Verbal abuse in Southwark Cathedral

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Friday 30 December 2011 12.42pm
Just headed off to Southwark Cathedral to view an exhibition in the refectory. As we walked along the enclosed corridor between the cathedral and the refectory, two street drinkers were leaning on a railing at the end by the refectory entrance, the ubiquitous can of strong lager in hand. They asked for money, which I declined, and this triggered a stream of homophobic abuse, with the drinkers shouting "gay boys" as we walked back up the corridor. Having approached a member of the clergy to alert them to this, we were rapidly passed between two further officials, finally ending up with the verger who accompanied us to the exhibition. I have to say, at no point did anyone at the cathedral seem overly concerned by this. Am I over reacting by being genuinely shocked for this to have occurred in Southwark Cathedral of all places?
Friday 30 December 2011 12.55pm
Not over reacting at all. The cathedral people are probably quite nervous about it. They had to close their little garden to the public because of people setting up camp. They probably just don't know how to handle a situation like yours, though I can't help wondering if the abuse had been racist they might have taken some action.
Friday 30 December 2011 2.21pm
Why did you not think to call the police - if you don't think its a 999 then the new number 101. It is still worth reporting it now and also writing to the cathedral to explain what happened and request for a response. cc your letter to the safer neighbourhoods team that covers (presumably) Cathedrals ward. My experience of the cathedral is that is a very gay friendly and gay place.

Sorry to hear about your experience btw. I guess being homeless street drinker does not bring out the peace and love of christmas time but there again if you are a vile piece of humanity it probably predisposes you to becoming homeless
Friday 30 December 2011 3.10pm
Sorry to hear about your experience, that sounds horrible. I would write to the Dean - it's all very well being kind to homeless people but this behaviour - not to mention drinking and begging/harassing on cathedral premises - is totally unacceptable and they should have been ejected.

Just because it's a church doesn't mean anyone can pitch up and behave in such an appalling way - that's just taking the p---
Friday 30 December 2011 4.27pm
i know it's often difficult to think on one's feet when in a similar situation, but the one thing you're meant to do with 'bullies' is challenge them. there & then. i tend to think it's healthier if you like, to 'react' then put up with nonsense. it may have worked or it may not have. it certainly cuts out the 'middle man' or 'enforcement' which too often isn't the answer.
Friday 30 December 2011 6.44pm
Call the police and get a CAT number - no report- no policing?
Friday 30 December 2011 7.00pm
JimG wrote:

Sorry to hear about your experience btw. I guess being homeless street drinker does not bring out the peace and love of christmas time but there again if you are a vile piece of humanity it probably predisposes you to becoming homeless

Yeah because there are no vile pieces of humanity that are well to do are there?

Class Jim.
Saturday 31 December 2011 12.22am
boroughonian wrote:
JimG wrote:

Sorry to hear about your experience btw. I guess being homeless street drinker does not bring out the peace and love of christmas time but there again if you are a vile piece of humanity it probably predisposes you to becoming homeless

Yeah because there are no vile pieces of humanity that are well to do are there?

Class Jim.

No you are right - well to do people = bad, homeless = saintly (even if aggressively begging and committing hate crimes in a church). I am sorry to have even suggested that sometimes people reap what they sow...

Classy Boroughonion
Saturday 31 December 2011 9.44am
boroughonian's right. it's what happened/was said that matters. not where. not who said it.
Saturday 31 December 2011 11.15am
pros wrote:
boroughonian's right. it's what happened/was said that matters. not where. not who said it.


...and yet you label as "bullies" these 2 'gentlemen of the road'. Dont you think, on reflection, that is too judgemental?

I agree that writing them off as vile is too strong and you are right to call me on this. Yes, its behaviour to condem and not the whole person, although this can feel a bit like sophistry.

I use strong language because I feel strongly about the issue of homophobic abuse and the lack of response or taking it seriously. Someone earlier mentioned that if this was racially motivated it would probably have had a much more robust response.
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