It’s been almost two weeks since I mailed this essay off to Ophelia Benson, but I’ve been on holiday in Melbourne sans notebook and passwords for most of the time. You’ll have to forgive me for my tardiness.
There seems to be a trend of late, of people lecturing jurisprudence at people who it is reasonable to assume, have been victims of rape or sexual assault. Notably, it’s often not just “Skeptics”, but “Skeptics” with friends accused of acting up and pestering people sexually (or worse), who engage in this practice.
It’s not that the presumption of innocence is to be suspended, it’s just that the presumption of innocence is often irrelevant to the context these discussions are taking place in, with potentially harmful consequences. I spend 2600 words (including quotes) on the matter over here…
You’ll not likely see him, but he’s there,
out the corner of eye during dawn and dusk.
He dodges nine-to-five commuters,
keeping to gutters and shadow.
You rarely catch Snow in Australia,
though he’s present all year ‘round.
He gusts through alleyways where litter abounds,
He lives under tiles and in cracks in the pavement.
Outside the lamplight at twilight, he watches you,
wondering about friends, daylight, and things you take for granted.
Mr Snow is hungry for company, for food, for life.
Most of all, he just wants what you already have.
Nobody knows how Snow got lost in the grey.
So few could, because so few care to think.
The prospect is horrible; nobody knows who’s next.
Except Mr Snow. He’s seen it before and he sees through you.
Beware shadow-hands reaching from back-alleys.
Beware the tendrils of black teasing your brow.
Keep an eye on the cracks in the pavement,
and don’t write off what Mr Snow can not.
You too could turn grey, white and numb.
You too could eat from a bin.
The winds that harrow Mr Snow can blow through you,
leaving only twilight, garbage and dust.
Creeper makes too much eye contact
He’s a bit too eager to talk to women.
He sits alone in his seat, waving to strangers,
mooching off of common courtesy.
Leaning over he pesters a French couple…
”Are you tourists?”
It’s asked bluntly, with dismissive tone.
Yes, they’re tourists. No, they don’t want to talk to him.
Creeper’s advances are unsolicited.
Creeper’s interests are boring.
Creeper won’t take a hint.
Creeper doesn’t respect boundaries.
Bordertown; ironic waypoint signifying boundaries.
Creeper gets a passenger to sit with;
a captive audience for his indulgence;
a sounding board for the self-centred, banal and inane.
Creeper questions the senior woman’s ethnicity.
Proceeds to lecture her on her heritage.
Explains he’s studied war at University.
Tells his captive he’s a writer.
Creeper paws her shoulder.
Creeper asks about vampires.
Creeper hints at undead conspiracies.
Creeper lectures about “girls” and life decisions.
Sweating and writhing, he looks like Gollum on a bad day,
and as wise as the lovechild of Ed Wood and Alain de Botton.
Senior woman asks “how do you know?”
Creeper doesn’t like the questions of philosophers.
Creeper affects chivalry towards service staff,
lunges at senior woman’s neck for a joke;
calls her beautiful with hands lingering over her chest.
She doesn’t terribly mind.
Creeper got the encouragement he craves.
Creeper will do it all again…