Monday, July 21, 2008

MEDIA: Spiked?

Well, it was bound to happen at some stage.

The editor-in-chief of a newspaper in Australia has, at the last minute, decided not to run with an op-ed submission I provided on the topic of rape victims and violence against women. I'm not sure if it constituted a spike or if it was just a case of competing stories.

The article argued that certain media outlets and virtually all politicians have shown that they really aren't concerned about rape victims. Why?

Because they rightly condemned Sheik Hilaly on his catmeat remarks. However, they (especially the politicians) have been silent on the remarks of Bishop Fisher.

Effectively, it means that violence against women is being used as a sectarian wedge by monoculturalists, and this is now seeping into the mainstream. When that happens, it brings the attitudes of the entire community into question.

If we condemn some clerics who insult rape victims but not others, it clearly means we are being selective of which sexual assaults we deem offensive and which we do not.

On issues like violence against women, society must draw a line in the sand. Whenever someone crosses the line, the chorus of condemnation must be heard loud and clear. Both Hilaly and Fisher crossed that line. Both should be equally condemned. If we are loud on one but silent on the other, we clearly have little regard for all rape victims.

Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf

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