I have some admiration for Jeremy Corbyn, not least because he’s giving Labour’s ToryLite leadership runners the heebie-jeebies. He really is spooking the herd. However, sometimes he comes up with some harebrained ideas.
This one broke cover today. He wants to reintroduce women-only carriages on trains at night. Yes, you read that. He wants a return to the days of the Victorians. The reasoning, if you can call it that, is there a growing problem of sexual harrassment on public transport; no comparative figures are given, so it’s hard to judge. To combat this , women should be bundled into safe zones. Two problems, as I can see things.
The first is the obvious one. It’s making the victims responsible for what happens to them. Instead of making sure men realise that being a frotteur is wrong, it’s the woman’s fault that you’re a creepy pervert.
The second is a corollary. A woman in an ordinary carriage becomes fair game. She gets in there, she only has herself to blame for what happens. She was asking for it. That’s just wrong, don’t you think?
There’s also the recommendation that there should be dedicated 24 hour hotlines for women to report sexual harrassment and assault. Local councils should set up a special ‘cabinet post’ to handle the problem of women’s safety. The police are already stretched to the point where they won’t always even attend a burglary, let alone a woman who’s been frotted. Councils are so strapped for cash they’re shutting libraries, but somehow will have to find the resources for some specialist support.
This is a non-runner of an idea, because it’s so blatantly sexist. How about a 24 hour hotline for men who’ve been assaulted? Round here , the cops don’t even bat an eyelid if you’re a bloke and get glassed on a Friday night.
The aim is admirable, but the approach is all arse about face. The women aren’t the problem; the men are. Let’s look at that first. This is called getting your priorities right.