Today I find myself blogging about something which can divide opinion – it’s not an issue I struggle with myself. Gay marriage is one step closer. Thank goodness.
I must admit that when it reached the House of Lords, I didn’t imagine that the vote would pass with such a majority. The fact that it did suggests to me that the time is right – now is the time.
There are some of you who will read this post who will feel very conflicted about gay marriage – and the definition of marriage being a union between a man and a woman.
I don’t find any conflict at all.
There will be people who will think that I cannot believe in God and support gay marriage. Well, I’m afraid and I do and I do. You can argue this biblical thing or that biblical thing but I will still stand my ground. I won’t shout my corner, I will just believe in it because I feel it’s right in my heart.
Why? Well, there are several reasons. I’ve always worked in an industry where many people are gay or bi-sexual. I’ve learned through years of having friends and colleagues who are this or that way inclined that being happy and true to yourself is so important.
Too many people in the past have hidden their true sexuality and done the ‘right’ things like get married and have children only to cause pain later on. I know at least one person personally who’s done that. What good does that do in the end?
Tell me, which one is gay? Does it matter?
I have friends who have been in same sex partnerships for many, many years and their relationships are fantastic. So what right do I have to say they are not entitled to be married? If that’s what they want. I’m married and I cherish the relationship.
It’s crazy to me that, only a few years ago, you could have been with your same sex partner for 20 or 30 years and, if your partner died, you could be left with nothing. Where’s the justice in that?
At the weekend I watched Lincoln and the story of the political jiggery-pokery which apparently went on when he was trying to get the 13th amendment passed which made slavery illegal. The same religious arguments were put forward then as to why slavery should stay in place. Beliefs which seem utterly disgusting now. Men who really thought that the colour of skin dictated a level of superiority and that this was dictated by God – clearly.
I wonder if our children will look back and think the same of this debate now….
You all know the case in America to which I am referring.
A hotel maid claims that she is sexually assaulted by a high ranking person in the world of international finance.
He denies forcing himself on her, she claims a crime was committed against her. Her word against his. His word against hers – just who to believe?
The case has been dropped by the prosecution based upon the victim’s credibility – she changed her story about her movements after the alleged assault. She lied on an asylum form. The case is likely to be dropped. Probably unable to prove a crime happened, beyond any reasonable doubt.
Clearly we don’t know the details, but are these two things so great that this woman’s account doesn’t deserve to be examined in court?
What about this man’s past would make him completely reliable or otherwise?
Hardly a case which encourages women, or men, to come forward with claims of rape or sexual assault.
Doesn’t it feel like the victim’s past has been rifled through to see what can be found to discredit her and we don’t know exactly what those things are!
Is this a woman who has dollar signs in her eyes? Did she realise who this man was and think – this is my opportunity for a cash windfall? Possibly.
Our record of dealing with sexual assault and rapes in the courts is not great in the UK – a tiny percentage actually make it to the end of the road. Guilty or not guilty.
This is one case where you can see why a woman might think twice? Don’t you think?
Some stranger assaults me in the street and I have to hand over my medical records, reveal my sexual history, lay out my private life for all the world to see. Tell the world things I would rather forget or which happened years ago.
And if the case is deemed to be unsuitable, people can find out why ie. my dubious past – but the alleged defendant walks away with no stain on their character.
Rape and sexual assault should not be a question of what’s the chance of success? – evidence should be examined in an open and transparent fashion. The end result might be a conviction or not, the end result might be that a woman or victim is found to be lying.
- Reporting a rape or sexual assault can be a ‘pig’ of an ordeal….
Victims of assault often just want one thing – they want their day in court, they want the best chance of justice.
Watching the news tonight and I listened to the mum of 13-year-old boy justifying why her son went to the riots with a hammer strapped to his leg.
He wasn’t rioting, but he was there. The hammer was for his own protection. She was lamenting the injustice of it all.
Police worry about some children who are out of control
Would you let your son out with a hammer strapped to his leg? Would you even let him out with friends where he felt the need to carry a weapon?
I just don’t get that at all.
I don’t have the answers when it comes to preventing riots. More intelligent minds than mine will look for reasons for the unrest.
I do feel very uncomfortable when politicians talk about our society being broken, families being without responsibility, gang culture is rife and we have to stop it. All of these reasons may be true – but let’s see in time just who was rioting. It just feels too easy to blame those on low income, from poor backgrounds, social housing, living on benefits, no jobs.
Lots of people in our country have poor starts, bad parenting, terrible experiences – and they’ve used that positively for the greater good.
What I can say, as a mum, that my teenage children would not be out with a hammer strapped to his/her leg. At age 13, they would not be out roaming around with friends, especially if I knew that there was trouble.
While peer pressure is a powerful thing – it is not more powerful than having good parents. If I had to sit down with my child all day to prevent them doing wrong, then I would do it.
I’m no perfect mum but there are some basic things that I can control. I can control whether or not my child has a mobile phone, access to the internet, access to money.
These are all privileges which are removed in my home if rules are broken. These are punishments that older children really get – oh, the horror of having no access to a computer, or even worse, a mobile phone.
And I’m unmoved by protests – I grew up without any of those things and I survived!
Of course, I know as a journalist that’s it’s easy to pick those alleged rioters who are very young – when many more may have gone through the courts who are over 18, might be in work, or, in one case, received looted items but were not part of the actual riots.
Equally I know that police officers often show concern about the behaviour of certain children. It takes just a few individuals in a town who come from extremely troubled backgrounds to cause huge amounts of anti-social behaviour.
Here in Swindon, I’ve been told of so-called ‘feral’ children whose parents aren’t concerned about their whereabouts, their safety, their criminality. They often sleep rough, and move around the town. Their movements can often be tracked by the amount of low level crime that is being carried out.
If that’s true, and I’ve no reason to doubt it, how can you connect or engage with young people who have been abandoned so badly by their parents. Their boundaries are simply not the same as ours. What a sad,sad situation.
Have you ever looked into the eyes of a child with no hope? I have – and it will stop you in your tracks. There’s no answer to it, there are no platitudes that they will hear or respond to.
For parents of those children, they should be brought to book, they should face up to their dereliction. I’m not saying the children who commit crimes should not be punished – but they should also know that those who let them down, must also face justice.