“Listen up, class.
“Which four-letter word describes the worst thing that can happen to a woman? Nothing from you, Peter, I know what you’re going to say. I’ll give you a clue: it starts with an R.
“Splendid, it is indeed ‘rape’. Does everybody know how to spell it? Well done, Sharon. R-A-P-E.
“Now I’m going to ask you a tougher question. What’s the second worst thing?
“No, Andrew, it’s not having every bone in her body broken, and I’ll thank you for not indulging your gruesome fantasies. And neither is it being murdered, thank you very much.
“No, Fiona, it’s not losing a husband, a child, an eye or a limb. Anyone else?
“Well, it’s upskirting, and I bet you don’t know what it is. Nothing from you, Peter, I know what you’re going to say.”
Actually, I can well imagine myself being one of the pupils. For until the other day I had never heard of upskirting and hadn’t had the foggiest idea what it meant.
Now I’ve learned. Upskirting describes the crime of chaps photographing the knickers of unaware women in public places.
Sky TV showed some footage of a shop where that crime was caught on camera. A young man carrying a camera furtively approached a woman wearing a short skirt, bent down quickly, aimed the camera under that garment, snapped a shot and ran away.
That’s not how I’d do it. I’d attach a camera to one of those selfie sticks so favoured by Japanese tourists. That would obviate the need for bending, making concealment easier.
And I confess to having done something similar, minus photographic devices. When I was 11 or so, I’d occupy a strategic position under the school staircase to peak under the skirts of girls walking up.
Now a long way from 11, I don’t see the point of either looking or photographing. After all, by the time they reach their late teens, most boys have had a few opportunities to relish the sight of girls’ knickers without having to resort to subterfuge.
And let’s face it, though perhaps not all women accessorise miniskirts with underwear, I’m sure most do. So where’s the fun in taking those snaps? The transgressors won’t see anything they can’t see on a beach, especially if volleyball is being played.
At least exhibitionists derive some sexual satisfaction from flashing, though I don’t immediately see how. Really, life must have passed me by.
Now the question is, what should be done to discourage such acts of petty puerile voyeurism?
A woman would be well-justified to slap the infantile moron in the face. If she’s accompanied by a man, he couldn’t be blamed for punching the idiot.
And if the police get involved, they’ll have any number of charges to bring on the basis of existing laws. One such could be OPD (Outraging Public Decency), although these days public decency must be sufficiently calloused by things like Gay Day parades not to be outraged too easily.
That’s how it would be in a sane world. In our world, an upskirted woman feels “violated, distressed and traumatised for life”. And women can’t be violated, distressed and traumatised for life without creating political pressure groups and launching national campaigns.
Now I don’t see how such a boorish trick can possibly cause life-long trauma. Suppose for the sake of argument that the upskirting picture ends up on the net. Considering that the camera angle doesn’t allow capturing the victim’s knickers and face at the same time, who’s to know that’s her?
Such identification would be impossible unless there’s something extraordinary about the woman’s upper thighs (if, for example, she’s Serena Williams). So, though some harm was done, it wasn’t very much, was it?
I’m being deliberately crass here. I realise that these days a woman is traumatised if she says she is. And if several of them say they are, we need a new law making the act a specific criminal offence.
Such a law was proposed in a private member’s bill the other day, and enthusiastically supported by the government – led by that upskirtable person. Happy snappers would get up to two years in prison and enter the sex offenders’ register for life. I’m amazed the reintroduction of the death penalty wasn’t mooted, just this once.
To everyone’s amazement, the bill didn’t pass: Sir Christopher Chope, the one-eyed man among the blind, shouted “object” and the bill was derailed for the time being, to be reintroduced in a few weeks.
There were screams of “shame!” in the Commons and much other vitriol aimed at Sir Christopher, enough to traumatise him as badly as upskirting could ever traumatise a woman.
Mrs May, doubtless holding on to her own skirt tightly, expressed her dismay: “Upskirting is an invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed,” she said. “I am disappointed the Bill didn’t make progress in the Commons today, and I want to see these measures pass through Parliament – with Government support – soon.”
I feel secure in the knowledge that things are going so swimmingly in Britain that our government has the time and energy to throw its weight behind this kind of legislation. I must have been reading the wrong newspapers.
At the same time, I’m outraged (without necessarily feeling violated, distressed and traumatised) at this flagrant display of sex discrimination. My thoughts and prayers go (if that’s the right phrase) to all those Scotsmen who wear kilts with nothing underneath.
What if our liberated females began to commit the heinous crime of upkilting? Perhaps that’s why Sir Christopher stopped the bill from passing – it didn’t cover all eventualities, as it were.
The reason upskirting has received so much attention is that it isn’t just a crime against person. It’s a crime against the ruling ethos, replacing millennia-old certitudes with ersatz nonsense whose sole purpose is to perpetuate the power of the ruling spivocracy.
While crimes against person and property routinely go unpunished and indeed uninvestigated, crimes against the ethos are punished quickly and surely.
How long before an admittedly flippant article like this one is criminalised for making light of people’s suffering? Nothing from you, Peter, I know what you’re going to say.