It shouldn’t be a man’s world, but it is….

The horrific tales of abuse that 156 women were brave enough to speak of in court led to Larry Nassar being convicted of multiple counts of sexual abuse, with a sentence of up to 175 years in jail.

Reports say

The women — almost all of whom initially met Nassar for a sports-related injury — said that, because of the abuse, they struggled with anxiety, depression and instances of self-harm. Others said they no longer trust doctors or that they shrink from any physical touch.

This respected physician, the team doctor for USA Gymnastics through four Olympic Games, took advantage of young girls in his care.

Nassar’s sentence came on the same day that the story broke of the abuse of women hostesses at a charity gala in London.

Deputy Lib Dem Leader Jo Swinson  MP has written two letters calling on investigations into the happenings at The President’s Club charity dinner. It was a men’s only dinner, served by women in short black dresses, high heels and black underwear. Women reported being groped and having men expose themselves.

Jo’s cross-party letter to the Charity Commission, signed by herself and 41 more MPs, reads

As you will no doubt be aware, today’s Financial Times report of the event hosted by the Presidents Club Charitable Trust (registration number 1017310) last Thursday has prompted widespread condemnation.

I have attached a copy of our letter to the Trustees of the charity which outlines our serious concerns about the reported behaviour of the attendees, including the sexual harassment of staff working at the event. It seems likely from reports that these incidents included criminal behaviour.

While in usual circumstances the charity would conduct any initial investigation, the serious and potentially criminal nature of the behaviour means we believe it warrants urgent investigation by the Charity Commission for England & Wales, including as to whether the Trustees are fit to hold such office, given their apparent failure to properly discharge their duties to protect health and safety of workers, and the reputation of the charity.

The letter she references to the Trustees of the charity was printed on this site last night.

Well done, Jo, for standing up for vulnerable women. What some men think they can get by with beggar’s belief. The years of abuse suffered by gymnasts and athletes in Nassar’s care, and the behaviour of wealthy men at an elite charity dinner show society at its worse. True gender equality is valuing each person’s bodily integrity and not abusing power.

* Kirsten Johnson is the PPC for North Devon and Day Editor of Lib Dem Voice.

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11 Comments

  • Helen Dudden 25th Jan '18 - 9:02am

    Would anyone have believed the complaints at that time. It’s taken much publicity to make this type of behaviour not acceptable. I feel very sympathetic, towards those put in this situation. Totally out of their control.

  • Ruth Bright 25th Jan '18 - 9:09am

    Kirsten – in this context we await with interest LDV’s hard hitting analysis of the memoirs published today. I can’t mention the author’s name otherwise this comment will be taken down.

  • I think it is worth adding the word ‘some’ to the sentence “What men think they can get by with beggar’s belief.” It is only some men who think they can get away with this. Others, like I would hope the majority who comment on this site, are horrified at the treatment the women in either of theses cases received.

    It is an abuse of power in both cases. I hope there is some soul searching going on by the attendees at the London event but somehow I doubt it. I suspect most are more upset at getting caught then considering whether they should have even considered attending.

    I love my two youngest children with all my heart, but not for the first time I realise I would be less worried about their futures if they were boys. I wonder how many of those attending and abusing have daughters of their own?

  • Kirsten johnson 25th Jan '18 - 9:52am

    Absolutely, Steve, I’ve amended the post with ‘some’ inserted.

  • John Barrett 25th Jan '18 - 10:06am

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Charity Commission to take any meaningful action on this.

    From my own past experience, they were completely useless at dealing with issues brought to their attention and when asked directly about their lack of action, by email, no response was given. Hopefully Jo will have more luck.

    It appears that the organization has wound up and the trustees have now resigned, so this might be a reason for nothing being done. However, It is quite likely that the complaints about the most recent dinner were not the first complaints about this organization. If so, it might be worth investigating why no action had been taken before now.

    @Steve Way is absolutely correct when he says – “I think it is worth adding the word ‘some’ to the sentence “What men think they can get by with beggar’s belief.” It is only some men who think they can get away with this. Others, like I would hope the majority who comment on this site, are horrified at the treatment the women in either of theses cases received.” How true.

    You cannot hold every football fan at a match responsible when violence breaks out and is caused by a few. Having attended fundraising dinners over decades, for the Lib-Dems and others, when alcohol is consumed in quantity there is always a risk that some behavior by some men or women will be out of order.

    The response of blaming everyone at the event only distract from the real problem that clearly needs to be dealt with.

  • Helen Dudden 25th Jan '18 - 10:09am

    Steve Way, not all men will behave in this way towards a women, I agree. I think the some, is an important word to use.
    I wonder if those at the men only party would feel if it was their partners and wives at that event!

  • John Barrett 25th Jan '18 - 10:17am

    The other group of women who must be listened to are those victims of John Worboys, who number amongst the 100 women who reported that they were raped or sexually assaulted by him, while he was convicted of only 19 offences.

    There are now over 80 women, in this instance alone, who have not had justice from our legal system and while he may soon be released, saying that he is innocent until proved guilty of those crimes, when it looks likely that unless charged he will remain “innocent” for the rest of his life, is like saying that suicide bombers were innocent when they blew up their victim – as they were never charged, because their cases never came to court.

    The law can be an ass at times.

  • Very much agree with other contributors to LDV condemning what happened at the “Presidents Club” and praise Jo for her letter (pity about the four letter word at the end) and also praise Jess Phillips M.P. for raising the matter in the House.

    Very little attention has been given to the fact that the chief organiser, one David Meller, (forced to resign from a Department of Education appointment), has also founded and still runs a school academy chain of five schools in Hertfordshire.

    I don’t know what the ‘fit and proper person’ rules are, but surely this man is not fit and proper – and I hope Lib Dem MP’s will raise this matter with a view to getting those schools back within local government.

  • Sue Sutherland 25th Jan '18 - 2:28pm

    If most of the women were children when they were assaulted then this is child abuse and a reason to give our children more protection against predators who work in areas where there are lots of children that are easily available to abuse. Much has been done in this field but I don’t think it should be conflated with abuse against women. This may be more a problem arising from the title rather than the content of this post.

  • “Absolutely, Steve, I’ve amended the post with ‘some’ inserted.”

    It seems indicative of the loss of real balance in so many of these kinds of articles, that ‘some’ had been forgotten in the first place.

    And isn’t it a good job that what-about-ery has been banned from this site, otherwise some crass individual, might just mention the lewd, cheap ‘chippendale-esqe’, ladies-only charity nights where male waiters paid only to serve drinks, find they have to ‘run the gauntlet’, of normally respectable and decent women, ‘loosened’ by drink, and lewd entertainment, and whose husbands are at home watching the TV and hoping ‘the missus’ is having a good evening?

    So, what is the actual core of the despicability here? Is it the charitable status of the event, the ‘tainted’ monies raised or the indulgent wealth of the Neanderthals in dinner suits, who thought this would be ‘a good night out’?

    In this drip-drip of articles discussing ‘the evils men do’, is it not worth noting that whataboutery is not an end in itself, but a genuine heartfelt call for some semblance of balance and context, and the avoidance of this blatant and ‘trendy’, puritanical virtue signalling?

    So in the interests of balance, Yes, SOME men behave very badly, in the same way that SOME women are less than angels when out and about with ‘the girls’, and with a Jager-bomb in their hand.

  • Peter Martin 25th Jan '18 - 7:11pm

    ‘There are two economic myths that fail the interests of women. The first is the fallacy that government budgets conform to “the household analogy”: that, as with family budgets, a state’s outgoings cannot exceed its income. The second is that “there is no money” for the services women use and need.’

    This isn’t me banging on about my usual hobby horse subject. This is Ann Pettifor writing. I wouldn’t present the argument in quite such gender specific terms, but she’s quite right about the economics , of course!

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/07/philip-hammond-economic-myths-budget-international-womens-day

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