A woman in Greece has been in court charged with setting fire to the genitals of a male British tourist who, she claims, had repeatedly sexually harrassed her - groping her bottom and breasts and exposing his genitals to her. Whatever the facts in this particular case it has to be said I find it very very easy to believe that male British tourists cause all sorts of unnecessary grief to local women in the countries they visit. It's sexism combined with racism and xenophobia, the patronising attitude that foreign women won't mind or won't make a fuss if you behave inappropriately to them.
When I have been out flyering for my comedy shows in Leicester Square (which for me was a quick way of boosting audience numbers if we were a bit low, but from the outside to the kind of idiot who assumes no woman could be a comedian, looks like a minimum wage dodgy cash-in-hand job likely to be filled by someone from overseas who doesn't speak much English) I would get a lot of harrassment. And a fair bit, though not all, of it would stop when the perpetrators realised I spoke English, and with a relatively middle class accent.
It's gross. It ties in nicely with the news that the Mayor of Riga is unhappy at the behaviour of British stag parties visiting his country.
Now three things:
1) If British stag parties insist on bringing what is essentially an out-of-control British tradition to countries where it is not welcome maybe these countries should return the favour and set up the Pamplona Bull Run at Old Trafford one Saturday!
2) Stag parties and the sort of stuff that is being described in the Greek case are really a sort of watered-down (in some cases not much watered-down) sexual tourism. If we keep allowing lap-dancing and table-dancing bars to proliferate in the UK and the problems of the underground but widely-tolerated prostitution industry are ignored it is only a matter of time before wealthy tourists from elsewhere will be piling to the UK to get their fix of sexism. And when we don't do anything about rape and sexual assault in the UK, the perpetrators are (a) still on the streets and (b) going to assume they can get away with it wherever they go.
3) Remember all the women-don't-drink-or-it's-your-own-fault-if-you're-raped adverts? And the ones where we were told if we let our friends get in an illegal minicab they'd defintely get raped and it would be our fault. In fact even two weeks ago ministers were warning that women going on holiday to Greece should drink less or ... you guessed it - they'd get raped. So where in the light of this new case are the Home Office paid-for posters warning men that if they get drunk abroad they should expect to have their genitals torched? Instead the guys parents - who were not there at the time - are quoted as saying the twenty-year old who was celebrating the last night of a two week five-lad holiday definitely didn't harrass anyone. Did anyone really expect his parents to say "He probably did it, he can be a right tit"?