They suffer for our benefit

Staying with the BBC and its obsession with Trump, we get this article:

Sexual harassment and even violence against female parliamentarians is widespread, a report from a global parliamentary grouping suggests.

Three sentences later we get this, under the subheading “Rape Threats”:

The report from the IPU comes at a time when US Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s comments about his opponent, Hillary Clinton, and his alleged sexual harassment of other women over the years, have been making headlines.

Cute, eh?  Let’s mention Donald Trump – who has not had any complaints of sexual misconduct levelled against him by any female politician – after “rape threats”.  How very clever!  Naturally, the BBC fails to mention Hillary’s husband and that trifling incident involving a White House intern.

It reveals some of the abuse female politicians around the world face while fulfilling their roles in elected positions.

A European member of parliament reported receiving more than 500 threats of rape on Twitter in the space of just four days.

Appalling.  But just for balance, how many rape threats did she get that weren’t via the medium of Twitter?

“In my part of the world… there is all sorts of language that is associated with female parliamentarians,” says Prof Nkandu Luo, currently minister of gender in Zambia.

She recalls a male member of parliament publicly recounting that he liked to go to parliament because “all the women are there and I can just point and choose which one I want”.

The remarks, Professor Luo said, were reported in the press as something amusing and acceptable. “It’s the way they demean women.”

Careful! All this talk of sexism and misogyny among parliamentarians in Africa might distract from the implication that Trump is a rapist!

This is particularly good:

Meanwhile Senator Salma Ataullahjan of Canada said she at first thought the survey would not be relevant to her. “I said, I’m from Canada, I don’t need to take part in this.”

But answering the survey questions was, she said, enlightening. “You know as parliamentarians, we go out, we meet people, and I remember this one gentlemen getting up very close to me.”

The ‘gentlemen’ went on to make suggestive comments to Sen Ataullahjan, which at the time she brushed off.

But recounting the incident for the survey brought it home that she had experienced inappropriate, even threatening, behaviour.

It took a survey to drop through her letterbox before she realised she’d been subject to threatening behaviour?  Wasn’t quite a knife at the throat then, was it?  This is up there with “Have you had an accident at work? Are you sure? Think back. Think hard.”

Now, she says, she has become much more open with her male colleagues.

“We have to change the mindset about what is acceptable language, and what is acceptable behaviour and what is not,” she says.

Here’s a tip: try dealing with inappropriate behaviour when it occurs, rather than bleating to the media after a survey jogs your memory.

Just 55 female MPs took part in the survey, but they represent parliaments from across the globe.

55 women took part? Is that all? Did they ask Sarah Palin?

Of the women who took part in the survey, 65.5% said they had been the target of insults using sexual language and imagery.

That would be 36 women, then.  Globally.  The conclusion:

The report concludes that the sheer pervasiveness of sexual discrimination, from humiliating language to harassment to real violence is preventing many elected women from carrying out their duties in freedom and safety.


“So if the elite are victims of sexual aggression, what about the underprivileged?”

Such as White House interns?


8 thoughts on “They suffer for our benefit

  1. “It took a survey to drop through her letterbox before she realised she’d been subject to threatening behaviour? Wasn’t quite a knife at the throat then, was it?”

    They probably had to provide her with a doll and get her to point at the spot the bad man was talking about.

    Anyway, I quickly googled this Canadian politician, Salma Ataullahjan and I can see why she initially thought that the survey wouldn’t be relevant to her. We need to find this man who made “suggestive comments” to her and put him out of his misery immediately.

  2. Adam- that made me laugh. Colleagues are asking why.

    I may have to fib my way out of this one…

  3. Now I googled Prof Nkandu Luo from Zambia. Minister of gender? More like minister of life size voodoo dolls. Yee Gods.

  4. My current understanding is that ‘sexual harassment’ now includes disagreeing with a person, giving a persons a funny look, and also suggesting a person might like to meet for coffee. Given that, I’m surprised they didn’t get a 100% response rate.

  5. @ David Moore,

    Indeed, and it’s why I admire feminists like Christina Hoff Sommers: she thinks this is as ridiculous as we do, and is finding herself needing police escorts when she gives lectures on intolerance at American universities.

  6. An article in the paper this morning reported some international organisation of busybodies complaining that Britain did badly on some measure of feminism.

    Female Head of State? Female Head of Government? Phooey!

  7. Female Head of State? Female Head of Government? Phooey!

    Ah yes, but the first rule of feminism is that a woman’s achievements count for nothing if she doesn’t share the political views of the feminist movement. Hence they hated Margaret Thatcher, and hurled sexist abuse at Sarah Palin and her family.

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