Thursday, 12 October 2017
Assault On a Warrior Queen On The Central Line
Casual molestation of young women has been so embedded in the expectation of men with a modicum of power and influence that it hardly deserves comment. Harvey Weinstein could currently be described as unlucky rather than unusual. I very nearly feel a smidgen of compassion for him, after all it’s not as if he deviates that much from what was certainly the norm a few decades ago. Furthermore I am finding it challenging to believe those of the breathlessly shocked bystanders in the film industry, wide-mouthed and wide-eyed who now claim not to have suspected for a moment his ongoing unseemly conduct! Where have they been since they reached the age of consent?
It’s always possible that Australasia has generally speaking been been free from the predatory males under discussion in which case local readers might consider me slightly deranged. However, women of my age hailing from the UK, like our Californian Sisters will be all too familiar with the syndrome. Commuters on rush hour trains will undoubtedly recall the horrors of travel in and around London where daily investigation of the female anatomy was rampant enough to be termed de rigueur. For instance on the 8.10 from Gravesend to Charing Cross several young men in city suits seemingly intent upon reading The Times had all but perfected the unpleasant art of frottage and had regularly exposed me to it before my seventeenth birthday.
Before totally modern women completely condemn we wimpish females of the nineteen fifties and sixties, I must explain that most of us did not actually welcome the attention. In fact the more courageous among us gave our assailants frosty stares from time to time and over cups of tea on station concourses we even furtively discussed the incidents among ourselves in low voices and with cautious glances left and right. We sometimes wondered if we were Asking For It.
Later, when objection to sexual harassment had become more acceptable and was even brazenly and openly debated on daytime TV shows, we learned that it had little to do with the mini-skirts we were wearing and more to do with the unbridled sense of entitlement inherent in the males themselves. Some of us vowed we would Do Something About It. Having been the recipient of unwanted sexual attention of one kind or another from the age of twelve you can possibly understand that I was a little more cautious than my traveling companions and I thought I would wait to see how the tactic panned out. By the time I was thirty, however, and becoming involved once more in regular London commuter travel I was Ready For Action. The next unfortunate male who perpetrated an assault upon me would be confronted with a Modern Day Emmeline Pankhurst.
He was a fortyish, a well-dressed fellow in polished shoes and a jaunty yellow tie. He sat down beside me on the Central line train even though it was a half empty carriage and whilst we traveled from Holland Park to Lancaster Gate he blatantly tried to investigate what might lie beneath my knee length blue serge skirt. But on this occasion I was Prepared. Was I not descended from strong Kentish Iceni Women? like Boudicca unleashing her fury upon the Roman Invaders, I turned on him in the humming silence of the Queensway Station thirty second stop boldly, spear in hand. Visualising my long red hair flowing about my queenly shoulders I took a deep breath and demanded in ringing tones if he would Mind Not Making a Complete Nuisance of Himself.
He half rose from his seat unhurriedly, a knowing smile on his face and replied in the equally loud and clear timbre of one definitely born within the sound of Bow Bells with: I’m sorry luv but I fort you was Easy – you looked Easy! Then he walked away.