Ending Victimisation & Blame

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

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.

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8 thoughts on “Peaches Geldof’s Tweets on the Ian Watkin’s rape case highlight institutionlized blaming of mothers

  • Admin says:

    Thank you for this piece.

    We have noticed however that it seems the mothers did sexually abuse their children too – as detailed in this BBC link:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-25108439

    It is important to consider the manipulation of the mothers at the same time as holding them responsible for the sexual abuse of the children.

    In this piece, Helen Whittle from the National Crime Agency makes it clear that Watkins used his celebrity status to ‘groom’ women:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-25108690

    Quote from the link above:

    Ms Whittle added: “It’s likely that those mothers would have been groomed by the offender to commit the abuse, but without the motivation to sexually abuse a child it’s unlikely they would have taken it that far.

    “It’s likely the offender has normalised the sexual abuse of children, has rationalised it, minimised it for these females, and therefore the psychological barriers that had stopped those females abusing in the past were then eroded and they took the steps of abusing the children.”

  • I strongly disagree that the women, who appear to be functional adults, “are as much victims” as their helpless babies. Women have agency, even if star-struck, even if manipulated.

  • Hecuba says:

    Ms. Whittle contradicts herself because she claims this: ‘“It’s likely that those mothers would have been groomed by the offender to commit the abuse, but without the motivation to sexually abuse a child it’s unlikely they would have taken it that far.’

    Then she claimed: “It’s likely the offender has normalised the sexual abuse of children, has rationalised it, minimised it for these females, and therefore the psychological barriers that had stopped those females abusing in the past were then eroded and they took the steps of abusing the children.”

    It is a well known fact that manipulative and cunning males do brainwash their female partners/wives into believing the man has the right to subject her to sexual/physical/psychological violence. Furthermore male sexual predators who prey on female children commonly manipulate the female victim into believing she is responsible for the sexual violence he subjected her to. So clearly female victims whilst being manipulated by male sexual predators would not ‘submit’ if these female victims didn’t want to be subjected to male sexual violence! Lies of course but our male supremacist system continues to promote the lie women commit sexual violence in equal numbers as males and whenever a male is guilty of sexual violence against a child then if the male is known to the child’s mother, she too is automatically guilty of the same crime, simply because she is the biological mother!

    What could these women have done to prevent a manipulative and cunning male from subjecting their children to sadistic male sexual violence? Report Watkins to the police perhaps and then the police would dismiss these women’s charges as ‘lies’ because the likelihood a respected well known powerful male would stoop (sic) to commit sadistic sexual violence against a female baby and/or little children is as rare as the unicorn according to male irrational logic!

    But as usual men have to make the claim ‘if the male committed sexual violence against women’s children then of course the woman is 110% guilty because she is far more accountable than the male. Claiming women are equally as guilty as this normal respectable male is a common male supremacist strategy of minimalising/deflecting attention away from the male’s accountability.

    Men will be soon be claiming ‘if women stand on their heads then men too in equal numbers!’ Because whatever men are convicted of crimes against women, other men rush to hysterically claim ‘but women commit these same crimes too in equal numbers!’ Such claims are deliberate male political strategy because the male supremacist system supposedly doesn’t exist and instead women and men are merely individuals freely enacting whatever they wish and males do not maintain/perpetuate systems which justify male oppression of women.

  • Ed says:

    “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.”

    If the mother knowingly allows her child to be abused then she is herself guilty of endangering that child. Victim status doesn’t cover people who protect or enable an abuser who is sexually abusing their child even if that abuser encouraged them to do so. Claiming they were “manipulated” into letting their child be abused would only be a viable excuse if they did not know the abuse was taking place. Once they are aware and allow it to continue they immediately become complicit in the crime itself. The same rules apply to other criminal conspiracies.

    If a person manipulates me into driving them to a bank with the intent to rob that bank and I was aware of their intent then I become an accomplice. It’s not that complicated. If that person threatened to kill me if I didn’t comply then I might be able to escape prosecution. We needn’t come up with elaborate defenses to protect women or men who knowingly allow their children to be sexually abused by others even if that abuser employed some manipulative tactic to garner their silence and support. The protection of the child supersedes all but the most extreme circumstances amounting to a threat of imminent death or severe injury. Once that threat is removed by distance or otherwise that parent must report or at the least remove that child from future danger.

    These are the burdens we place on parents because children are in no position to defend themselves. Everyone can’t play the role of victim in this case or there would be no one left to protect the innocent and highly vulnerable children.

  • Archy says:

    Stop treating these women as if they have no agency. They were adults, they chose to abuse their children and allowed him to abuse them too. They’re JUST as guilty as he is. What you are doing is actually misogynist, treating these women as if they can’t think clearly for themselves and are just helpless victims of a manipulator. Treating them as victims and ignoring the seriousness of what they did is just terrible.

    • Tori says:

      I agree with you that the suggestion these women can’t be held responsible for their actions is deeply misogynistic. They clearly understood that they were taking part in completely unacceptable criminal activity, and cannot claim to have been under duress.
      However, I’m not sure if you can say they are ‘just as guilty’ as Watkins.
      As the instigator of this abuse, Watkins was the driving force, the motivator. Remove him from the equation and it is extremely unlikely that these women would’ve abused their children in this way without such manipulation.
      Remove these women from the equation, and Watkins would quite clearly have simply continued to search for more suggestible targets.
      While I do not suggest for a moment that their actions are not utterly repellent and unforgivable, Watkins was a catalyst in their lives that made them decide to take those actions.
      Consider them as concentration camp guards to Watkins’ commandant. Guilty, yes, but maybe not to the same extent as the one in control.

  • Who Cares says:

    These mothers are grown adults. They are responsible for their own actions.
    Any person who says otherwise probably just hates women.

  • No says:

    Please research this case before writing about it.

    The mothers didn’t just happen to have children who were abused by Ian Watkins. They are not innocent. They offered up their children to be abused. This is fact and can be read on many sources about the case including the live coverage of the case – they offered up their children for Watkins to rape and sexually assault and exchanged text messages about “a summer of incest” and spoke about drugging their children to be sex slaves.

    One (at least) of the mothers did actually sexually assault their own child for Watkins, there is even video footage of this… She sexually assaulted her own child.

    This case is very interesting and horrible to read about and can indeed bring out a complex conversation about manipulation especially by a powerful celebrity male. This is a conversation worthy of having in society. However to call these women victims on the same level as their children, to brush over the fact they sexually assaulted their own children and/or let Watkins sexually assault them while they were present is a huge injustice and simply wrong to state.

    These mothers have anatomy and you’re not helping this conversation develop into a serious dialogue within society by making them out to be as innocent as the true innocent children in this case.