Thursday, 30 July 2009

"Is that the only experience you've had?"

That tactless phrase is what Kyle Sandilands said when a 14 year old girl announced on the Kyle and Jackie O radio programme on 2Day FM that she was raped.

The reason? She was attached to a lie detector and asked this question by her mother.

What the girl said was:
"I've already told you the story about this ... and don't look at me and smile because it's not funny.
Oh, okay, I got raped when I was 12 years old."

People are calling this child abuse.

The police are going to investigate the crime.

But the news reports are varied, most are about 2Day FM, because it was on their show.

I'm wondering why exactly they asked a 14 year old girl about her sexual history.

A joint statement, which is mentioned in the first link says:
"A young girl's sexual experience is not relevant or appropriate for the entertainment of anyone.''
Which I believe is perfectly true. However, the show in question has done things that involve sex, which was mentioned on Media Watch. However in past cases it appears that their shows might not breach any standards, because they don't regulate bad taste.

I get the strange feeling that this might be the case as well.

The ABC has reported that Kyle Sandilands has said the privacy of the girl should be protected.

Yes. The privacy of the girl should be protected. However the report goes on to say:
But this morning, Sandilands criticised news organisations for making the 14-year-old's private situation "one of the biggest news stories of the day".

"If you want to have a go at me, go me. I'd rather you go for me than the girl or the mother," he said.

But the thing is that it wasn't the news organisations that made her private life "one of the biggest news stories of the day". It was their show.

If the question was not asked while the girl was attached to the lie detector and as far as I'm aware the concept actually involves things that people would usually keep private. It's rather hypocritical in a way to suggest that the rest of the media shouldn't report on stuff like that.

However Sandilands is somewhat right. I don't think anyone has had a go at the girl. From what was mentioned on the radio the girl told her mother that she was raped and, from what I can gather, wasn't believed (why else would the girl say that it wasn't funny?), and has had to live without seeing her rapist get justice.

The mother however, is still fair game. As the person who asked the questions she could have just not asked that question. Her reaction after the question was asked is also something that just sets off alarm bells.

According to a piece written by Sandilands on The Punch:

The mum hadn’t said anything about the rape. She was concerned that her daughter was on drugs or was sexually active. Like a lot of mothers worried about their kid, she just wanted to find out what was going on.

So, just in case you didn't get that. The mother was worried that her daughter was taking drugs or was sexually active. She didn't tell the producer of the show (Jackie O says something similar here.) that her daughter told her that she was raped.

If the mother was indeed worried about her daughter I would have thought that she would ask her in private, not drag her on to a radio show that is syndicated nationwide. If this was the last resort then that's probably because the girl felt that she couldn't trust her mother.

People are however starting to think about rape and the problems that victims face. On todays episode of Hack on Triple J, they were talking about the difficulties that rape victims have telling family and others about their experience. Hopefully this event will see a change in how Australians think of rape.

However, I think that Kyle and Jackie O will need to think of a new thing to do instead of a lie detector. Too bad I don't have any power.

I don't think we'll ever know why this girl told what has turned out to be all of Australia that she was raped. I don't think we'll ever know.

(End note: I'm mentioning 2Day FM, which is the name of the Sydney station, and not SAFM, the affiliate, because this segment was cut from the rebroadcast show that we get.)

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