Something’s got to change – I’m already missing social distancing
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We missed hugging. We missed holding hands and high fives.
What some of us have not missed is being given an unsolicited, noisy kiss on the cheek by a virtual stranger. The hair pats, the shoulder squeezes, the knee-rubs.
Personal space – arguably more so that of women, or those who present as women – is viewed by some as an optional social nicety.
That’s not to say men are exempt from this treatment – far from it.
Indeed, it’s probably more difficult for men to have these conversations because society has taught them to laugh it off.
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But every woman you ask has a story of when she was grabbed inappropriately and could relay it instantly – blokes often have to take a moment to think about it.
And this is the thin, thin end of the wedge.
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In the past few days women have come forward to tell this newspaper of their experiences having their drink spiked in the city.
So not only do people feel uncomfortable when they’re out trying to enjoy themselves – they’re also in danger through no fault of their own.
This is supposed to be a safe city, a welcoming city – for everyone.
We’re not going to change society overnight, but raising awareness about the issue of people being drugged without their consent is the bare minimum.
I’m sure many of us already do it, but if you’re out and about just keep an eye.
Watch people’s drinks if they head to the toilet and they’re sitting alone, or if they’re standing at a crowded bar looking the other way.
This is happening in our city, on our doorstep.
This isn’t something we can’t afford to ignore – and we shouldn’t want to either.
These vile actions are not the responsibility of anyone other than the perpetrators – but it’s going to take the collective to protect the few.