Cyprus Mail
CM Regular ColumnistOpinion

Flashers and ‘sporting’ cruelties

colette
THE WAY THINGS ARE

On March 7, just before International Women’s Day, the BBC’s Today programme interviewed three young women who had been flashed. That shock intrusion frighteningly elicited their common consensus that this has become ‘normalised behaviour’ and ‘there’s a sense of complacency’ around the issue as women are apparently accepting the fact that the degenerate behaviour of some men will mostly go unpunished. None had reported the violation to the police but had confided in people they trusted with the fear they had experienced. They felt the best reaction was to get away as fast as possible and, if alone, find other people with whom to mingle.

A policeman whose car had been recognised after flashing committed grossly debasing acts involving women, yet remained in his job, extending his brutal, misogynistic behaviour to the ultimate thrill for such criminals – the murder of Sarah Everard. This must be in the mind of women in the UK who are ‘flashed’. Allegations of unpunished violence by other UK policemen are presently being investigated.

A Cypriot police source said men exposing their genitals to women is rare. Or perhaps, it’s not always reported. Often when women do report sexual offences, it is they who are examined for fault, their behaviour or their appearance possibly giving a predator the notion he was getting the ‘come on’. I was a young teen walking on a quiet Dublin side street with a friend, when a man standing in a doorway as we approached, exposed his penis, and waved it at us yelling obscenities. Horrified, we ran.

It stayed with me for a time as one of those mysteries around men of which I had no knowledge living in an all-female household. The only penises I had seen were those of baby boys having their nappies changed. Probably, as the fact that sex was such a taboo subject in Catholic Ireland, I had no inkling that sexual assault, or rape might have been on his mind. Rape was an unknown concept for me.

Ignorance is not bliss. Non perverted sex, prophylactic protection and knowledge of sex-related crimes should be part of every youngster’s education. To be warned is to be forearmed, youth should know how to react in these circumstances, and where to find sympathetic, experienced help or valid advice on their rights in these cases.

Elsewhere, I was sickened to read of the feral felines shot by bolts (arrows). A friend remarked, ‘If they catch the b*****d, they should do the same to him!’ I know men that hunt who are decent, salt of the earth people willing to help out if need arose. They hunt they say because they like walking out with their dogs at dawn in a ‘wild place’ to feel nature. When you ask why not do that without guns, without hurting or killing wild creatures, they shrug.

Hard in these cases to think any of them would beat up, rape, or expose themselves to women. However, it is known that some who take sadistic or erotic pleasure from hurting or killing defenseless creatures as the person responsible for the bolts apparently does, do go on sadistically, to hurt or kill people.

A young hunter I knew who adored his dogs and was kind to people, shot himself in the leg when the trigger of the rifle he was loosely carrying by his side caught on something and the unexpected shot took away part of his leg. He had to spend time hospitalised. Did it make him understand the pain he had been inflicting on much smaller prey? Or is deep rooted predator instinct for some unchangeable?

I have tremendous respect for horses. I’ve heard jockeys speak of their love for their steeds yet will whip the arses off the poor creatures while racing to goad them into running faster. Long standing racing/jumping fests were altered only after too many horses and jockeys suffered. A horse racing official speaking on radio of the number of times a jockey is now allowed legally, to whip a horse didn’t call the object a whip, he called it a ‘persuader’. A rose by any other name…

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