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First broadcast at 14:15 16 May 2011
Vanessa Feltz and Ben Ofoedu present a topical daytime show featuring a mix of celebrity interviews, news items and debate around a range of issues
Gossip show with Vanessa Feltz.
over 2 years ago
Ann, I realise this response is very late but on the off chance you ever come back here this is my response.
"Is the fact that Dorries comments have cause pain for so many abuse victims not relevant for you?"
Of course. They have caused pain because she was incredibly clumsy in her communication and should clarify what she meant (yet I don't think she has even now!!)
I think you'll find we actually agree on everything re: Dorries' sex ed bill (I detailed my thoughts on my blog so won't repeat them here).
My only issue was that so many bloggers took her words out of context and injected a new meaning into them. I know it is difficult to be rational in a dicussion about rape such that a comment regarding encouraging a culture of saying no turns into a comment about child victims having to say no to adult abusers.
There is justified anger at her bill but I felt it had spilt over into unfair misinterpretation of her comments on this Vanessa show.
Mandy, I am not a Christian. I have what I consider to be very high moral standards but I do not want your religion to preach to me by way of the law. As I said, bringing religion into this changes the nature of the debate altogether. For example, I might feel obliged to comment on certain priests and friars who have been in the media spotlight lately. Again, the term abuse has no place in a discussion about abstinence and saying no. Why is no-one wanting to tell boys to stop pressuring girls or tell men to stop abusing children, why as a society are we hell bent on putting this huge responsibility on young girls alone? I'm not convinced that child sexual abuse is any more prevalent today that it has been previously. If you have reputable evidence & statistics, please enlighten me. What we do have is modern standards and social norms plus unprecedented media access which is most likely why we hear more about it.
I think the real issue here is not about abuse but about the over-sexualisation of society which has resulted in the increase in abuse, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted teenage pregnancies and abortion on demand. All of these have a huge impact on society in health and economic terms - the statistics prove this. If young people (girls and boys) were taught the principles of abstinence as part of the sex education policy in schools and encouraged to say "NO" to early sexual experimentation before they are either emotionally or physically mature enough to cope with it, then we might see the beignnings of positive cultural change. And yes, Ann, God should very much be a part of this debate. Sex is His good gift to us, to be used in the way originally intended -within the context of marriage! Whether you believe this or not, the Christian traditions upon which our society has been based provide a sound basis for our health and well-being and this has to make good sense. We have ignored this at our peril and are now counting the cost.
This comment was removed by a moderator
First of all, nobody clarified what anybody meant by 'abuse', but including it in a debate about saying no is naive at best - the term itself implies the lack of consent. By inferring that victims can stop abuse by just by saying no is victim blaming. Shreen - what have I said that is hysterical? I assure you, I am capable of clear rational thought and generally apply it before commenting on anything online. I'd appreciate it if you didn't accuse me of possibe future rants against you (the rape apologist comment). The fact is the Bill itself is a hysterical reaction to the problems young girls face in our society. The suggestion that teaching girls (and the emphasis is on girls) to say no instead of focusing on boys on how they should respect girls is ridiculous. There is absolutely no evidence that this would be effective. Many schools already teach relationships as part of sex education, simply making that a compulary part of the curriculum would suffice, if that is all Nadine Dorries is intending. Citing stores who sell thongs for children (which Dorries and others have done) is also a hysterical reaction - these cases are few and far between and the lines are usually pulled straight away because they realise how unpopular they are. Talk about a knee jerk reaction! The fact is, the Bill is not needed as small changes could be made elsewhere. It would cause more damage than good. Is the fact that Dorries comments have cause pain for so many abuse victims not relevant for you? I think it's very relevant, you need to look at the long term affect such a Bill could have - language and wording can change our perception of a situation. I really do think the Bill has the potential to make victim blaming more common and acceptable. And yes, this is a rational and academically informed opinion. As for god - which one? Religion should not be part of this debate. By doing so you either close the debate to those of us who do not follow your belief system or change the nature of the debate altogether.
Well said Nadine !
When we stopped connecting sexual relationships with love and marriage the rot set in!
God gave the human race sex to be used in a loving marriage for the comfort and bonding of their love for each other!
It has been so cheapened by: `You can do what you like as long as it feels good and you are not hurting others`attitude in society, TV soaps etc. We need to get back to what God expects us to do and how we ought to live!
Since we turned our back on God all things are now permissable and society has gone downhill fast!
Ann - nothing wrong with having an agenda, it's having a *dangerous* agenda, or a hidden one, that is problematic. Not sure why linking to my blog is an agenda though. I couldn't care less if you read my blog or find the same opinion elsewhere, it just seemed a handy place to put all my thoughts. That's what a blog is for after all, and it was too long for a comment. :)
But I think you missed the point - I abhor victim blaming too, challenge it whenever I see it. I don't see any victim blaming in Dorrie's words nor Tilly's. Next you'll be calling us rape-apologists. It just all seems so reactionary and knee-jerk without a calm and logical look at language. I know it's hard to do with this topic but we need to strive to be rational here.
This program wasn't about rape or sexual assault (as Anna points out). The word "abuse" was a VERY clumsy choice and Nadine needs to come forward to clarify what she meant, but if you watch the show it is hard to believe she is talking about sexual assault. She said saying no MIGHT help, and the implicit inference was: with young people who are unsure of whether or not to have sex with their new boyfriends or girlfriends.
It was nothing to do with rape or sexual assault.
The hysteria we refer to is not on this website. It's on feminist and left wing political blogs and websites. Some people are actually saying they think Nadine deserves to be attacked for her words. Does that not scare you? It scares me how this hysteria is gotten to that stage.
I thought no one deserved to be abused. I thought those were the thoughts of someone who victim blames.
the lady did not include the area of sexual abuse within her discussion. it was for women and young girls who DID have a choice whether to have sex or not to be further educated to make the right choices and understand full the consequences of THEIR actions. to be changing the whole subject of the say no campaign to sexual abuse is a bit silly and not the angle the women was coming from in the first place.
Tilly, why do you think 'most people' have an 'agenda' (other than the perosn who posted a link to their own blog)? I watched the show, was shocked by Nadine Dorries' comments and wanted to let the producers know, this seemed the quickest and easiest way to do that. Reading your comment, you also seem to blame the victims of abuse - how can a three year old child tell a grown man no? How will saying no stop a girl or woman being raped? I really don't see the 'hysteria' on this thread either. People have made genuine points, some of us have personal experience of the victim's point of view and are perhaps better equipped to explain why Dorries' comments are irresponsible. If you have a problem believing that then try asking a psychologist or any professional that deals with victims of abuse on a daily basis. I assure you, they will not be agreeing with Dorries on this one. You will see in the press today a lot of discussion around rape and victim blaming due to Kenneth Clarke's comments yesterday. Read some of the professionals' opinions. Victim blaming is a real problem in our society and Dorries' proposed bill and comments on child abuse only make it worse for the victims of such crimes and do nothing to stop them.
Tilly I think you are right, her comments have basically been taken out of context and hysteria has been created out of a misunderstanding.
I've written about this misunderstanding in a little more detail here (it's too long for a comment):
This threrad is a facinating profile of internet hysteria. I've listened twice now in an effort to find out what the 'sexually abused' are on about. I think she is right - if society wasnt so over sexualised there would be less abuse. If girls knew that it wasn't ok at a young age, if they knew the message under 16 was to say no, if they weren't so influenced by magazine articles and adverts, if it wasn't a part of every TV programme, advert, bus hoarding then maybe the abusers wouldnt be quite so confident and the abused may be more able to stop the abuse or tell about what was happening. In the knowledge that say NO was the right message.But of course I am just a Vanessa show watcher an an ordinary Mum, I think most people on here seem to have an agenda.
As someone who was sexually abused when I was younger I found her comments hurtful and galling. Just saying no wouldn't have any effect whatsoever on my abuser. I never told anyone after it happened for fear that I would be held at fault. Unfortunately, since becoming more vocal about what happened I have seen that this victim blaming is a serious issue. The hardest part of my recovery was accepting that it wasn't my fault and even to this day I still struggle with it. To hear someone in such a predominant position in our society attribute some of the blame back to the victim I think is disgusting.
Her message seems to advocate the idea that if more girls knew to say no then there would be a decrease in cases of sexual abuse. I feel she could have used her public platform more wisely to educate people that the victim is NEVER at fault and help change some of the ill-informed attitudes that surround this issue. Rape and sexual abuse is one of the least reported crimes in this country. A contributing factor to that is this stigma of victim blaming. I feel her comments have only served to enhance this problem. I hope she is made to be accountable for her ignorance.
Someone's comment "I blame this sick society for foisting adverts, TV and films which make sex look as though it is a normal part of our every day life onto our kids.". Sexuality is a normal and critically important part of almost all adult lives and young people included. It shouldn't been seen as something sick and twisted (i am not saying that TV ads etc are right, they aren't) but my point is about people and politicians not recognising formally how important it is and being too embarrassed to talk about it openly with young people. They get taught all sorts of things in school that they may never use but all people will build relationships with people as they develop yet its the one thing that isn't taught universally.
There is not enough sex and RELATIONSHIP ed (SRE) in schools. It should be part of the curriculum. I teach SRE in schools as part of a society and we don't just focus on the mechanics, or STI/pregnancy prevention but about healthy relationships, sexuality, empowerment and the RIGHT to CHOOSE. Saying everyone should say no is ridiculous and puts blame on the victims/people who might regret a past choice. Informing people about choice and improving their self esteem is far more valuable then this sham proposal. Also get some evidence please this is just one politician pushing her narrow minded views based on very little anecdotal evidence.
Getting people to say NO is not empowerment. Its the opposite.
Also males need education to, it takes two people to form a relationship and both parties have responsibilities and both may at times abuse these.
Nobody has argued against protection for young girls, Anonymous. The reason you give for backing Dorries is actually the argument for offering some sort of sex education for younger children - so that they will know what is happenening to them, know it is wrong, and be able to tell an adult.
Simply telling girls that it's all their responsibility is going to do nothing but add to the damage the abusers and rapists have caused.
As someone who was abused as a young child, I find Dorries' comments abhorrent. As an intelligent adult, I find her use of the word evidence in relation to this claim completely irresponsible and am also appalled that nobody questioned her seriously on the subject.
As someone whose daughter was sexually abused by a friend of her father, my ex husband can I make the comment that I agree with what she said. My daughter answered "i wasn't sure it was wrong, I didnt know what to do". I blame this sick society for foisting adverts, TV and films which make sex look as though it is a normal part of our every day life onto our kids. I have contempt for each and every person who has commented on here and argues against protection for young girls.
Thank goodness someone is talking sense! The pro sex education lobby is a powerful one and she is a brave woman to take it on. Most MPs wouldn't bother. You watch, they will try to take her words apart and smear her. She is right. It is we girls who have our lives destroyed. It's not enough to say kids need to make their own decison at sixteen. What 16 yr old makes goood decisions?? I didn't. Well done Nadeen. you are speaking up for the majority.
I posted a comment about boys and men taking responsibility for their abusive actions and it has been withheld by the moderator - why?
I think Nadine was trying to convey a message about having the choice to say NO. The power of choice is key. I was very impressed with her determination and how she tried to communicate herr message...Girls should say no!
In order to say NO, girls need to understand what are the supporting arguments that can help them in their decision making process and why is important to know the power of NO from inside.
What one wants from a relationship needs to be the driving force for the NO answer or NOT NOW response, until the elements (values and beliefs) which are important for the individual, must be in place to take the next step.
Emotional intelligence embedded into game formats using 'ART' as the vehicle to deliver the message can be a powerful driving force to achieve her objectives.
Your project and ideas are very close to my heart.
This is outrageous. Does Dorries think that if she were about to be raped saying 'No' would stop it? Does she not know abuse is as much, if not more, about power than it is about sex. And even worse, why did none of the three poeple sitting there not pick up what she said.
I am absolutely disgusted and horrified at Nadine Dorries' views on sexual abuse.
Placing the blame and responsibility onto victims is not acceptable. It is never the victims fault - this is the message we should be sending out!
I read about her comments but had to come online to hear it for myself and it has honestly made me feel physically sick.
A few months ago a policeman in Canada, whilst giving a talk to students, said that if girls didn't dress like sluts they would reduce their chances of getting sexually assaulted which has caused global uproar.
I agree with previous comments, emphasis and education should be centred around respect for others and no means no - not what a victim could have done to prevent their abuse.
I strongly feel that this show should issue a clarification today that sexual abuse is not the victims fault.
I am so appalled that I will be writing a letter of complaint.
I was terribly shocked by Nadine Dorries comments about child sex abuse! Her opinions are not only offensive, invalidating, and disgusting, but also absolutely uneducated and ignorant - and a virtual get out of jail free card for offenders!
If she had any idea how hard it is for a child in that situation to 'just say no', and in fact how dangerous (not to mention ineffective!!) it could be for them to do so, she wouldn't spout such trite, patronising words.
I'm shocked that this show would allow such things to be spoken!
Isn't it rather scary that this very ignorant woman sits on the Health Select Committee?
Children are not taught to put a condom on a banana at age 7, this is simply a lie. Would Ms Dorries like to present some evidence perhaps?
Why is it always the responsibility of the woman or young girl to say no? Surely the focus should be on teaching young men to respect women and teaching young women to expect this from men. Nadine Dorries is just backing up years of sexism instead of moving the debate forward by teaching boys to respect girls!
I'm also shocked by her suggestion that child sex abuse would fall if girls just said no. This is implying that it's the girl's fault if they're abused, that it's their responsibility to say no rather than the responsibility of the adult not to abuse the child!
Responsibility is the key word in all of this. The proposed bill and Dorries' explanation of it put all of the responsibility on young girls instead of teaching us that we're all responsible for the way in which we treat other people!
I thought Nadine Dorries was bang off the money. I get she wants to help somehow... But I feel like all this bill does is make nadine dorries into a celebrity and if it passed mandate women to feel guilty... because they didn't say "no" strongly enough or whatever. Girls and boys know what the word "no" sounds like, but treating the assertiveness of girls and loss of traditional values as the sole reasons for these problems really really patronises young people, they have much more complicated crap to deal with than not "knowing" that the word no exists. What we really need is for kids to support each other in all their sexual choices and making it easier to talk about these subjects by breaking the ice and discussing things they want to talk about.
To suggest that saying "no" could stop child abuse is ridiculous too. People spend years trying to recover from abuse thinking "what could i have done to stop what happened to me" constantly reassured that "it's not your fault"... to suggest that it's partially your fault for not saying "no" to someone older and stronger than yourself who may well have been more violent towards you if you resist them is massively massively reckless and cruel.
I thought Nadine Dorries was bang on the money today. The problem is that kids see adverts on buses, bus stops, magazines, TV even mentions intercourse on prime time, how are kids supposed to know somwthing is wrong if they are surrounded by it in their everday life.
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