This was going to go into my Weekend News-Surfing, but honestly, it deserves mentioning all on its own.

On Sunday 15th March, a man described as:

“white and of average build and height… wearing a black leather jacket with the sleeves pushed up and denim jeans with a Union Jack pattern on the back pocket… brown workman-style boots with laces… balding with dark shaven hair, his face was unshaven and he had noticeably yellow teeth”

inappropriately touched three girls, one aged nine, in Stefan Leys Pocket Park, Daventry, Northamptonshire. Police are asking for witnesses who may have been in the park between 2:3o PM and 3:30 PM to recall whether they saw a man of this description.

They’ve had information from one woman already saying that her daughter was approached by a man who offered her cash.

Now, I know that the Fems are based a bit North of this, but I think it’s worth shouting out about – because you never know who might see it.

Another Northamptonshire girl, aged 10, was sexually assaulted while witha friend on Friday 20th March in Brook Street, Raunds, near Wellingborough. The police say that they don’t believe the two incidents are connected, although the only description that they have been able to provide of the second man is that he was white.

I’m not a police officer, I’d hope that they’ve got information that I haven’t been able to glean from the BBC articles. But the incidents certainly look similar – the girls in both cases were pre-teens, they were with a friend or friends, and they’ve all been either inappropriately touched or sexually assaulted in public places by a white man.

In any case, whether it’s one man or more than one man really isn’t the issue. The point is that this man or men have been able to do this. I was blogging recently about the effect that 10 years’ worth of low-level street harassment has had on me. That can be nothing compared to the effect that this man/men will have had on these young girls.

I know it’s in the news because it panders to the stereotypes – a stranger in the bushes. That doesn’t matter. Stereotypes we can deal with later. Men walking up to young girls in broad daylight and sexually assaulting them – that needs to be dealt with now.

Please, if you know anything, talk to the police. If you don’t know anything, spread the word.

Before I brave the snowy wastes of the Hill of Doom (a requirement of leaving my flat, these days!) I’d like to share a few stories I found.

The good:

Spinal Tap (of This Is Spinal Tap fame) are recording new material. I do have a soft spot for Spinal Tap, if only because of the quotes  that they provide me with. “Certainly, in the topsy-turvy world of heavy rock, having a good solid piece of wood in your hand is often useful” springs to mind. As it were.

The bad:

Carol Thatcher has referred to somebody as a “golliwog”. I say no more.

The ugly:

Yet another sexual assualt makes it into the news. This time by a sixteen year old boy, who’s pled guilty in Scotland to “lewd and libdinous practices and behaviour” towards a three year-old girl. He’s previously been convicted in England of taking an indecent photograph, and sexually touching a girl “under 14”, which earned him a 12-month referral order. Anybody think he might be getting worse?

The downright painful:

Doctors remove a healthy kidney (from a living donor) through her vagina. Apparently, “removing the kidney through ‘a natural orifice’ speeds up recovery and gives a better cosmetic result – avoiding a six inch abdominal scar”.

Altogether now… OUCH!

“Once the kidney was cut from its attachments to the abdominal wall and its arteries and veins were stapled shut, the surgeons placed the kidney in a plastic bag inserted through an incision in the vaginal wall and pulled it out through the vaginal opening with a string attached to the bag.”

The article goes on to say that the surgeons hope that this will mean that more women become donors.

I’ll leave that thought to sit for a while, along with this one: is it only me that’s wondering whether vaginas scar too?

And, just for good measure, I had a quick look at The Grauniad, and by ignoring any articles likely to annoy me, I found two that I actually liked. Amazing! Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science* column says that “nothing has changed, people continue to have stupid ideas, newspapers continue to laud them, and lives will be lost”. Worth remembering. Stupidity really can kill, especially if you deny the existance of HIV/Aids.

Lastly, Kira Cochrane has issues with all of the newspapers going for sensationalism over sense regarding the Children’s Society report – perhaps she read my blog and extrapolated?! Funny, she seems to have missed her own newspaper from her list. But they do devote a good five paragraphs to the working-mothers debate. Out of sixteen. Just less than a third of the article, then. So maybe it’s not too bad. Right? Or maybe, since it’s The Grauniad, it was just a typo that left it out of her list? Yeah. Must be that.

Edited To Add: Can’t anything be good? Ben Goldacre, I am officially disappointed.

Hat tip to The F-Word.