Friday, 25 April 2014

BBC buys into rape culture...again

The BBC appear to be on a mission to uphold rape culture within our society at every opportunity. Every time I open an article about male violence against women there seems to be misinformation, misleading implications, inaccuracies, victim blaming and shifting the focus away from or minimising appalling male behaviour. This article about a boy who repeatedly rape his young sister is no different.

The main sentence I have an issue with is:

"The attacks ended when the boy, now 18 and from South Lincolnshire, formed a sexual relationship with another girl."

This a sentence loaded with implications. And none of them good.

The inference of this is that the boy was having a sexual relationship with his sister too. He wasn't. He was violently abusing her. In fact abuse is a word never used in the article. It was systematic and deliberate. The further implication of this was that he was only raping his sister because he wasn't in a relationship with another girl. This is inaccurate and victim-blaming. It also positions the boy as not having control over his actions. He had to fulfil his sexual desires so he raped his sister. Over 50 times. Rape isn't about sexual desires. Whilst the act of raping his sister probably satisfied some part of him, that isn't sex. That isn't a sexual relationship. It is entitlement, power, control and violence. The fact he got off on those things has absolutely nothing to do with sex.

There is the very real suggestion in that sentence that girls/women are interchangeable objects. One replaced another. It is hugely dismissive of the trauma his sister must have gone through. And yes, the boy was undoubtedly hugely dismissive of his sister's feelings and emotions and treated her like an object, but that does not mean the reporters should do the same thing.

I also have an issue with the words 'sexual relationship' in the same sentence as girl. The girl with whom he then entered a 'relationship' is given no age. But again the implication by using that word is that she was young. Younger than an adult. In that case was it even a sexual relationship? Or more systematic abuse? I hope she is OK too.

BBC please start looking at your reporting of male violence against women and girls. The victims of these crimes deserve better.


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