Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sun, Sea and Sex Crimes

Well I was away over the weekend doing a couple of gigs in Tenerife (yeah I know, tough life, but ex-pats deserve to be entertained too!). The highlight for me was the opportunity to bag a boat-trip from Puerta Colon and go out and watch pilot whales basking in the sun just a few metres away from me. The lowlight was at the show on Sunday night...

The compere's onstage, doing well, asks a guy at the front what he does for a living. He says "rapist". Now honestly I'm not that phased by this. People get nervous when a comedian speaks to them from the stage and it's not uncommon for them to wrongly think that saying something outrageous or unbelievable might be the best way to avoid embarrassment. [Hint: in general it's not - you're much better off to just tell the truth. Or if you really don't want to get picked on - say you work for a children's hospital charity, most comics don't want to make jokes about terminally ill children.] Anyway I figure he is trying (and failing) to impress his mates although I notice when the compere repeats it, he does a "power salute" to another guy in the room who returns it - I assume this is his "mate" who thinks his answer is "hilarious". The compere makes a joke along the lines of - that's not a job, you can't do that for a living... The show continues and I'm the first act on.

I tell this guy it is really weird that he seemed "proud" about the rapist remark. I say most guys would want to play that down. I say in fact even most rapists wouldn't really want to draw attention to it. And I make a joke suggesting the women at his table might want to move elsewhere. Then I figure he's been made an example of enough for saying something stupid and inappropriate in a bit of a panic. I get on with my set. Later he reveals he's Scottish and I refer to him as the McRapist. I finish my set, get a beer and go to sit at the back of the show and watch the next act. During the second act the guy comes up to me at the back of the room and grabs my hand to shake it. I'm expecting him to apologise or (people do this a lot) say "Ah, you got me, you did well" (to which "no, I got you, and it was incredibly easy, if I'd done well you'd be crying..."). Instead while still holding my hand firmly he looks me right in the eye and says "It's all true - I was convicted and all".

He is definitely not joking.

And he walks off.

And I can't really scream because it's the middle of the show and another act is performing and that would be incredibly unprofessional of me (though in retrospect I think unprofessionalism might have been more than justified at that point).

I find myself sitting there looking at my hand where he's just been touching me. I go in the kitchen and wash it several times. Eeeeew.

Now I understand the policy of once people have been convicted and (one hopes) served their time, needing to rehabilitate them into society. And given how low the conviction rate for rape is there's no doubt I've shaken hands with unconvicted rapists many times. But what the hell is going on when this guy is overtly publicly proud of having committed rape? Ick ick ick.


Donna said...

It's also really bad that he felt he had to make sure you knew it was true. That's really awful.


What's going on with a man who publicly and proudly declares he is a rapist? Well for once a man is being honest which in itself is rare, but equally important is the fact he is proud of having committed sexual violence against women. Why else would he publicly declare his proclivity? Then too he is not in his own environment but is in another country and the likelihood of his neighbours, work colleagues etc. learning what he said is zero.

Male postering is the answer and a deliberate attempt to prove to other males 'look I am a real man I put women in their place but unfortunately I was prosecuted and convicted.'

This was an ideal opportunity for male bystanders to call out this man for his condonment of male sexual violence against women but yet again no men did challenge him on his misogyny.

As regards how you felt - well it can hardly be termed a pleasant experience but then if women dare to express their anger at this man's blatant postering we will all be labelled as 'wallowing in victimhood.'

Remember challenging men on their behaviour is passe because women have supposedly achieved full human status and so the issue of male sexual violence against women is no longer relevant. I wish!!

Shahana Shafiuddin said...

Did you take the picture? I think its great. I believe world is full of beautiful things, instead of rapist.