‘You used to be able to slap a woman’s backside for a laugh but now you would get arrested – it is a bit over the top.’
This I have heard at least half a dozen times in recent years from a variety of a acquaintances – men and women – who all have one thing in common: they all remember the 1960s and 1970s.
Last week, former Radio One DJ Dave Lee Travis was given a suspended three-month jail sentence for an indecent assault on a 22-year-old television worker nearly two decades ago.
Because the jury believed her evidence, DLT, the man who contributed to the soundtrack of the lives of millions of us over 35, is a convicted sex offender.
True, he had previously been acquitted of 12 similar charges against nine women earlier this year and in his most recent trial he was not convicted of two further counts, but he is still a sex offender in the eyes of the law.
After he was spared jail last week DLT, a belligerent man known for his huge personality, could not resist the banks of microphones and television cameras which awaited him as he left the court building.
He told how he was “mortified” by his conviction and pointed to his many acquittals which he said proved he was not a sexual predator. He did not once say sorry to his victim, who has since spoken of the ordeal of being branded a “fantasist and a liar”.
That the judge in his case said it was an “intentional and unpleasant sexual assault” mattered not to the Hairy Cornflake (undoubtedly the most ridiculous celebrity nickname of all time).
There are clearly many out there who agree with his stance that he has fallen foul of a witch hunt which was started to make up for the authorities doing nothing to stop pervert Jimmy Savile while he was alive. One female commentator said DLT deserved a kick in the family jewels and should not have been dragged through a crown court trial. That is missing the point – the charge he was convicted of carries a maximum two-year jail term so it is serious. That women in the 1960s, 70s and 80s used to mete out their own justice is of little relevance to DLT’s case.
The world has changed – we live in a society where discrimination is no longer considered to be a laugh and where the victims of sexual offence feel they can speak out. This current purge of out-of-date attitudes is a good thing and anything but a politically correct witch hunt.