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We don’t say to victims of burglary that their lives don’t seem to have been ruined by having their lawnmower stolen from their garden shed; therefore it wasn’t really burglary.

Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey, film-maker James Toback, director Brett Ratner, along with several members of the British Tory party, have been swept up in the deluge unleashed by Harvey Weinstein, and accused of varying degrees of sexual harassment. On Twitter, there are rumours about who might be the first “Irish Weinstein”. Must every clumsy come-on, every off-colour remark, every uninvited touch, now be reclassified as harassment?

Flirtation is not harassment; lewd banter in a non-mutual, non-sexual context probably is.

Asking someone on a date is usually not harassment; asking them on a date when you’re in a position which makes it difficult for them to refuse might well be.

We don’t say that they put their next lawnmower back in the same shed, therefore they must secretly have enjoyed having it stolen. Likewise, a woman – or a man’s – life doesn’t have to have been ruined for her to have suffered harassment.

She can be a victim of a harassment from strangers; from men passing in cars or walking down the street; from colleagues, bosses and present or former lovers.

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