done here in the UK before we try to solve problems like this elsewhere.
Though hardly original, isn’t it time we concentrated first on teaching the children of today not to rape, assault or beat others, before teaching them how not to become victims? Our collective problem is that we don’t do enough about stopping perpetrators from doing wrong, and try to put some of the responsibility on the victims because “they asked for it” or whatever nonsense excuse is flavour of the month. No one ever “asks for it”, and isn’t it time that society stood up on the side of the victims rather than tolerate the perpetrators?