Slut Shaming and Victim Blaming: What is this world coming to?!

Barrister Barbara Hewson: One scary lady!
Barrister Barbara Hewson: One scary lady!

A recent news article that I had the misfortune of stumbling across earlier today has raised a few questions in my mind about what on earth this world is coming to.
A human rights lawyer (also bear in mind that said human rights lawyer is in fact a woman) has called for the age of consent to be lowered to 13; not because teenagers are mature enough at that age to have sex, but because she thinks that old men accused of sexually abusing underage girls (or boys for that matter!) should be protected. In other words, they should have access to children under the age of consent (which is 16 here in the UK, I know it varies from place to place) without suffering legal consequences.

I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in.

This call for a change in the law has been made in the wake of the Jimmy Savile case which has unearthed a multitude of other celebrities accused of sexual abuse offences; including Rolf Harris (I know, I was shocked too! My childhood is now officially tainted!)
The human rights lawyer Barrister Barbara Hewson states:

“Touching a 17-year-old’s breast, kissing a 13-year-old, or putting one’s hand up a 16-year-old’s skirt’ are not comparable to cases such as the Ealing Vicarage rape or Fordingbridge gang rape and murders from 1986.” Adding “Anyone suggesting otherwise has lost touch with reality.”  

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Jimmy Savile

In other words, old men should be allowed to shove their hands up teenage girls’ skirts at will without consequence because after all; it’s not as bad as rape or murder.

What she’s suggesting has little to do with consent at all. Unwanted sexual abuse, in whatever form, is just that; unwanted. Whether the person is thirteen or thirty. Therefore, consent does not even factor in. So even if the age of consent is lowered, an individual still has to consent to any sexual contact. Assuming these people that have made sexual abuse accusations were touched without consent; then those men are still in the wrong whether the law is changed or not. 

In her backwards twisted logic, Hewson obviously thinks that by changing the age of consent, it means that every teenager above thirteen years old is free game to any person that fancies a go. Otherwise, her argument that changing the law of consent will protect paedophiles is completely void, they would still be in trouble for sexual abuse or sexual harassment irregardless of the fact that the person they abused was of consenting age. Rape is still rape no matter the age of the victim. 

The other quote that threw me was this:

“We should focus on arming today’s youngsters with the savoir-faire and social skills to avoid drifting into compromising situations”

Rolf Harris was recently arrested after sexual abuse allegations. He hasn't been prosecuted.
Rolf Harris was recently arrested after sexual abuse allegations. He hasn’t been prosecuted.

We’ve moved from advocating that ‘old men’ should be allowed to grope and fiddle with teenagers all they like to victim shaming. What is it with our society that deems fit to tell victims what they’re doing wrong rather than attack the problem at its cause? It is not down to the victim to protect themselves it’s down to the perpetrators to learn the difference between right and wrong! Why shouldn’t young women be able to go out in short skirts and make themselves look nice? Why is our society so intent on telling victims what they need to do differently? The people in the wrong are the ones that are breaking the law. We should be teaching people not to rape! Not teaching people how not to get raped. And just because shoving a hand up someones skirt and copping a feel isn’t as bad as rape or murder, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t an atrocious, hideous act of indecency and lack of respect; and for many people it’s incredibly humiliating and sometimes emotionally damaging.

We’re living in a scary, backwards society. In theory things like rape, murder and sexual abuse shouldn’t happen full stop; so why isn’t the government trying to eradicate those things? By teaching potential victims how to avoid situations rather than teaching potential perpetrators that doing certain things is wrong we are ultimately letting the perpetrators know that they can do these things without consequence because it’s the victims fault for not getting away from the situation.

Slut shaming is another term for victim blaming, and it’s in reference to women that go out dressed provocatively. Apparently if a woman goes out wearing a sexy outfit and she gets raped, she was asking for it. Because apparently men are animals and aren’t responsible for their actions. Now frankly, that attitude is more offensive towards men, because those of us that don’t spend all our lives living under ground and avoiding human contact know that the vast majority of men are not animals, and they are in fact capable of being decent human beings; I know, that’s a shock right? *rolls eyes*

What this woman is doing (or would be doing if her wishes were granted) is putting thousands of teenagers in danger of being

Slut shaming: A disgusting attitude towards rape and sexual abuse
Slut shaming: A disgusting attitude towards rape and sexual abuse

abused. The laws are more lax surrounding sexual abuse towards people of consenting age because more proof is required in order to ascertain that the act was definitely unwanted. If someone under the age of 16 is sexually abused it’s an immediate offence because they’re not of consenting age. By lowering the age of consent in order to protect abusers, we would be putting teenagers in danger or being violated before they’re emotionally ready or even educated enough to deal with such a thing. I don’t disagree that teenagers are ‘ready’ long before they’re 16, not all but some, and the age of consent certainly doesn’t stop anyone doing what they want on the quiet! And it probably wouldn’t hurt to lower the age, however lowering it simply on the grounds that it would protect abusers from being prosecuted is disgusting. You do the crime, you do the time, it’s simple! Her argument suggested that this ‘witch hunt’ on ageing celebs including Rolf Harris and Jim Davidson, is unfair on them. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you committed the crime, you should still be brought to justice.  It is a shame that these people accusing them of abuse are only just coming out of the woodwork now rather than saying something when it happened but there we go.

It disgusts and appalls me that anyone would dream of lowering the age of consent to protect vile men and women that choose to violate teenagers. That isn’t grounds to change any law and lowering the age of consent and enabling paedophiles to grope teenagers without consequence (because remember, it’s not as bad as rape or murder.A random stranger sticking their hand up your skirt is perfectly fine)  is playing God with said teenagers bodies, and it would immediately put them in a position where people could abuse them much easier.

Why are we as a society so keen to protect those that do wrong? Why are we so quick to blame the victims? And why on earth does rape or sexual abuse immediately become the victims problem when the issue quite clearly lies with the perpetrator?! I am, quite frankly, scared of what the future will hold in the UK if people like this woman continue to be allowed in positions of power.In a nut shell, if it were enforced this change in the age of consent would make teenagers bodies readily available for dirty old perverts to do what they want. And that’s the bottom line, this woman wants the age of consent changed in order to protect rapists and paedophiles. What is this world coming to?

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20 thoughts on “Slut Shaming and Victim Blaming: What is this world coming to?!

  1. I’ve spent a bit of time thinking about, discussing and talking about rape in general, after a young girl was attacked on a bus and gang raped in India last year.

    The blaming is what gets to me. The unnecessary outrage blaming everything in sight being responsible for some men to violate others is such a travesty beyond the actual act itself. Why is it that these criminals aren’t given any sort of accountability for their actions?! Instead It’s the media’s fault for showing illicit content, it’s how they dress, it’s desensitizing youth to sex through movies, etc etc. Disgusting!

    I briefly discuss where the responsibility falls in the long run when it comes to rape or sexual abuse here:
    http://blankpagebeatdown.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/media-accountability-parents-responsibility-part-1-slippery-slope/

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    1. Agreed, that and the media causing moral panics. There are substantially less paedophiles etc out there than the media would have you believe, yet when something happens they make it seem like they’re round every corner!
      Great post by the way! 😀 I’ll have a proper read of it in a bit…just woken up xD

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      1. I think the Media is hugely responsible for a LOT. However, ultimately, the only way to change collective prejudices and misconceptions is for parents to take a more active role in influencing the perception of their children… before the outside world has a chance to.

        Without that sort of responsible influence… you have people like this lawyer, who has skewed senses of morality and justifications.

        Thanks, looking forward to your comments. Oh and good morning. 😉

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      2. Definitely, it should be down to the parents to teach their kids and not the media…unfortunately now though we have more parents out working and spending less time with their children, so the children end up being brought up on TV and the internet.
        My guess would be that this lawyer hasn’t ever had children, if she had I’m pretty sure she’d have a very different attitude!

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    1. A change of attitude towards it would be a start, but unfortunately we’ve got to the stage where there probably isn’t anything.
      The way children are brought up; girls (and boys as well to an extent) are taught not to go out dressed in a certain way, not to get into dangerous situations etc etc…but yet, never are children taught not to rape, or not to sexually abuse!
      I remember in our sex education class a long time ago, we had to do this task where we sat with one of the mentors that were from the sixth form (so a lot older than us) and act out a scene…the sixth form person would ask ‘do you want to go upstairs’ and we had to say no, and the task was we had to say no and then find a way out of the situation.
      Not once did they tell us not to pressure people into sex…all they taught us was how to avoid the situation.
      I honestly think that’s where we’re going wrong.

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  2. Wow, so well written. It will never stop and with some cultures still stoning the victim or forcing her to marry her rapist there is a long way to go.
    Women (and men) must teach their daughters that it is not their fault or their shame to speak up.
    Men (and women) have to step in and hold these men and some women up for judgement.
    As a society, we need laws with teeth to say, we will put you in prison and publicly shame you.
    For the female barrister to say such rot is disgusting. She is a disgrace to her profession and society as a whole.

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    1. Thanks 🙂
      Sad but true, I don’t think we’ll change things
      She’s a disgrace to women also! I know a lot of people with children are outraged at the thought that their 13-16 year olds would be of legal age because so many teens aren’t mature enough physically or mentally.
      Good job no one is taking this horrible woman seriously!

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