SURELY, it’s about time we all acknowledged that our actions CAN influence what happens to us and do something about it?
This week, there have been a couple of examples of how, by sticking our heads in the sand, upsetting things can happen to us.
The top female judge who warned young women about the dangers of drinking too much, urging them to be more careful, was howled down by various individuals and groups. Judge Lindsey Kushner was jailing a rapist – and actually signing off from a 43-year legal career – when she made the remarks.
“Girls are perfectly entitled to drink themselves into the ground but should be aware people who are potential defendants to rape gravitate towards girls who have been drinking,” she stated. “It should not be like that but it does happen and we see it time and time again.”
Now, I did not take this as meaning that women were to blame for rape or that it somehow excused men who raped them. But, having listened to a particularly articulate rape victim turned campaigner on BBC TV I can see how this could be misconstrued that way.
However, the Judge is right. It is a fact that predatory scumbags will see a girl the worse for wear from drink and spot a potential target. So, girls, take care when you’re out there – stick with friends, have a plan for getting home and take a taxi. It’s what parents say to their daughters and it’s what we all worry about.
The other, very different example took place at Swindon Academy in Wiltshire where the headteacher has introduced a policy of naming and shaming the worst pupils by displaying rankings at school assembly.
Whiteboards are held up and the performance of individual pupils discussed openly. Now, the mother of one 11 year-old who was one of the worst behaved pupils has objected.
Headteacher Ruth Robinson says the system works as a way of encouraging improvement and fostering support for individuals and that the majority of parents agree.
It is a basic truth that we should always be accountable for our own actions unless there is a medical reason why we can’t be. Many people of all ages today firmly believe that they are “entitled” to behave in a certain way and that is that.
But we’re not. There is a price, and it can be a terrible toll.