Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Lap dancing - Lighting a fuse and standing back

(Column for a local newspaper)
I see from the front page of last week's Post that Dundalk lap dancers are eyeing up Letterkenny as a potential venue. I see from page two that 35 counts of sexual assault have been brought against a Donegal man.

Several weeks ago the Post ran an article on the sex shop in Letterkenny, and the same issue featured separate articles on rape fears on the L.I.T. campus and sex abuse charges.

It seems to me that if you keep throwing petrol on a fire you can't be surprised when people get burned. So it shouldn't surprise us that, as sexuality is touted openly in Letterkenny, we will see an increase in sexual violence. We have opened a Pandora's box and haven't the intelligence to close it.

It's time that nightclubs started to take their community obligations seriously. On the one hand they load young men with alcohol and then turn them out into the street where drunken brawls are inevitable. On the other hand they charge up their hormones, raising them to fever pitch by the 'look but don't touch' show, and send them off into the night where females are also making their way home. And they seem unwilling to take responsibility for the violence, sexual or otherwise, that results.

True, individuals need to accept responsibility, but so too do nightclubs and sex shops. You can't run around lighting gunpowder trails and then abdicate responsibility when the barrel explodes and people get injured.

Sexual arousal is not something that can be turned off at the flick of a switch. Sex is a fantastic gift from God to be enjoyed within certain parameters. Otherwise it results in hurt, pain and regret. Perhaps that's why God says in a book of the Bible completely given over to the joy of sexuality, "Do not arouse or awaken love until the time is right." (Song of Solomon 8:4).

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