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The sexual inquisition is about vengeance not justice

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri opens in the UK next month. The plot revolves around a woman called Mildred Hayes whose daughter has been raped and murdered.

Ultimately, this is a film about forgiveness and redemption. People are redeemed not only if they repent for the harm they have done but also if they forgive those who have hurt them.

This is not to say that bad deeds can be brushed aside. The film certainly makes no excuses for rape or murder. Some of the men being accused at the moment are said to have committed serious sexual crimes; if so, they should be prosecuted. But the agenda behind the hysteria is clearly far broader.

For guilt is being assumed merely on the word of the accusers; and serious charges are being lumped together with minor lapses such as lewd or suggestive remarks or the kind of male flirtatiousness that was once regarded as acceptable.

The purpose of this overreaction is to damn all chaps as congenital cavemen and portray women as victims of male patriarchy. It has little to do with justice, looking instead suspiciously like a campaign of collective vengeance against the male sex.

To read my whole Times column (£), please click here.

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