Peter Roebuck, celebrated cricket writer, commentator and former player, jumped to his death in South Africa some days ago, in a suicide that has shocked the cricket world. Just before he jumped, Roebuck was being questioned about a sexual assault complaint filed against him by a 26-year-old man he befriended on Facebook. Roebuck was to be detained.
After the suicide, another man claimed that Roebuck had made him feel uncomfortable. A radio host from Triple M, Gus Worland, who was a rookie cricketer in the Somerset team captained by Roebuck, said he and Roebuck were having dinner at a restaurant in 1985 when the writer started asking him some personal questions. Worland was 18. "I picked up a vibe from him and it made me feel very uncomfortable. He was talking in a way that was very inappropriate."
Another SA man Henk Lindeque claimed Roebuck "made a sort of advance" on him and also assaulted him. Lindeque said Roebuck put an arm around him while they were watching cricket at Roebuck's home. Lindeque claimed he moved away. He added that he was one of the cricketers Roebuck had caned on the buttocks years ago, as punishment during a coaching stint and he made him pull off his shorts in order to look at the marks.
Women are accused of being gold diggers or attention seekers when they complain about inappropriate behaviour, accusing a man of the offence after a few years. Cynics often snigger about why they had not spoken earlier. Usually, one woman first points a finger at a celebrity, after which, other women gather the courage to speak out. This me-too syndrome, is often treated with derision. This time, there are men doing the same thing. It would be interesting to see the reaction if more men start making accusations. Would they be dismissed like women are? Judge accusers by the same yardstick.