There has been a particular rhetoric in parliament over the past months. Each time a man (or a Liberal Party woman, which is to say a proxy for the patriarchy) has stood in front of cameras to weep, he has delivered a wink and a nod to others like him, through crocodile tears, as to the true nature of the story. Not that a young woman’s life has been irrevocably changed by a man’s actions, but that a poor, silly fella is being taken to task in front of his mates. Look, he seems to say, you know how blokes are.
Each time new allegations emerge, we hear a slightly altered explanation of how this could happen. The gist is always the same: some fella didn’t realise he wasn’t meant to treat women like this. The same argument is echoed in communities across the country. You can’t even whistle at a woman anymore. You can’t even playfully slap their arse. Suddenly, out of nowhere, it’s unacceptable to follow a woman home and hide in the bushes.
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