What do you think of when you hear that word? Physical violence or hurtful words; are the recipients of both really victims? The term probably has a broader spectrum of use than any other word in the English language today and is certainly a big favourite with the media. We can be ‘victims’ of inappropriate behaviour or of brutal rape and yet these two concepts could not be further apart so why do we use the same word? If you are a victim there is the implication that you have suffered and, that in itself can be relative, but can we honestly say that there is the same level of suffering from an unwanted pat on the bottom and a violent rape or domestic assault?
I am female but I am not a feminist simply because I don’t believe that women separating themselves from men and hurling accusations at them for their perceived transgressions will do anything to bring about equality between the sexes. If anything, I feel that the current witch hunt against high profile men in the film and television industries is actually damaging women’s position in society. It seems that women are now either viewed as poor delicate little flowers who must stick together as protection from nasty men or we are vicious bitches who will screech harassment if a man so much as looks at us in the wrong way!
So, where does that leave women in 2018? If we put the label ‘victim’ on ourselves by complaining about unwanted sexual attentions from 20 or 30 years ago and demanding that justice be done aren’t we actually taking away from women who are suffering genuine oppression and violence? Morgan Freeman’s name is currently all over the news as he has been accused by his victims of inappropriate comments and touching; from the reports that I’ve seen this amounts to compliments about the women’s figures or appearance and a hand on the lower back. Some journalists have labelled Freeman as a ‘sexual predator’; 50 odd years ago the same label was given to Ian Brady who raped, tortured and murdered children and, in both cases, ‘victims’ are referred to. Are we honestly saying that an unwanted hand on the back is the same as the rape, torture and murder of children? So why do we use the word ‘victim’ in both instances?
The current feminist revolution demands that women be ‘strong’ and stand up against the patriarchy. How? By running to the newspapers and crying harassment when a man touches their lower back or says that they’ve got a nice rack? Confronting the man and saying ‘I am not comfortable with you doing that, please stop’ is being strong. Sending out the message that a woman needs the support of thousands of others before she can confront a man about his ‘inappropriate behaviour’ or unwanted sexual attentions is weakness. Not confronting the man himself face to face and letting a rabid pack of journalists and keyboard warriors conduct a trial by media is, in my opinion, spiteful and cowardly. I’m not talking about rape here, that’s a different matter entirely but that’s kind of the point; an unwanted hand on the knee and outdated views shouldn’t cost a man his career….should it?
It seems, these days, that we are constantly called to moral outrage, by the media, in the name of political correctness and I wonder if our senses are becoming dulled to a point that we lose all perspective when faced with real tragedy. There is a video currently doing the rounds on the internet of Morgan Freeman clumsily flirting with a couple of young female journalists and it’s been labelled as ‘disturbing’. The story of a girl who suffered six years of repeated rape and sexual assault at the hands of her stepfather is also described as ‘disturbing’. Have we so lost our grip on the English language (or reality for that matter) that we can honestly equate these two things in any way at all?
I remember a time when you were innocent until proven guilty but, these days, the mere whiff of an accusation can be enough to plaster your name and face all over the media if you’re a rich, famous, newsworthy celebrity. Instead of a trial by a jury of their peers, they face trial by Twitter and the perpetually outraged……..
What do you think? I’d love to hear from you