Forget comparisons to the expenses scandal or the idea that it’s just about politicians. This is a problem in every workplace

Allegations of sexual assault in Westminster are being minimised. This isn’t paranoia – here is my handsy (geddit girls?!) breakdown on how it’s happening.

1. Conflate a bit of knee-touching with rape. As the daft spreadsheet circulating in the press includes affairs and “fornication” as well as consensual sex and Non Disclosure Agreements, a key part in playing down the allegations is to mislead the public into thinking sexual harassment is just boisterousness. Actually, what we have are teams of men confident that their behaviour will be tolerated and go without consequences. But by confusing consensual and non-consensual sex – concepts apparently too difficult for so many of our elected representatives to grasp – the seriousness of these allegations is undermined.

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