Welcome to Patriarchy
Carole Malone is a journalist and has been for many, many years.
Carole has moved from reporting facts to opinion – her own. This is very much celebrity culture in action. We no longer want to know what has actually happened. We want events to be sensationalised and spun. We want to hear the juicy, gory, snarky sound bites from those with a platform. News is being replaced with ‘tabloidism’.
Carole and her employers know this. So Carole is paid to do just that: voice her own particular take on current events. So far, so blah.
Except today, I noticed. Today, I’m angry. @EVB_Now shared a news article by Carole regarding the conviction of sex offender Dave Lee Travis. The overarching theme of her opinion is that the police wasted time in pursuing sex offender Dave Lee Travis. Why? Here are a few of the quotes from Carole:
“But DLT isnt Jimmy Savile. Nor is he Rolf Harris or Max Clifford. He’s a bloke who groped a woman 19 years ago.”
“And do I think that grope would have scarred the TV researcher whose breasts he grabbed? Do I think the experience would have left her in need psychiatric counselling? No I don’t.”
“But those two years police spent trying to nail Travis would have been better spent trying to catch paedophiles, rapists and real sexual predators.”
(the “TV researcher” that Carole refers to is Camilla Long, who has written an excellent post on this experience (please note, it is behind a paywall)).
This is just the first section of the article. I could go on and on and on but you get the gist.
This is nothing new for Carole: she has form. So much form, in fact, that I would need to write a separate post for each piece of ignorant, harmful and damaging victim blaming comment that she has ever shared in public. Should you ever wish to check her celebrity “brand”, I have included some of her past victim blaming work in the links above. Or put “Carole Malone victim blaming” into your search engine. It’s an incredible body of work.
I find it interesting that Carole’s anger is directed at the police for prosecuting sex offender Dave Lee Travis, and at Camilla Long for the abuse that sex offender Dave Lee Travis subjected her to. Carole’s opinion – like all opinions – is based upon her own frame of reference – her lived experiences. I am sure that a part of her knows that in the UK, the best way to get your article read is to sensationalise your views and to be “controversial” – it’s tabloid 101. But this goes deeper, of course it does. The ideology of a person with this much form for victim blaming, often focussed upon women, has been constructed by many layered levels of experiences. These experiences are blame culture, rape culture, victimisation and misogyny. I feel angry with Carole’s views on worthiness when it comes to survivors of male violence. It is this anger that led me to write this post. But as I looked into Carole’s previous pieces, I felt deeply sad and concerned. Despite her expression of harmful and silencing views, I can empathise, if not sympathise. Carole is a woman living in a culture of sexism, misogyny, rape, violence and the annihilation of women. We all do. And for most of us, it is almost inevitable that we will perpetuate this culture. But she needs to take responsibility, like we all do. By blaming, shaming and minimising the experiences of women harassed, stalked, “groped”, assaulted, raped, abused and murdered by men, we are perpetuating a culture of erasure. And it is women we are erasing. Women are harmed by men every day. Women are blamed for that harm every day. Dave Lee Travis is one of many male celebrities, one of many men accused of male violence against women. Dave Lee Travis is a sex offender who was charged with multiple sexual assaults against multiple women. He was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman. That Carole Malone, or anyone whom he did not assault can think to speak of the impact of his sexual abuse is beyond me. No one knows how male violence affects any woman except for the woman herself. I believe that Carole gets this. She also knows what sells papers. I suppose at some point, we have to stop, and reflect, and consider the damage that we may be perpetuating. I wonder if Carole ever will. Views and opinions are not just words. They have impact, they resonate, they construct the fabric of our social worlds. Such views serve to silence women who have experienced male violence. This needs to stop.
I realise I am not angry with Carole, but at her views, her dismissive silencing, and her victim blaming, misogynistic beliefs. Carole’s opinions reflect a culture, a world, that places women in subordination. A space where women should be seen and not heard; harmed and not supported; discarded and never acknowledged. Welcome to everyday victim blaming. Welcome to Patriarchy.