As the days grew shorter this month, the list of men accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape, grew longer. As did their excuses and denials – their ‘vigorous,’ ‘repeated’ and ‘absolute’ denials according to the reports. But so too did the sound of fury and outrage from women across the world, and behind that the whisper of yet more women: women who haven’t spoken out or marched in public, but who listened to the radio, watched the television, scrolled through social media feeds, and made their own minds up.
Whatever the legal system decides, the parade of male bad behaviour on show was as unsurprising as it was depressing.
Then, like a shaft of golden autumn sunlight through rusted leaves, the good news began to filter through: Donna Strickland became the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 55 years, Frances Arnold, along with two male colleagues, was recognised for Chemistry. Finally, perhaps most poignantly, and possibly with the most impact, the peace prize went to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.
And, as a bonus, Zoe Ball got the Breakfast Show job on Radio 2, the first woman to do so, nearly 20 years after she became the first female presenter of the Radio 1 Breakfast Show.
It all gave me some hope that it’s not Winter that’s coming, but Spring.