Wednesday, 11 June 2014
Hague misses opportunity on sex education.
The Global Summit To End Sexual Violence In Conflict being co-hosted by Angelina Jolie and William Hague has as one of it's major aims the breaking of the taboo about discussing rape in time of war. So far we have mainly heard about rape as a weapon of war and little about the far more widespread incidence of rape as a spoil of war but a recent Amnesty International report would suggest that the summit has the balance right. In the two decades following the end of WW 2 there was considerable exposure of widespread Soviet violation of German women in the final weeks of the war. It takes nothing away from the suffering of those women to say that the issue became another stick with which to beat the Russians during the Cold War years. Much less was made of the rapes inflicted by British and American troops as they advanced across France and Germany. Last weekend we heard a great deal about the heroes of D Day and quite rightly so. The men who stormed the beaches of Normandy were heroes all right and we owe them a great deal. But some of those heroes went on to rape French and German women. The hard truth is that armies, and especially victorious armies, commit rape and sometimes on a frightening scale. It seems to me that nothing will change until we arrive at a very much better understanding of male/female power relations and part of that has to be the education of boys about what a wholesome, even handed relationship with girls is all about. For this reason, and this must be the first time in my life when I want to be generous to the man, I was disappointed when William Hague during a Channel 4 interview last night, refused to be drawn on the subject of compulsory sex education with specific reference to consent. Sex education is far too important an issue to be sidelined by the internal squabbles of the Tory Party and Hague missed an opportunity to nail his colours to the mast.