The man, who cannot currently be named for legal reasons, is suing various London authorities for what he says are a spate of serious sexual assaults occurring daily between 1992 and the present day – mainly while travelling on the London Underground.
In a bizarre turn of events, the man, from Leeds, is suing the authorities on the grounds of brand-new Government legislation. The recently passed Sexual assault by a foreign body allowed to infiltrate a public/private space, under the responsibility of the authority in charge of that public/private space law was passed by Parliament in May 2013, and states that “any foreign body allowed to infiltrate a public/private space may be held responsible for sexual assault or any other kind of assault or harm, and that as a direct result, the organisation or person/people/authority in charge may be held fully accountable for any offences which have been allowed to take place as a result of incompetence or negligence also”.
At the heart of the case is the man’s allegation that, over many months and years, the wind has been at the centre of a slew of sexual assaults which could have been prevented by one certain authority.
The authority, which manage transport for London, have declined comment.
Experts fear that the case could open the flood-gates for countless copy-cat lawsuits which could bring authorities across the country – and indeed the world – to task over countless violations made on public transport and much more. According to Barrister Keith Jowman, most likely to use the law are men in shorts and women wearing short skirts, with the possibility of some offences being back-dated as many as 40 years, mirroring the recent historical sex abuse scandals which rocked the BBC.
The law, and future variations of it, could potentially affect authorities in charge of restaurants, museums and theatres, as well as hospital waiting rooms and anywhere else where windows are a common feature. Ironically, some experts suggest that the Government’s own employees and workplaces could be most at risk of involvement in some cases.
According to Doctor Ariashkah Rosenberg of Sweden’s Natural Sciences Committee, this is not the first time that the wind has been at the centre of such serious allegations – although it can be said that this land-mark case is the first time the wind as a sexual predator has been taken this seriously.
“For the last 25 years I’ve been studying the intense and often serious psychological effects of wind abuse on people in public and private places,” she said. “The wind may seem entirely harmless to most people, but to ignore the serious nature of a particularly violent under-door draught is to ignore a great many claims which are grounded very much in reality. Besides that, nobody wants to live in a world where passing wind could be considered sexual abuse.”
She went on to add: “just to put any worries to rest before they have a chance to flourish and spread on social networks, passing wind will never be considered sexual abuse – at least it’s highly unlikely in our life-time. Even if some of us wish that was not the case…”
This is not the first time that London authorities have come up against such opposition, either. Back in 2009, the aforementioned London authority were warned that they would need to be seen to be doing something about the windows in London Underground Tube carriages, which often allow an unsettling level of wind through the carriages, disturbing commuters and violating their basic human rights.
We spoke to several commuters about the wind and it’s effect on their health and general well-being. Many made it clear that the legislation is at odds with the wind in this scenario, which is often seen as a positive effect on the lives of commuters.
“I think I can speak for all the other poor b******* on my tube when I say that the wind is an essential thing on the London Underground, particularly in the summer,” said Paul Wilmington of Derby. “Seriously, I don’t actually know what the f*** I would do if I couldn’t open the f****** windows in August…
Fellow commuter, Paula Spank said “aside from the fact that the wind isn’t particularly kind to a man I often see on the tube, who wears an horrific wig, bloody hells, dunno what I’d do without it! [Sic]”.
Linda M from Hull said that “my skirt always blows up and it can be very embarrassing — I think the new law could help restore some of my dignity.”
Experts fear that similar lawsuits – which, according to Mr Jowman, could see authorities fined as much as £30,000 per case – could create a society where these kind of court-cases are allowed to proliferate in the same way that personal accident & injury cases have done in the last decade. A society in which draughts, gusts of wind and breezes could cost the UK economy in excess of £5 billion over the next five years, potentially bringing the UK to its knees.
But there is one man who thinks that this could all be a good thing.
Doctor Michael Partridge, of Michigan University, USA, has been studying the soothing effects of the wind for more than 38 years. When asked to comment on the case, which is currently being considered, he said “the wind is a fantastic thing, I think, and it would be horrendous to think we are moving towards a society where it is not allowed to permeate our every-day lives in some shape or form. I have wonderful memories of draughts as a youngster, for example, and although many older women – and indeed moany old men – seem to find draughts highly unpleasant, I see no reason to make a sexual predator out of the wind.”
The case continues.