Friday, June 04, 2004

Blaming the victim

Troppo Armadillo wonders what crime Joanna Lees comitted to have her private life dragged through the mud:
Her crime? The Yorkshire lass who set off for the trip of a lifetime had the misfortune to become a victim of crime, then a victim of media speculation.
What’s worse, she didn’t take a media handling course before she was catapaulted into this extraordinary nightmare.
What’s worse still, she committed some additional crimes (that only 90 per cent of today’s youth would identify with): she took recreational drugs and had an affair that has sent the tabloids into a self-righteous frenzy – as if we all lived in monasteries.

By far the worst offender in this sorry cycle of "blame the victim" has been the "Daily Telegraph". When Lees's affair came out in court this was front page news in the "Tele", covered in such lurid style that you could be forgiven for thinking she was the one on trial. And the Tele has form. The Telegraph was also the paper that decided to splash a picture of the alleged victim in the Bulldogs rape scandal on its front page. Sure, her face was "blurred", but in such a token way that you could easily recognise her again. The Tele couldn't have delivered a bigger "fuck you" to the ethical guidelines against identifying accusors in rape cases if they tried.

Alas, it seems we're back to the bad old days of the tabloid media putting the victim on trial. If we ever left them. It's a wonder anyone comes forward with information on a crime at all.