Monday, 3 August 2009

ignoring it doesn't work

lew at kiwipolitico wrote about the australian radio show in which a 14-year-old girl was strapped to a lie-detector and asked questions about her sex-life by her mother. under questioning, the girl revealed that she had been raped at the age of 12, a fact known by the mother who questioned her. this post at hoydens gives the audio and full transcript of the show, and it shows clearly that the girl was unwilling to be questioned publicly in this way:

Jackie: Alright, we have her hooked up to the Lie Detector! She’s not happy! I just saw her listening to that [bleep]

Daughter: I’m scared. It’s not fair.

Jackie: It wouldn’t be fair on any kid, I tell you. No – they’re sympathising…

Kyle: Is that true, Charles? Is that true?

Charles: That is true.

?Kyle: She is scared, everyone, yeah.

so both presenters know quite clearly that this girl does not want to do this, but are happy to go ahead anyway. the rest of the transcript is even worse. it raises some serious questions about a show that is prepared to put a minor in this situation.

thankfully, there has been quite a bit of outrage about this over in australia, leading to the radio show in question being put into recess (ie not canned completely), and the possibility of one of the hosts being retired as a judge from australian idol.

but all this is a background to this post, by richie at crimitism, about why ignoring this kind of thing is not such a good idea:

Because he thrives on attention, the standard response from both his fanbase and people who ought to know better is “Oh, just ignore him and he’ll go away”. This does not work. It’s always phrased in terms of “giving [whatever] attention”, a use of language which is quite specifically designed to minimise the impact of what’s actually happening, as if the worst thing the person in question has done is made a lot of noise and jumped up and down a bit. Anyone who’s ever been the target of harassment – I’m guessing that’s most of the people reading this – will know that abusers don’t get satisfaction out of their victims acknowledged them, they get satisfaction out of having absolute, unaccountable power over another human being. So long as the victim knows what’s being done to them, that’s enough for most. “Ignore them and they’ll go away” is, to put it bluntly, simply a more palatable way of saying of “Shut up and take it; there’s nothing you can do”, and the victim’s silence and passivity are often the very point of the exercise.

go read the rest of the post, it's really good.


Boganette said...

He's just been sacked as Australian Idol judge.

About time.,28383,25871523-5013560,00.html

Paul said...

Child abuse, live on air. Even without the rape disclosure, this is hideous: nobody should be subjected to an interrogation of this kind, especially not in public.