So, Geoffrey Boycott is to be awarded a Knighthood. I would love to be writing now about how I don’t understand how playing a (slow) sport qualifies a person for a Knighthood, but instead I ask a more difficult question:
Why has a person with a conviction for beating a woman been given such an accolade?
We see lots of headlines about how false allegations against men by women ruin lives. Is this true? It seems to me that we see a lot of examples where a man ruins a woman’s life by committing a crime against her – be it violent, sexually or emotionally abusive and they are allowed to carry on as if nothing much has happened.
Because, the Boycott situation is far from an isolated example.
This weekend film director Roman Polanski won the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. In 1977, Polanski was charged with five offenses against a 13-year-old girl including rape by use of drugs and sodomy. Polanski pleaded not guilty to all charges, but later accepted a plea bargain of a guilty plea to the lesser charge of engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse (with a 13 year old). He served no jail time, after absconding abroad before sentence. He has also since won an Oscar.
Then there is singer Chris Brown who, in 2009, received Probation after seriously assaulting his girlfriend at the time, singer Rihanna. Since then he has performed at The Grammy Awards and been nominated for numerous other awards.
Fellow Knight of the Realm Sean Connery once said “I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong with hitting a woman – although I don’t recommend doing it in the same way that you’d hit a man. An openhanded slap is justified – if all other alternatives fail.” His first wife alleges he physically abused her.
And let us not forget Tory MP Andrew Griffiths and Mark Field. Griffiths, who bombarded a constituent with explicit messages including some calling himself ‘daddy’ and who, according to The Guardian, was the subject of complaints of inappropriate touching and bullying by several colleagues briefly lost the Tory Whip, but had it reinstated to allow him to vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
Mark Field manhandled a Green Peace protestor, including grabbing her by the neck. He remained in the party after Boris Johnson decided no investigation was needed.
Since being released from a sentence for rape Mike Tyson has had a show on broadway, appeared in a film and become the face of an advertising campaign.
Of course, no list of this nature is complete without a mention of US President Donald Trump, who was elected after footage of him of him saying “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” Despite this, and the numerous sexual allegations against him, he was elected President.
So, when we hear that society take a dim view of violence against women and girls, forgive me if I continue to believe that’s not true.