Malcolm Roberts thinks laws that protect women go too far.
A One Nation senator from Queensland, Australia has caused a stir by speaking out against sexual harassment laws and saying street harassment can be taken as a compliment. On ABC’s Radio National Drive program, Malcolm Roberts told host Patricia Karvelas that some women (actually, he called them girls) think it’s “wonderful” to be whistled at on the street.
When men explain their reasons for catcalling women, it’s true that ‘they enjoy it’ is high on the list – even though, as any woman can tell you, we don’t enjoy it, and have simply resigned ourselves to the fact that being sexually harassed is part of being female.
Still, men continue to believe being catcalled is some sort of a compliment. “Is a wolf-whistle harassment? It depends upon the person. Some girls think that that is wonderful…they smile. Others are offended,” Roberts told Karvelas.
He also said he believes Australian laws go to far to protect women from harassment. “So, wolf-whistle in one court, are we going to outlaw it, and another court we’re going to say it’s fine, a compliment?”
Australia’s Sex Discrimination Act, passed in 1984, says that “making a statement of a sexual nature to a person, or in the presence of a person, whether the statement is made orally or in writing” is harassment, and is illegal. When Karvelas asked Roberts whether he thought the law should be reformed, he admitted he hasn’t actually read it.
Roberts had gone on the program to talk about Australia’s hate speech laws, before the conversation turned to sexual harassment.
Backlash on Twitter was swift:
No they don’t. https://t.co/dls4b5U1lW
— Linda Burney MP (@LindaBurneyMP) March 20, 2017
Senator Malcolm Roberts – another self-appointed expert on how women feel about sexual harassment. pic.twitter.com/aRUwywOTBs
— Janet Rice (@janet_rice) March 20, 2017
Roberts has not issued a statement in response to the backlash surrounding his comments.
Images via Shutterstock, YouTube.
Comment: How do you respond to being catcalled?