The scandal surrounding the Presidents Club dinner where hostesses were allegedly openly groped and manhandled by the male guests made me feel sick for more than one reason.
For a start I couldn’t believe that in this day and age, when laws, morals and society’s attitudes are apparently all about equality and respect, that we have people openly behaving like this.
There’s been a lot of bluster and denials over the last week. A lot of “I never saw a thing, I’m shocked” from some of the men who were there.
I’m sure that not every male who was present in the room that night was behaving like a pervert. But enough of them were to make female hostesses feel like pieces of meat. Violated, angry and appalled.
Why did some men feel it was acceptable to behave in such a way that night? Is it pack mentality – when you’re with the lads and everyone’s doing it it’s just a laugh?
Or is it a reason far more depressing. That women still are not being viewed as equals. As human beings who demand respect and deserve more than an unwelcome fumble when they’re attempting to do their job.
The thought leaves me feeling deflated, and a little nauseous on behalf of the women who probably felt absolutely sickened as they were forced to keep up the pretence of being a great hostess when inside they wanted to slap the oafs right in their laughing faces.
But more than that, I thought of it from a mum’s perspective and it made me sicker still.
It could be my daughters one day who are treated as less than human beings, who are paraded in front of men to be ogled and reduced to nothing but a pretty shell with no thought to what’s on the inside.
I hate that they might grow up to still face this type of sexism and discrimination. To not be treated as the equals that they absolutely are.
We have to spell it out plainly that this type of behaviour is not acceptable. Even when it’s a bunch of wealthy and powerful men.
Perhaps these men could stop and think about how they would have behaved if it was their wives, their mothers, their daughters serving people at this dinner. Would they have still seen it all as a harmless bit of fun then? Would they have continued to behave in such a degrading manner? I sincerely doubt it.
But it’s not all about the boys. It’s not just the attitudes of men that have to change here. It’s women too. The firm that provided the hostesses for this event was founded by and operated by a woman.
We need to take a stand for each other. To make sure that when we send fellow women into a situation that we know they will be safe. To stand up for fellow women when we see them being treated wrongly.
If we as a sex collectively say “no” when we are put down, reduced to nothing but an attractive figure or openly assaulted, then we will take far bigger steps towards equality.
I will be raising my girls to be very clear that they are more than what looks back at them in the mirror. They are equal to men, no matter how wealthy or powerful they might be. They deserve respect and to be treated well, no matter where they are.
And I will be raising them to share and support this attitude on behalf of other women.
We are far more powerful than the most wealthy of individuals when we stand together as one.