Lots of new visitors around the blog this week, so if you are lurking do say hello and tell us what’s on your mind.
A few things have caught my attention of late which could have had a post to themselves had I had time.
I really liked Dan Bell’s piece about men’s violence against men in the Telegraph today. Probably not surprising, as it leans quite heavily on the piece of mine that appears in the new Inside Man book, which you can, and indeed must, buy from here. Dan and a couple of other contributors were on BBC 5Live on Monday and the discussion was really unusually good. Listen again here – if you are short of time, the last half hour is the best bit.
Laura Bates’s Everyday Sexism column today pointed me towards the consent materials being delivered at the University of Bristol by an outfit called Pause, Play, Stop. I had a bit of a shufty around their website and found to my delight and astonishment that all of their information, including a ‘test’ of your knowledge of consent, was entirely non-specific. Their ‘facts’ video included prevalences of men who have been subjected to unwanted sexual contact. In short, it was pretty much an object lesson in everything I and others have been calling for over the years.
Talking of consent, there’s a court case in New Jersey that seems to have been rumbling on years, and it blows my mind. A professor is accused of sexually abusing a young man with severe learning and communication difficulties. Her defence is that she used ‘facilitated commuications’ to talk to him, through which he communicated his consent to sex. The problem is, facilitated communication has been debunked for at least 40 years. It appears to operate through ideomotor responses, used by illusionists and charlatan mediums. It is really distressing to read that someone could even kid themselves that this is a credible defence, hideous to think that she probably actually convinced herself that she had consent.
And still in the realm of strange sexual offences, the case of Gayle Newland has had everyone talking and most of them seem to have been asking me what I think, The truth is I’m really not sure. I was less impressed by the tone of Harriet Wistrich’s piece in the Guardian, which compared and contrasted to the lack of criminal charges against the undercover cops who maintained fraudulent longterm relationships. For what it is worth, I think both should be considered criminal offences, but not sure what. I really liked the thoughtful piece here which covers all these issues and concludes that perhaps we need a new criminal offence of obtaining sex by deception. I think I agree.
And finally, after all that heavy stuff, why not relax by shagging a banana? Or at least reading this piece which kind of reminds us that why the world does need Vice. And at least there is absolutely no danger of a banana becoming conscious and withdrawing consent.
Your thoughts about any of the above, and anything else on your mind, are welcome below.
Open thread, so usual rules apply. There is no off topic, moderation will be light touch, just try not to turn things into the end of Kill Bill pt 1.