‘Apparently it’s not ‘indecent’ to pinch someone’s bum by today’s standards’

May 16, 2019
It's not 'indecent' to bum-pinch by today's standards. Source: Getty Images

Back in March, I read about a Western Australian policeman of 17 years service, Andrew Ramsden, who was found not guilty of indecent assault after an anonymous woman accused him of pinching her bottom. At the time, a photo was being taken at a charity event when Ramsden decided to pinch said lady’s bottom, even though they were strangers. Apparently he prefaced the act by saying words to the effect of “please don’t take this the wrong way” and later reportedly said “it was just for a laugh”.

This lady did not laugh and reported the incident. The 47-year-old policeman was charged with “unlawfully and indecently assaulting another person” under section 323 of the Criminal Code (WA) however, he was eventually found not guilty.

The whole initial process was heard by a magistrate who ruled that “in an era of twerking” and easy access to pornography, it was not an indecent assault when Ramsden pinched the woman’s backside because there was no sexual connotation. The Supreme Court agreed, rejecting the prosecution’s argument that “the prevailing standards of the community today are that any touching by a man of the buttocks of a woman is inherently indecent”.

Just let’s re-read that: “in an era of twerking and easy access to pornography” the magistrate did not consider the act one of indecent assault because there was no sexual connotation. How did the magistrate know?

Can someone please explain to me exactly what twerking and pornography have to do with this case? I put my hand on my heart and admit to total and utter confusion.

As for the world-wide ‘#MeToo’ movement, the Western Australian Supreme Court accepted the lobby group had led to an increase in the number of complaints by women and to increase awareness of the unacceptability of such acts and conduct, however, had not resulted in a change in community standards. Yet!

I do not mean to trivialise the hurt this lady experienced. She obviously believed she had been violated. May I suggest the following be asked for and by both sexes, with the ‘for you’ implied.

So, (you know I’m going to say it) … bottom line, is bum-pinching by a stranger ever okay? Yes? No?

What about a stranger touching your navel? Do you draw the line at the belly button? Man, that’s highly contentious and a naughty erogenous zone for many. Yes? No?

Is boob pinching okay? Just the outer excess bra overflow but no inside bra connection. Yes? No?

Boys, is pinching your bum/testis/penis by a stranger okay? Yes? No?

What — if any — of these scenarios were attempted by same-sex comediennes, who insist there was ‘no sexual connotation’ implied. What then?

I truly am not trying to demean any of these situations but, what is the answer?! What offends me, may not offend you and vice versa.

The Magistrate in these proceedings was Michelle Ridley. High Court Judge Justice Jennifer Smith went further and handed down a 25-page decision that considered the recent sexualisation of the arse, and whether “in an era of twerking” it should join the group of body parts that are considered inherently sexual. These being; “breasts, vagina, penis, testicles, or anus”.

Ladies and gentlemen (sorry, but I don’t know how else to inclusively refer to all), welcome to the confusion and sexual minefield that is 2019.

How would you answer the questions above? What are your thoughts on this issue?

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