In response to the whole Richard Dawkins – Rebecca Watson debacle, below is the conversation that should have taken place.
Women “Rebecca Watson was alone late last night here in Dublin, a foreign country to her. She was on her way back to her hotel room when she got into an elevator. Inside, there was a man also attending the CFI Conference. He asked Rebecca if she would like to go back to his room for coffee. This made her feel uncomfortable given the context of being alone, late at night, in an unfamiliar place.”
Men “Oh dear that must have felt unsettling for her, given the context. I hope she is able to feel safe during her stay here. Men should acknowledge that other people have varying perceptions of a situation to that of their own. These perceptions can be due to insecurities resulting from personal or common experiences of a gender, race or sexual orientation.”
Woman “Thanks men, we really appreciate you having empathy in this situation. The practicality of the matter may seem trivial, as the man in the elevator just asked a question, but our greater feeling of safety is all too relevant.”
Men “You’re welcome. So can we go get that coffee now?’
Woman“Yes, this is a much more appropriate context and you’re very thoughtful. Coffee’s on me.”
Now let’s move on.