No excuse for that headline
Today (July 11, 2020) I read the piece entitled “Young women seduce older men for sport”. I am writing as I believe the headline of the piece, in particular, is inflammatory and actively places young Bermudian women in danger and at risk of being discredited when reporting instances of sexual abuse.
Sexual assault against minors is an ongoing problem in our community. As a young woman who grew up in Bermuda, I myself dealt with unwanted advances by older men and know that same story is true for countless young women on the island.
Given that Bermuda has a problem with sexual abuse, particularly against minors, I have no idea how anyone on the writing or editorial team thought it wise to publish this story with this headline.
Young women already face obstacles when coming forward with accusations of sexual abuse or sexual assault, and headlines such as these serve narratives that victims’ accusations are not credible, which allows many sexual predators on this island and abroad to walk free.
I understand that this was stated in court and therefore may not reflect the opinions of the article writers and editors, but, respectfully, I think The Royal Gazette is at fault for choosing to use that particular line as the headline and placing it on the front page of the newspaper.
The newspaper could have very easily used a different headline to explain the story without featuring and highlighting this disgusting quote. This quote is not only discrediting a young female victim, but is also actively dangerous by prompting conversation among individuals in our communities that, really, female victims are to blame in situations where young women are being preyed on by older men.
Using this quote as a headline was a deliberate choice and one that I believe was a grave error that will continue patterns of young women’s voices being silenced in cases of sexual abuse or assault and continue making young women feel as though they cannot speak out when they are sexually assaulted in our communities.
I believe this writing and editorial team owe an apology to the people of Bermuda for this headline and reporting this story in this way. This is poor journalism and, as the island’s main newspaper, a higher standard of reporting must be upheld.
• On occasion The Royal Gazette may decide to not allow comments on a letter that we deem might inflame sensitivities. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.
• Image courtesy of Campus Safety Magazine
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