John Laws. Blaming the Victim
The below article was originally published at The Hoopla, see it here.
They say context is everything, but even context can’t redeem John Laws and his comments to a sexual abuse victim this week.
On Tuesday the radio talkback host asked a 44 year old listener called Carol if it had been “her fault” that she had been sexually abused by five members of her family from the age of six.
The woman had told Laws that her father, her uncle, and her brothers abused her for nine years.
“My god, they were having a good time with you,” Laws said.
After telling Laws that her mother ultimately believed that she was at fault, Laws asked her: “Was it in any way your fault? You weren’t provocative?”
“I was a little girl, so I don’t think so John. No, I was just a little girl.”
After nine years of abuse the woman finally found the courage to consult a social worker at age 15 – the year before her father kicked her out of home.
As she broke down on air, Laws asked: “Are you unattractive?”
“I don’t think so. I think I’m all right,” she said.
“You sound all right,” Laws encouraged.
You can hear the entire exchange – and get the context – here, thanks to Radio Today.
Today Laws has defended himself and said that Carol wasn’t offended by his line of questioning. He tried to give interviewers some context.
He told smh.com.au “I didn’t ask her if she had been sexually provocative. She said she had been a naughty little girl and she behaved in that way to get attention because she thought she was unattractive.
“We were then talking about when she was 15 years old. Now, a 15 year old can be provocative.”
Laws has also told Channel 7 news: “Probably if I upset anybody by using the word provocative, then I’m very sorry. It may in hindsight have been a bad choice of words.”
Do you think?
John Laws, neither provocative dress nor behavior is an invitation for unwanted sexual activity. There is no action or dress that gives one person the right to violate another person. No one ever “asks” to be raped. Forcing someone to engage in non-consensual sexual activity is sexual assault, regardless of the way that person dresses or acts.
And yet Laws keeps digging his grave.
On Sunrise this morning, his response to the question about how could it possibly have been the victim’s fault, Laws’ response is: “if she allowed it to happen” before the interviewer interrupts and says “she’s six year old, seven years old, eight years old, nine!” and Laws interrupts saying, “no, no, she’s 15.”
Do we think John Laws needs some education about sexual abuse?
Destroy the Joint is running a petition asking 2SM to apologise and to commit to educating John Laws about rape, victim blaming, and sexual abuse. See it here.
Or maybe he should just pack it in…
Thanks to The Hoopla for allowing us to re-publish this article.
See it at The Hoopla here.