I don’t like Patrick Brown; I never have.
We were in Ottawa at the same time, when he was a lacklustre backbencher, never rising above the level of an unassigned MP.
One of my friends worked on his Leadership campaign; she quit a few months in, thoroughly unimpressed.
As leader, his flip-flops on sex education and carbon taxes made me groan, and the apparent meddling in local nomination races were worrisome.
So, I don’t like him.
What occurred this week – the release of information detailing his unsuccessful attempts to “seduce” teen-agers – saw him literally running out of the Ontario Legislature, being chased by a crowd of reporters shouting questions. I expect his political career is now over.
Just to confirm what I believed to be true, I checked the Government of Canada website to read: the legal age for sex in Canada is 16. There are some extenuating circumstances, but generally speaking, 16.
(Full disclosure: I met my husband two weeks after my 17th birthday. I am now grappling with the fact that I should believe I was abused; it didn’t feel that way, though. We had our first baby when I was 21, and I have never looked back.)
While it’s illegal to give anyone under the age of 19 alcohol, one of the young women he met was in a bar, already drunk, at age of 18. Probably he did not ask to see her identification card.
Men have to up their game and re-examine their behaviour to be sure; no one is questioning that. It has become perhaps the biggest issue of 2018.
But young women also have to become more aware, A LOT more aware, of the effects of their behaviour on their physical safety.
An 18 year old who goes to a bar, gets drunk, goes home with a man and agrees to visit his bedroom has to know there is more going on than just a tour of his house. Otherwise, she should not be going to bars and getting drunk.
A 20 year old who visits a man’s bedroom after several drinks to view photos on his tablet – the single most transportable device ever invented – is naïve.
Men should not take advantage of women who are drunk, or who are naïve.
But, women should not be drunk and naïve.
At this year’s Golden Globe Awards, actresses all agreed to dress in black to protest the fact that men have been sexually harassing women.
Some of the black “protest dresses” amounted to little more than fishnet and lace, barely covering their vulvas or their nipples, as they hung off of their male escorts, producers, financiers. It is impossible to look at these photos without believing the women are pursuing, and receiving, something out of these relationships.
I made myself somewhat unpopular earlier this year when I proposed that rather than a #MeToo movement, we needed a #FuckYou movement.
“Any time a man proposes something inappropriate or outlandish just tell him, ‘Fuck you’!” I suggested to young women. I offered this advice in the spirit of believing that women possess enough personal power to control the situations in which they put themselves, like the young woman who told an amorous Patrick Brown, “Stop. I don’t want to do this Take me home.”
So he stopped, and he took her home. That was a good outcome. All women should keep that in mind, especially before they give anonymous media interviews that end mens’ careers.