The Shoat Statements

Random musings by the multiple voices inside my head.


I know this is going to be a long post, but I'm asking everyone to read it till the end, and to please, please post a comment on how your true opinion.


I got upset in class yesterday, which is nothing new. We were discussing assault according to English law. To understand the rest of the post, I will simplify the definition of assault for you: in legal jargon, assault need not cause any physical harm. The victim only needs to apprehend (ie. sense) immediate and unlawful personal violence. That means, if I make a fist and try to punch you, I've committed assault (so long as you realized I was going to punch you and you either got scared or took evasive action like ducking).

To illustrate assault, the Professor gave us an (actual) case, which I've described below:

Smith v Chief Constable of Woking Police (1983)
X had terrified a woman occupying a groundfloor flat by staring in through the window at her while she was in her nightclothes. He was found guilty of assault. It was not necessary to establish what the woman feared would happen, as a general apprehension of violence was sufficient.


Now, while this case was being dictated and explained, all I heard was sniggering from the entire section of males in my class (they all sit behind me). As soon as the professor was out of the room, they started. All the guys thought stalking a woman, or harrassing her with blank calls, or staring at her in her own house were not crimes worthy of punishment. In fact, they thought those shouldn't be crimes at all. They were talking amongst themselves. Another girl, C, and I were in front of them and we overheard. We didn't argue with the guys there. One of the guys, (my dad's former colleague so roughly about 50 years old) was saying that "sheesh, we can't even look at women anymore". Their overall attitude was incomprehensible to me.


I had to drop one of the guys (aged about 22) and C home the same evening. He actually wondered why the professor said he'll be handing out notes when we do Sexual Offences . I told him that it isn't surprising, given the level of immaturity demonstrated by our class. Wonder of wonders - the guy is actually surprised. Why, he asks. I (obviously) needed no further invitation. I declared that I thought his and all the other guys attitude reflected a level of immaturity LLB students shouldn't have. Thus started the argument on the case given above.


Firstly, let me state that he was not arguing from a legal perspective. As in, legally speaking, the man is obviously guilty. The points he (and all the other men) were saying was that:


a) Staring at a woman may be perverted, but it should not be a legal crime;

b) Being perverted was not something wrong;

c) Being stared at shouldn't have made the woman scared - it should at best have made her uncomfortable;

d) That instead of being frightened, the woman had other options, like going to another room, closing the blinds etc. so the choice was hers, and therefore the man is guilty of nothing at all as she had a choice.

e) That by having the curtains open, she was inviting trouble (the woman is always to blame, isn't she?).

The other girl, C, and I were speechless (well, as speechless as I could ever practically be). We couldn't believe that educated men in this country thinks this way. C later said that we shouldn't be surprised that Sri Lankan men have such attitudes, as they couldn't ever imagine what it was like for a woman. I replied that it showed a basic lack of respect for women, and that is a sign of severe immaturity.

Later, I actually thought of what C said, and was shocked: are all Sri Lankan men that bad (not that she specified nationality)? C certainly seemed to think so. I hate to generalise, and I personally don't think all men are that stupid. But certainly, all the guys studying LLB with me are, and these are educated, well off, respectable men. That really isn't a good sign.

These are the future lawyers of Sri Lanka. How can they possibly be good lawyers when they can't empathize with half the population? Actually, forget empathize - replace the word with respect. I shudder to think of the future. My hair stands on edge when I think that one of them might become a judge. What has gone wrong with these guys? What makes a guy so chauvanistic?

Additionally, this guy said that if I blog the case on the net, I would find that majority of people, even foreigners, would agree with his view point. Especially from a social perspective. I think he is dead wrong.

But I'm up for the challenge, so here it is. Please leave a comment, with your genuine ideas on this. Please state whether you are male or female, age is up to you. What I need is feedback and opinions.

Thanks a lot.

33 comments:

Blame it on the patriarchal society in this part of the world. Most men think they can get away with anything and everything.

Eerily, your Professor's case reminds me of how my flatmates in Colombo had no respite from the peeping toms in the locality!

Awful!

Whatever happened to privacy'!!!!!!!

Peeping toms are not harmless and they have to be dealtwith seriously. I know someone who was hassled by the neighbourhood PT and she was quite traumatised for some time. The way the men in your class reacted is not right at all.

Unfortunately, whatever the letter of the law may say, we live in a society that thinks nothing of perverted behaviour. Especially when these perversions are done by males.

The sad thing is that most of the people who have this attitude (of looking the other way when a perversion happens)don't realise to what extent the pervert will go if not stopped at an initial stage.

What starts as an "innocent" peeping tom perversion can very easily graduate to a sexual assault.

A simple ride in a crowded bus will give you a good insight into the amount of perverts this country is home to. And they seem to start younger and younger nowadays, with school boys harrassing school girls.

Not a very nice future generation to look forward to huh?

Peeping is just the start. Next comes the flashing, then the public masturbation, until gradually these so-called harmless acts no longer gives him the kicks he needs and it merely escalates into something far worse, rape for example.

Blaming the woman -'she was asking for it' is akin to blaming victims of drunk driving accidents.

The Answer to your question is No Peeping Toms are not harmless.

Ok, guys like looking at girls and girls like looking at guys (in this day and age guys can look at guys and girls can look at girls too). It’s natural. But when it progresses to peeping and stalking then it’s just not natural, it’s just creepy and dangerous.

The thing is people never think from the other person’s shoes. It never occurs to them how the other person feels. Respect for others is something that is seriously lacking in this society, supposedly a very religious one at that. The right to privacy should be a fundamental human right.

Some people might think it all fun and games, but it can lead to serious problems. Some may escalate from being peeping toms to full blown serial rapists or killer. Usually they start out as harmless peepers. When people don’t take action against them, they become bolder and graduate into stalking and then to rape and murder. This is how people like tend Bundy and Jeffrey Dhamer came to be

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Dahmer
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_bundy

You should have asked this guy how he would have felt if he saw someone watching his sister. Or someday when he’s married and all, he catches some guy nicely watching his wife or even his daughter having a shower. I won’t be surprised if his answer would have been to kill that guy. Hypocrites…

I don’t thinks it’s a problem limited to here. All over the world there are people with this mentality. Maybe Sri Lanka has more that her fair share of them. Sad aint it?

It is very scary to think that these are the future lawyers and judges of this country. I see justice flying out the door.

The attitude of the men in your class illustrates the level to which society here has degenerated.

There is a difference between looking at a woman on the street and staring. I thought children were generally taught that it is rude to stare, apparently this is not the case in SRi Lanka.

I the fact that your colleagues could not be brought around to the Lecturers line of thinking is worse.

I have a very low opinion of Sri Lankan lawyers, too many are crooked and teh profession appears to have little interest in weeding out the bad -eggs - who seem to make up the majority - at least to me.

I dont trust a Sri Lankan lawyer unless he is known personally to me or to someone who can vouch for him.

Have to agree with Jackpoint. I too have a very low opinion of Sri Lankan lawyer, even some of the one that i do know :D

On a subject unrelated to the topic. I just read some of your older posts (yeah i'm jobless :P) and this blog just made it to the must read section on my bookmarks. Hoping to read more he he

Cheers!!!

I don't think there's any doubt about peeping toms being criminals, 'cos there's a clear distinction about invasion of privacy in this case. One's home is private property and if the tom gains access to it he's being invasive.

Not knowing your male classmates exact comments, it's hard to judge, but many males (SL and other) have concerns about over policing. For instance, if a woman is undressing with the curtains open, and the man was standing in a public area (like a sidewalk), would he be charged?

Things like public exposure are also clear as it breaks obscenity laws and public decency. Also, if a man touches a woman against her wishes it's asssault, but should he be charged for just being rude? Should he be arrested for catcalls or whistling?

It becomes a bit more grey in other areas too. For instance, if a man uses a mobile phone or digicam to take pictures up a woman's skirt, he can be prosecuted clearly. However, if a man takes pictures of a topless woman on a public beach can he be charged? Some countries do and some don't.

In SL there's a general tolerance (especially by men) for sexual perversion simply because we're exposed to it very early in life. It's quite common to have been sexually abused in school (by classmates and older boys), and the only hue and cry is when an adult abuses a student. So most men will laugh off sexual abuse that falls short of actual rape unless it happens to a loved one.

If you want SL men to change, please change the way we treat our young boys.

This comment has been removed by the author.

Thank you all for expressing your views. It's a relief to see that no one has yet to agree with my classmates.

To clarify a few points:

*Though I refer to them as classmates, no one here is under 18. Most of us are working (it is a part-time course)and the men are aged between 22 - 50.

*Santhoshi & Azrael: that is the point exactly - these guys are unable to comprehend and empathize with a woman in that situation.

*Darwin: I gave a similar example of blaming yourself for having your brand new Plasma TV robbed and was met with a 'koheda yanne, malle pol' reply.

*Jack: The point these guys are making is that staring is harmless. If you were in my class, your opinion would surely sink further. http://theshoatstatements.blogspot.com/2008/01/why-do-i-hate-thee-let-me-count-ways.html

*Blacklight: what I have quoted and the bullet points are some of the exact comments made. One point was the legal aspect of it, the other was that 'peeping should be dealt with by a mild warning. It is not an activity that needs to be dealt with in a court of law, or worse, with punishment' - verbatim. They do not see peeping as an offence of any sort, along with blank calls and staring.

*Azrael: Thank you!

I agree that the legal aspect of certain things, especially described by Blacklight, are at times hazy.

What I was most offended by was the fact that these males failed to recognize the actions as a 'social' offence of any kind.

I'm also shocked to hear that sexual perversion/abuse is commonplace in our schools. Have we degenerated to such a level?

I think what Azrael said in this para sums up what I think on the subject
"Ok, guys like looking at girls and girls like looking at guys (in this day and age guys can look at guys and girls can look at girls too). It’s natural. But when it progresses to peeping and stalking then it’s just not natural, it’s just creepy and dangerous."

Harassment should not be tolerated.

Hearing the reactions / comments of your classmates totally creeped me out. Peeping toms violate personal space and should be prosecuted for it. It is sad that these guys (?men) couldn't understand what it would be like to be in the receiving end...

Queen, what do you mean "degenerated"? Sexual abuse in boys' schools is nothing new. It probably happened to our fathers and uncles, and will happen to our sons as well. I for one am bloody happy that my son will never attend a Colombo school and that I'll never have to worry about that happening to him.

Theres a massive gulf of a difference in Checking out a girl and a peeping tom. Either way making someone uncomfortable in that way is inexcusable. Anyway what a peeping tom does is invade the private space of a person. If that isnt criminal I dunno what is.

This comment has been removed by the author.

Where do you study? I'm from a part of the world were people are trigger happy when it comes to law suits and sexual harassment cases are good business for lawyers. If I was you and aspiring to be a lawyer I would encourage this behaviour, I'm joking! Relax...

Have you heard the Singhalese term 'Tharuna Asahanaya'?

Some of the guys in your class need to go on a few dates and get laid, then they'll see that having to peep into windows and resort to other such low life perversions is unnecessary. Pass the message on..

Gheez...I'm pretty disheartened to hear your classmates comments.
I guess most SL men don't realize the psychological impact that these things can have on women.
I remember when I was small, my neighbour (a young girl) was the victim of a peeping tom while she was having a bath in her bathroom, the pervert was up in a tree!
She was shocked when she saw him through the small window! And was traumatized, the news spread all over the village and she didn't want to face anyone! And I remember my mother telling me to 'check out the tree tops before changing clothes' and to this day I do it! it has now become a subconscious thing.

I guess some people are more affected by these experiences than others, but damn sure each and every woman feels harrassed and humiliated! The psychological damage is enough to make it a criminal offence!

Queen, let me give you an example of the inability of people to distinguish between right and wrong in SL.

When I was doing A'Levels, one idle day, a group of boys were chatting. The topic turned to sex. One fellow said that they had a servant and he would have sex with her whenever his parents were not around. He invited some of the others to join and there was general enthusiasm for the project and some arrangements were made.

I was amazed that these boys could not distinguish rape from sex. The servant was not interested but would be threatened and would submit.

This is, I am told a farly common occcurance in this country.

Just talk to old boys of the schools you mention. That'll be a start.

an old thomian said... 5 February 2008 at 13:22  

it's s thomas' ,not st thomas :-)

How about men making fake photos of a women (sexual nature of course) to mock her.. is that a crime or is that her right to be mocked the same way a man might have been mocked in a similar fashion? (and you know where i am coming from :D)

As disgusted as I am by the attitude displayed by the group of men you mention, I don't think it's entirely their fault. Most of them have been conditioned by the attitudes displayed by the generation before them. Things said and done by fathers, uncles, brothers, etc. I believe these things have a long lasting impact on the way you view things, especially when you've been subjected to it since your younger days.

One way of breaking the vicious cycle is supposed to be education but the example of your classmates shows that it doesn't necessarily work. But then again I know men whose attitudes have changed so it may depend on each individual.

However I think women also have a major role to play in order to change the mindset of such men. As friends, mothers, sisters, etc there's so much women can do to make males view issues such as 'harmless peeping' from a female point of view.

(And just for the record, I think this kind of reform applies vice versa also.)

Criminal harassment is defined as "engag(ing) in intentional conduct which the actor [harasser] knows or has reason to know would cause the victim, under the circumstances, to feel frightened, threatened, oppressed, persecuted, or intimidated; and causes this reaction on the part of the victim. (M.S. § 609.749, Subd. I). Such conduct can include following or pursuing you, returning to your property without your consent, making repeated phone calls, inducing you to make calls, causing your phone to repeatedly ring, repeatedly mailing or delivering unwanted letters, objects, or gifts to you.

I am 17, and in the month of Feb of 2010, I found a phone in my bathroom. Later on I found that it was one of my close family friend that I knew for over 6 years. When I looked through the phone, it was completely empty except there were pictures and videos. Pictures and videos of me dressing after a shower and undressing to shower. I found out that he has been doing this for over 7 months. He was also the godfather of my nephew. I didnt use my bathroom for over 2 weeks, didn't even step foot in it. I had to shower and use the bathroom, but I never feel safe anymore. Now tell me that's not harmless.

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First off, Alberto is prime example of the idiocy we are refering to with the Viagra post. Secondly, I was a victim of a peeping Tom, myself. All I ever wanted was to have my own house with a nice yard. I finally got it and it came with it's own peeper. My cat actually spotted him first and hissed. When I went over to the window, I saw a hand pull away on my outside window sill. The second time, I heard something and turned to pull open the curtain and he looked right at me through the window and waved and the ran. I filed a report both times and the police said it was common in my neighborhood. The said there were two known peepers. They had caught them several times and they paid fines and were released. There is no reason to be in my fenced in yard with locked gates. I guess they have to wait til it escalates into rape or murder. Needless to say, I felt like a part of my freedom was taken away. How dare he? I later realized that he was a regular at the local pub who always tried to listen in on peoples conversation. The next time I saw him there I purposly let him hear me talk about how I planned on putting jaw traps in the bushes . I don't recomend really doing so because you as the victim will be sued for injury occuring on you property. The bottom line is no one should ever have to feel this way.

this is very good site for everyone who interest on the current situations and stablity of the country.

phonWHAT IF, YOU JUST FOUND OUT THAT YOUR BOYFRIEND OF 5 YEARS BEEN PEEPING IN ON YOU DAUGTHERS?...HOW DO YOU REACT...TO HIM AFTER THIS...???

Thank you, thats very interesting information. I need to share with my friends.

I loved you post because if I hadn't read 'Bolesno Grinje', I would have been misled. You are so right in all the points you raised. staggered was cruelty masqueraded as tradition.

I have been married 4 years and just found out that my husband has been watching my 16 year old daughter bath. (his stepdaughter) To me that is taking peeping to a new level. I am not sure what to do. We went to a therapist and he said he is not dangerous,yet I feel he has crossed a serious line. We are currently in therapy, but I don't know if it is working. I feel my daughter was terribly violated and now I feel I have to protect his daughter to who is 11. How far will this man go, I am not sure.

Last week my daughter age 22 was in sweats and wrapped in a blanket watching tv had a peeping tom watching her through a sliver of curtians. She heard a noise at her window and looked out he was masterbating and did not run away when she opened curtian, he kept on masterbating.
We had all outside lights on. We called the police and they had several calls with same description of perp.
We all now feel like we are not safe, we installed motion lights, even though this one is not scared of lights. We installed cameras, and are now taking conceal carry license class.
This Is Not A harmless crime!
Now we are in fear of what this man may be capable of.

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