• San Antonio Town Hall have today launched a new campaign to tackle the issue of sexist aggression.
  • A particular emphasis is placed on correcting male behaviour in demanding sex using unfair pressure and coercion, and empowering women in their right to say no, and to do so effectively with confidence and assertion. 

Nick Gibbs

The campaign is centred around the ‘Lilac Point’, a stand/booth that will be attending large public gatherings in San Antonio, including music festivals.

At the ‘Lilac Point’ the public will be able to collect pamphlets in Spanish, Catalan and English, along with various other ‘material for the awareness of the rejection to violence against women’.

Also in attendance will be an anti-sexism educator to advise ‘what violent actions can be sexist aggression’.

A statement issued by the Town Hall said, “Our Purple point will be itinerant and we will be present in the great gatherings of people in our municipality. You will be able to find us today from 22.30 pm on s ‘ Arenal beach during the concert of amparanoia.
Come, learn, disseminates and act!”

Editorial Comment:

This is difficult as any negative comment toward such worthy objectives runs the risk of being seen as not believing it as an important issue.

I do believe it is very important, and I have enough awful examples cross my desk to know that belief is cold hard fact.

But is this the way? That is the question I am bound to ask.

Leaflets and an educator. I know it is a serious issue, but come on, really? I don’t know any rapists, (and no point pussyfooting around, a man who doesn’t accept no means no is exactly that), but I wonder if I did know a rapist whether he would be the kind of guy to have his mind changed by a flyer?

“I was going to have sex with a woman tonight whether she liked it or not, but now I’ve seen a leaflet saying it would be wrong, I think I’ll just have a read of my book and an early night.”

And an ‘educator’ to advise ‘what violent actions can be sexist aggression’ – how does that work then –  So I’ve gone alone to the big music festival. It’s our third date. We’re getting on great, having a dance, kissing and cuddling. I thought I might, y’know, try my chances tonight. But I have a dilema. I’ve been trying to decide between wooing my woman with scented candles, soft lights and Luther Vandross, or just going for some rohypnol washed down with a few cans of Stella. That used to be problem, but not any more thanks to the Lilac Point educator. 

I know I shouldn’t take the piss, important issue and all, but seriously who is going to use that service that actually needs that service?

I know the argument will be spreading awareness among the young people, but that is where this falls down – as with so many government lead initiatives to reach young people.

I give every allowance for issues of translation, and am totally forgiving at some of the clumsy wording in the title, though feel five minutes with a native speaker would have easily remedied them.

But it is about the sad, patronising, and I would expect totally alienating, messages within.

“Respect me, Let’s Share An Equal Environment”.

Sorry, but that sounds like a morning mantra of an ‘awaken the gender goddess within’ weekend retreat for post menopausal women desperately seeking lubrication.

It does not sound like a line that will be of any assistance to a 15 year old schoolgirl dealing with the total absence of any moral compass in her 18 year old aggressive rat-boy boyfriend who’s main interests in life are rap videos and porn.

It is a small local campaign. It is well intended. I get that. But government gets this type of thing wrong all the time. The classic ad campaign in 80’s Britain, ‘Heroin Really Screws You Up’, made their junkie victims look so cool that it created more addicts.

In my humble opinion, the way to tackle this type of issue, especially when the objective is a young audience, is not through advertising and flyers. The way to tackle it is through giving young men a moral compass. The way to do that is through family and education.

It is a simple concept of morality. No Means No. The problems lies more fundamentally in parents not doing their job of teaching those types of lessons to their children effectively.

A world free of sexual intimidation and aggression is a worthy pursuit, but it will be obtained in the home at the dinner table, and in schools in the classroom. Not, I fear, at San Antonio’s Lilac Point.

This campaign is easy, it gives great press opportunity, and it allows politicians to say they are doing something without getting their hands dirty. It is easy to see the attraction.

I don’t know what the campaign cost, but whatever it was would be better spent towards patrols, cameras or security on the San Antonio Paseo.  That is where the women in the borough suffer at the hands of male aggression. That is where the Town Hall should be directing their efforts.