Trigger Warning: Contains discourse on sexual violence
There is no justice in this country, no repercussions for wrong doings, and if you’re white, male and rich, you can bet you can do whatever you like to whoever you like and the only consequences will be your wallet feeling slightly lighter.
You see, we have a problem in the UK, a big problem, where sexual violence against women has become so normalised that the majority of people are desensitised to it. It is an every minute occurrence and it has spiralled out of control.
Virginia Giuffre has up until recently been suing Prince Andrew for sexual assault on three separate occasions when she was 17, but on Tuesday 15 February it was announced that they had reached an out-of-court settlement. However the detail of the settlement is unknown to the public and given that Prince Andrew has no personal income accept a Royal Navy pension, where will that money actually come from?
And still, even after agreeing to settle, Prince Andrew denies having anything to do with the abuse of Ms Giuffre even though there is a picture that gives a clear depiction of Andrew’s actions and intent. Nonetheless the royal disaster has been averted but that doesn’t mean it’s right or that justice prevailed.
I read somewhere that this settlement had given Ms Giuffre the validation of her experiences that she needed, and I do hope this is true for her and in no way should she be shamed or judged for settling. She deserved some normality back in her life and to have the chance to move forward despite what was done to her.
The issue here is the systems and governments we have in society that continues to allow money, power and misogyny to surpass truth and change.
The option, that the rich have, to avert their crimes by putting their hands in their pockets, should not be an option. You can’t buy the healing of trauma, and you can’t buy the eradication of sexual abuse by spending money. Unfortunately, it shamefully happens far too often.
Rich, white, males all over the world seem almost impossible to convict of crimes; Glenn Thrush, Chief White House political correspondent for the NYT got away with his sexual misconduct allegations in 2017 by simply apologising for ‘any women he made feel “uncomfortable”’ and was suspended but not fired from his post.
Ed Westwick was accused of sexually assaulting a girl in his home who was sleeping and he responded claiming that he didn’t know the girl and no police report was filed. Some years later new allegations from other women began to come to light but the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office released court documents declining to prosecute Westwick.
Harvey Weinstein was fired from the studio he co-founded after a surge of employees came forward to say he has sexually harassed or assaulted them. In 1997 a list of names were tweeted showing over 80 women who had been assaulted, raped or abused by Weinstein dating back to the 1970s. But despite this, Weinstein denied all accusations, so they must be false, right? Wrong! Yet no serious repercussions were brought to the wealthy man.
Many women have come forward with sexual assault and harassment claims involving our current Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson but without surprise they are shoved under the rug before they have a chance to see light. Donald Trump has faced many allegations of gross misconduct and inappropriate behaviour and so have countless other men out there, but again, swept under the rug.
These men think that because of their money and their power that they are invincible and everyday our world teaches them that they are right. Our systems are set up and made for the people in power to always get what they want, our foundations were built for men and continue to revolve around the needs of men.
Right now in the UK we have a deep routed persistent poverty, and poor people are in a whirlwind of a storm, through no fault of their own. Which is a harsh reality, when women are 20 per cent more likely to live in poverty than men, with single men in poverty decreasing whilst single women in poverty continues to increase, and women make up 90 per cent of single parents in poverty. But unfortunately, we can’t all pay away our problems – with inflation at a 30 year high of 5.5 per cent things are only about to get worse for those struggling most in the UK.
We live in a country that allows people to sleep on the streets, allows children to go hungry, women to be the subjects of sexual harassment and violence time and time again and so many more shameful disgusting ways this country treats human beings. People are criminalised for doing everything they can to survive and get through the week with a warm lit home and many aren’t succeeding.
It is shameful that these hard working people with bags of generational trauma have to sit back and watch rich powerful white men like Prince Andrew put their hands in their pocket (or someone else’s in this case) and fix all of their problems, sign a cheque and go back to living their ignorantly bliss little lives, pay someone off and never allow them to speak of the situation again. To everyone watching this week, you have every right to be furious with our country, and those running it, especially if you’re a woman.
I know I am.
Something has to change, we need a society that tends to the needs of all, not just 50 per cent of it. And the time where people could pay off their wrongdoings has to come to an end, because the inequality is extensive and it is everywhere you look, no matter where you look.
Feature image credit: dreamstime.com