Willie Jackson and John Tamihere talked to an 18 year old girl called Amy this afternoon on their RadioLive show. Amy said she was the friend of a girl who had been raped by one of the two boys at the centre of the Roastbusters’ investigation. Jackson and Tamihere’s questions and tone explained everything you need to know about why rape has an astonishingly low conviction rate.
Interviewer – You know when you’re going to parties? Were you forced to drink?
Amy – No, I didn’t drink then, but now when we see them at parties they’re completely sober and they’re giving the girls drinks. They buy drinks to give to girls and they don’t drink them themselves.
Interviewer – Ok. Don’t youse guys know what these guys are up to? You seem to be pretty savvy about it.
Amy – The thing is, someone on the radio before said the girls shouldn’t be taking the drinks from strangers, but around these parties they are well known.
Interviewer – Yeah, but the girls shouldn’t be drinking anyway, should they?
Willie and J.T. cover two points in one go in this: firstly, that women should know what some boys are “up to” and stay away from them, and secondly, that women shouldn’t drink. It is possible, for that second point, that the interviewer meant that the girls shouldn’t drink because they are under the legal age, but I suspect that they would have had the same opinion if the “girls” were 18.
I wonder how is it possible for anyone to say that raping a woman is being “up to something”, but it does fit nicely with the accepted societal attitude that “boys will be boys”, or – as John Key put it – that the boys need to “grow up”. I don’t think we need to make hay out of Key’s comment, I don’t for a second think he has any time for this criminal behaviour, but it is an interesting choice of words that reflects the overall “boys will be boys” language, at best, or attitude, at worst of society on this issue. It also fits well with one of the interviewers’ comments later in the piece: “did you not know that they were up to this mischief?
Girls, of course, shouldn’t drink until they lose control of themselves. Neither should boys. Or men, Or women. It’s bad for you and dangerous. Equally, however, other people shouldn’t rape you, or assault you, or bash you because you are drunk. They shouldn’t use drunkenness to take power or dignity from someone, and using alcohol to intentionally do that is appalling. It’s one of the reasons why people think child abuse is so awful: it horrifically exploits vulnerability. Beating someone up when they are drunk is still a crime.
Interviewer – You see, why is it that it’s only taken you sort of like this arvo to stand up to say hey, I say this happened? Were you subjected to, or did you witness any of these acts yourself? …. A lot more girls who might have consented who are identified might just line up and say that they were raped as well…. What a mess.
This makes being raped and reporting it when you are a teenager, let alone an adult, sound like reporting that your wallet was stolen. Being raped is emotionally devastating, and sharing it with someone a very brave and scary thing to do, and yet these interviewers wonder why young girls haven’t reported these crimes. Haven’t told their parents. Haven’t confronted how they feel about what has happened, and dealt with all the fall out among their peers and across social media? In fact, so easy is it to state that you have been raped – according to these interviewers – other girls might just join in for the hell of it: they “might just line up and say they were raped as well”.
Interviewer – If some of the girls have consented that doesn’t make them rapists, right?
Amy – No… but if they’re still raping other girls it does make them rapists.
Interviewer – Right, right. So what you’re saying is that most of the blame is with them because the girls trusted them right?
I admired Amy a lot when she gave her first answer. I suppose that she must have figured out by that point that the interviewers weren’t taking the issue or her courage seriously at all, but she stuck to her very simple point without being jollied along. It’s a shame she didn’t then say: “no, I’m saying ALL of the blame is with them.” The word trust seems so badly used here. Do men need to be trusted not to rape, or should we be able to take that for granted, you know, in a better world? Most of the blame? Most. I see where they’re going with all of this. Girls who get drunk at parties in dodgy clothes with dodgy boys and get raped,,, well, they were asking for it. But it’s really not like that. Maybe it is dumb, maybe it does increase risk, but that doesn’t legitimatize anything. It makes nothing ok.
Interviewer – So that’s why I’m getting a bit confused here. The girls like them, the girls think they’re handsome, the girls go out with them, and then you say they get raped, right? Ok….Then the other side comes into it, women drinkers, all those questions come in.
Confused? What they are confused over, I guess, is the difference between two people with equal amounts of power agreeing to have sex, and one person raping the other person. But then I guess this is the argument of Blurred Lines.
What do they make dreams for
When you got them jeans on
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Which irked a lot of people, and made others furious. The lines that are missing from those lyrics are, “and then you say ‘let’s get nasty’, and I say, ‘really?’ and you say, “stop talking and take off that shirt.'” Which doesn’t scan well, but is about consent and not about rape.
And here we are talking about culture again. Nothing pleased me more this week than Lorde telling Kanye West she liked his music but not his message. Maybe the media industry is right. Maybe there really is no connection between misogynist, violent lyrics in songs; and video games that permit violence towards women; and an endless stream of images that silence and sexualize women, on the minds of some men and women in society. But I reckon most people think that is b/s.
Like the media b/s Willie and J.T. were peddling today. I will be making a complaint to the BSA, one that applies to broadcasts which allegedly encourage viewers to break the law, or glamorise, promote or condone criminal activity.
I reckon you should too.
Update: After reviewing the BSA standards for radio it seems Talk Back radio is free to do pretty much whatever it likes. Better just email Willie and J.T. then.