20 Dec 2012

Shout it from the rooftops?

Yesterday, Ian Watkins of Lostprophets was charged and remanded over sexual offences.

I loved Lostprophets when I was a teenager. I first heard them in sixth form when a boy I had a crush on lent me their EP. I then rather adored them until around 2006. Then, I got married and had kids and whatnot and stopped paying much attention to the music industry. However, I had a massive crush on Ian Watkins.
And, according to the response of social networks to the charges, so did many other teenagers and adults alike. The overwhelming response, before the charges were detailed in full, was "NO! HE CAN'T HAVE! HE'S TOO FIT/NICE/GOOD AT MUSIC TO BE A PAEDO! IT MUST HAVE BEEN SOME SLUTTY FANGIRL!"

Then, the charges were released. Initially, the charges were those of possessing illegal images and sexual charges concerning a "child under 13 years old". Legally, there is a difference between a child under 13 and a a child between 13 and 16 insofar as their ability to give sexual consent. A child between 13 and 16 can give sexual consent in certain situations, for example with a partner of similar age, though with a partner over 16, it's statutory rape.. Someone between 16 and 18 cannot give consent to a person in authority (e.g. their teacher, their GP).
A child under 13 CANNOT give consent. Sex with someone under 13, even if their 13th birthday is a week away, is rape. So, all children under 13 are grouped together, in sexual offence classification. In this case, it was interpreted by many to mean a 12 or 13 year old girl. On this alone, victim blaming sprang up across twitter. References to slutty fangirls, bullshit lies, belief that he would 'never' do such a thing went viral.

And then the charges were clarified:
A charge of conspiracy to rape a one year old girl
A separate charge of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with another child under 13 
Four offences relating to possession and distribution of indecent images of children.

Conspiracy to rape a one year old. A baby.
A baby cannot invent a sexual assault, or a conspiracy to assault. A baby cannot be a crazed or rejected fan.

AND YET, the youth of the internet continues to deny that he could do any such thing. The diehard fans, who cannot fathom that their idol could be something other than what he portrays through interviews, lyrics or stage performances. Well, that's what they thought about Jimmy Savile when his offences first came to light. Jimmy Savile is now universally portrayed as a monster, and it's easy to see why. He dressed strangely, had a penchant for cigars and bling, and was known to be a bit of a weirdo. Since the truth was slowly outed, media figures have come out in force to say they 'never liked him'. He was no sex symbol to the youth of today.
Ian Watkins very much IS a sex symbol. A tattooed, moody skater, who has the girls screaming. He does not look like a monster. He is not easy to revile. As far as the public know, he's had normal relationships, he doesn't have a nasty reputation. It is far easier to assume that his victims are liars, than to wonder if he might be a sexual predator. Until you find out there's no way at least one of his potential victims could have even known he was planning to rape her.

We still have this image that paedophiles and rapists are deformed men, skulking on corners and offering sweets to little girls. Why would a good looking young man resort to attempting to rape a child? Surely only people who are evil and rejected would do such a thing, people who can't get anything else?
With Jimmy Savile, there has been a discussion that suggests that, during the 70s, it was culturally acceptable to treat women as pieces of meat, as if this somehow exonerates him from guilt. However, even in today's culture, it is easier to decide a girl or woman is lying about sexual assault than to admit that someone you like (or love) is a rapist, or a paedophile. Every day, there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of women and girls who are terrified to tell the truth about what has happened to them, because they fear not being believed, being called a lying slut, or being vilified when it is THEY who have suffered.

Ian Watkins has been denied bail, and will appear in court again on 31st December.

4 Dec 2012

Module Results

Of the 1500 students that took the K101 exam, around 6% got a first (85-100%).

I was one of them.

I cannot believe it. I got 90%!

Added to my TMA average of 69%, I got a PASS! No distinction, coz my TMA scores weren't high enough, but I don't care. 90%. It's unbelievable. On all three questions, I got a first (they don't give you exact percentages, just the marking band your answer was in).

So, that's K101 done and dusted. My first year complete, my first module attained. Only seven more to do...