I was saddened by two pieces of news this morning concerning relationships.
Children in School Uniform
The first news item concerned the fact that children in school uniform, mainly girls, are being harassed almost daily by men as they go to and from school. My children are grown up now but it is a worry for any parent that there are these predators who are apparently so numerous that the children consider it a waste of time to report incidents of a minor nature.
Viral video in New York
The second item concerned a video of a young woman walking through New York's streets and the comments thrown at her by men as she passed by. One of the least offensive comments is in the photograph above and that has wider connotations.
The two incidents are related in that they bring into question everyone's right to be able to move around the world safely and in doing so be given the respect they deserve. During the coverage of the girl walking through New York a lady representing an anti-harassment group was interviewed and what she was saying was very disturbing. It seems that she believed anyone speaking to a girl as they passed by was an example of harassment and should be stopped irrespective of the words used.
Holding a door open
As I go about my daily business, walking in the streets or going in and out of places of business I expect to show and be shown good manners. It seems that greeting a stranger as you walk by is no longer a sign of respect but of harassment. It is my belief that situations like the children being stalked and nervousness at being spoken to by a stranger come from a heightened suspicion between people stemming from distrust. Sadly, holding doors open, saying 'excuse me' and 'thank you' seem to be perceived as signs of weakness at the very least!
I have a plan!
Greet a stranger.
I'm sure some trendy leftist sociologists would accuse me of courting disaster but the breakdown of society due to separatism brought about by social media and distrustful legislation needs reversing. Our children would be safer if they knew that being respected was a fact of life and first steps towards a more trusting society should be quite simple.
Let's return to displays of good manners. This would include thanking people who do something for you, saying 'excuse me' or 'sorry' where appropriate. It wouldn't hurt to have some of the better Victorian behaviours as a norm these days.