When Words… Just… Fail

Staff Writer

Wendy Harmer is an author, journalist, and editor-in-chief of The Hoopla website. This article was originally published here at The Hoopla.

Sometimes words… just… fail.

Sometimes we are afraid to acknowledge the dark, nameless uncertainties that lurk in our collective unconscious.

We are doubtful and unsure of giving voice to our every irrational hatred and we don’t speak up for fear of offending our fellow travellers in this life.

How fortunate we are in this country to have a fearless, brave cohort who will ask those questions for us. On the radio.

They do it, not because they want to know for themselves of course, but because they are uniquely equipped to understand what we need to know, and perhaps are too timid or respectful to ask.

Especially when it comes to the sexual mores of women… which leave so many questions unanswered… whether they have been raped, sexually molested or indeed are unmarried and without children.

You weren’t provocative?

Was it in any way your fault?

Are you unattractive?

Right… is that the only sexual experience you’ve had?

…are you in a heterosexual relationship – that’s all I’m asking!

But you hear it: “he must be gay, he’s a hairdresser.”

It’s not me saying it, it’s what people say!

Isn’t it good to know that there are some men speaking up for us… asking the questions the rest of us just do not dare… Or perhaps had never even thought of ?

Veteran shock jock Howard Sattler of 6PR in Perth has been suspended overnight by Fairfax Radio Network for questions asked of Prime Minister Julia Gillard about her partner Tim Mathieson’s sexuality.

A statement by 6PR manager Martin Boylan said Sattler’s line of questioning was “disrespectful and irrelevant to the political debate”. Sattler apologised later in his program.

Sometimes words should fail.

For most decent people they do.

Shame. Sattler. Shame.

Watch it here, and weep.



See the original news piece here.


(The first three questions were put by John Laws on 2SM March, 2013 to listener Carol who detailed a horrendous history of sexual abuse by her family, beginning at age 6. Laws later told his critics to “go to hell”.

The fourth was asked by Kyle Sandilands on 2DAY FM in 2009 of a 14 year-old girl strapped to a lie detector who revealed she was raped at age 12. Sandilands later said: “We’re very sad for the girl and very disappointed and apologetic to anyone who took offence to it.” He was suspended for the incident.)




Wendy Harmer is an author, journalist, and editor-in-chief of The Hoopla website, which you can see here.




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