I have listened to all the evidence recounted by credible witnesses to Channel 4 News last week, and while the stories of (alleged) touching, groping and unwanted pursuit by Lord Rennard to female Party activists are unsavoury to say the least, what stands out in my mind is the voice of one woman talking stoically about being assaulted publicly at a Lib Dem function and that when she tried to escape the unwelcome advances, there was ribald laughter and innuendo from the other men who were present, and no attempt to help her or the situation. To them, the humiliation and distress of a young woman being abused meant nothing except as a sexual joke.
We know from all the examples being revealed day after day at this time in our world that men, and women, in many countries and from different backgrounds, hurt others in various ways for reasons of power and control, domination and twisted ego whether it in the world of church, politics, media or elsewhere. Compared to the often distressing accounts of rape, paedophilia and murder which fill our news, a "groper" may seem a much minor example of wrongdoing, but to the victim the abuse will have been searing - for it is sexual abuse. It has been something I have experienced several times in my life, mostly on public transport and in the workplace, and each event, one or two potentially dangerous, is unforgettable for me: it may be that some of you, reading this, will have your own memories.
So, why did a modern political party in the UK allow this claimed dishonouring of its female members? There are several strands to the debate, but two key questions are over the apparent culture of sexual chauvinism, direct or indirect, and the professionalism in the handling of serious complaints against one of its most senior executives. It is looking more and more as if the allegations were well known within the Party for some years, but that both because the accused was powerful and effective and because there was an ethos almost of amateurism within this political group then far from any chance of office, the complaints were fumbled and then shelved.
It is a sorry story, for the women involved and indeed those who were asked to help them and who seem to have failed them. Hopefully, with these revelations and reminders, future complaints by anyone who has been so dishonoured, anywhere, will be taken seriously, and lessons will have been learned. We could be doing so much better by now.
Claire Montanaro is a spiritual teacher, channel and blogger with special interest in esoteric philosophy and the world in transition. Loves nature and wildlife. Author of “Spiritual Wisdom”.