Peaches Geldof’s Tweets on the Ian Watkin’s rape case highlight institutionlized blaming of mothers
Last Thursday, Peaches Geldof, daughter of Bob Geldof, tweeted the names of the two mothers whose children were abused by Ian Watkins, the Lost Prophet’s singer who recently pleaded guilty to attempted rape of a baby and the sexual abuse of other children, whose parents were fans of his. Geldof, believing, allegedly, that the names were public knowledge, tweeted the names to her 160000 odd followers.
Despite her since having removed the tweets, this has led to the possibility of the child victims being identified, which validates the anonymity granted to them by the Attorney General’s office. Peaches clearly believed that she was in solidarity with all other mothers when she tweeted the names.
However, this was exactly the opposite. What she actually did was blame the mothers, who were actually victims in their own right- Watkins used his fame to manipulate them to let him abuse their children. These women are as much victims of a scheming, manipulative man as their children were. By blaming them, not only did Geldof endanger the wellbeing of themselves and their children but she also sent out a clear message- manipulation by a man is only a crime if the person abused is also the person manipulated.
If the person being manipulated is not abused sexually, then the burden of blame falls squarely on their shoulders. In her apology tweets she even referred to the mothers as ‘paedophile mothers’, when, as far as has been revealed so far, it was Watkins who sexually abused these children, not their mothers.
This case highlights the dangerous trend in media language- to assume that women, when mothers, are automatically exempt from any rights as a victim. If they allow anything to happen to their children, even if they have suffered psychological or physical abuse, then they are automatically as bad as the children’s abusers.Download this post as PDF? Click here