Welcome to the world….

// 17 July 2008

where crimes against women are fair game for “edgy” comedy. Fast on the heels of Vegas-gate (and I’m really not reopening that discussion) comes Russel Brand’s belief that ringing the Police purporting to have seen a serial sex offender is good stand-up. No really he did, he rang them and wasted the Police Control Officers time by reporting a suspect description and then being put through to the incident room and wasting a second officers time for around three minutes. Don’t believe me? You can go watch here.

Brand has since apologised saying he is “”devastated by the possibility” that he may have “offended vulnerable people”” (BBC News). He’s not worried that he’s wasted police time or that it’s incredibly insulting to believe that serial sexual assault is comedy. ‘Cos, y’know, it’s like inherently funny isn’t it – one man taking the rip out of the Police and victims over another man who believes he has a right to molest women and who is slowly escalating in his attacks. Plus the idea that only “vulnerable people” would be offended is blantantly insulting – it suggests that “rational” or “undamaged” people obviously wouldn’t be. Unless of course he’s talking about vulnerability to sexual assault in which case he’s basically saying he’s sorry he upset women, all of them, ‘cos that’s the main distinguishing trend in victims of sexual assault – they tend to be female and often young. He went on to say “”I maintain that through discourse we can illuminate these dark behaviours but that ought not to be at the expense of people’s feelings.”” (Sky News). Well I agree Mr Brand – how about you start off by talking to some victims of sexual assault and their friends and family and get an understanding of how it impacts on people and how your act was grossly and wholly inappropriate and irresponsible. Drop me an email via the website and I’d be happy to be a good starting point.

Lets restate some basics, a serial sexual attacker means there are a series of victims out there. Women who have been attacked and who want nothing more than the perpetrator to be caught. Because they’ve had their belief in the safety of society and their town challenged. Because someone thought they were nothing more than things to be used for his own sexual pleasure.

Yeah that’s pretty funny isn’t it. I’m laughing my socks off. Thank god the attacker hadn’t escalated to rape – I mean Brand would probably have really got his rocks off over that! Can you imagine the hilarity that would ensue.

No me neither. Lets also think that it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that one of those women might have been in the audience – after all victims of sexual assault aren’t a strange alien race, they are you and me and any woman. Or one of her relatives or friends, ‘cos victims of sexual assault have those too. Now there was comedy potential Brand missed out on, he must be kicking himself.

Meanwhile the victims of the sex attacker, a 24 year old mother assaulted in front of her child, a 50 year old woman on her way to work and a 28 year old woman have the reassurance that at least the crimes against them gave Brand something to talk about for five or so minutes. I’m sure they find that very comforting.

But then, of course, this is the world where australian Bishop Anthony Fisher said that people fighting for justice after sexual abuse by catholic priests were just “dwelling crankily on old wounds,” (The Age). This in response to questions about two sisters, one of whom later committed suicide and the other of whom had a drink problem, who were abused as children. Their mother said “There are no old wounds for victims,” she said. “It is always current…To think this issue is over when the abuse stops is ridiculous. There are people self-harming, committing suicide, drinking, using drugs, because of sexual assaults committed by Catholic priests.” (a href=”http://www.theage.com.au/national/outrage-over-bishops-abuse-remarks-20080716-3gcr.html?page=1″>The Age).

And the world where Virgin Mobile in the US was asking young people to submit videos of themselves stripping to raise money for clothing for homeless people. Yes you read that right – sexually exploiting young people to raise money to clothe a group who face appalling levels of sexual abuse and exploitation themselves (Star Tribune, Minnesota). Fabulous idea I mean the possibilities are endless aren’t they? (They are also rather tasteless and I don’t want to stoop to Brand’s level so I’ll leave you think of some more ridiculous mismatched ideas).

Comments From You

Lynsey // Posted 17 July 2008 at 12:55 pm

It’s pretty obvious that Russell Brand has little respect for women: sleeping with prostitutes, being named Shagger of the Year for his series of one-night stands, and now this.

But ultimately, he’s not one of the bad guys. There is inherent good in him, he’s just misguided at times.

Catherine Redfern // Posted 17 July 2008 at 1:49 pm

I find this totally appalling.

At least he now appears to understand why it was wrong has actually apologised for it, which if I remember correctly, Johnny Vegas has yet to do…?

Laurel Dearing // Posted 17 July 2008 at 2:01 pm

does this make HIM one of the 2-8% of false allegationers? just what we need when the police are actually taking it seriously for once. or didnt they?

i know sometimes you have to laugh at things or youll just cry, but with something as delicate like this someone that hasnt been through the experience has no right to assume he knows what would be a release. and he certainly has no right to say the people offended were vulnerable! if he doesnt know how people are affected by this an what is blatantly an ugly, and lets face it, a stupid thing to do, then he should just sit down and shut up.

making the whole issue in to one big (and even worse, apparently light hearted) joke is the worst thing you can do! when just wearing the word in big letters is supposed to be funny its utterly offensive!

sure people COULD make jokes from anything. people make jokes about 9/11, and yet if people wore a shirt with 9/11 printed on it people wouldnt see it as a joke. they would assume you were ceremonially remembering. however many jokes people make out of 9/11, 9/11 isnt a joke, but rape apparently is. it can not be taken seriously, and until it is, id rather humour on the subject would keep itself to itself.

Catherine Redfern // Posted 17 July 2008 at 2:49 pm

Oops, my sentence didn’t make sense. I meant to say “At least he now appears to understand why it was wrong AND has actually apologised for it”. Sorry!

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 17 July 2008 at 6:49 pm

It is very easy for Russell Brand to ‘apologise’ for treating male violence against women as just another ‘joke.’ Brand if you really had any inkling of how common male violence against women is you would not engage in such crass and misogynstic behaviour. I suggest Brand donates one day’s salary to Rape Crisis thereby demonstrating a real apology. As for Brand saying he is sorry he might have offended ‘vulnerable people’ – wrong Brand women are not vulnerable people who are in need of (male) protection. Male rapists do not target ‘vulnerable people’ what they do is target women as a group. Do not patronise women Brand by calling us ‘vulnerable people.’ Vulnerability does not cause men to commit rape rather it is men’s power and privilege which excuses and justifes male sexual violence against women.

ConservaTorygirl // Posted 17 July 2008 at 8:42 pm

Russell Brand is a w*nker. First class.

I’ve always known it so reading this, although a new low, is hardly a revelation.

Cara // Posted 17 July 2008 at 9:37 pm

What a moron Brand is. I hope he is prosecuted for wasting police time.

Like women making “false” accusations are.

Hmmm, you describe one of the victims as a mother…this annoys me when the media do it, defining women solely as mothers…and clearly she is a mother as you mention that the attack was in front of her child, so it is not necessary. I’m probably picking holes though :-)

ConservaTorygirl // Posted 17 July 2008 at 10:08 pm

Well, Cara, to be honest, I’d struggle to define myself as anything other than a mother.

E-Visible Woman // Posted 17 July 2008 at 10:32 pm

Brand is a misogynist, simple as that.

Last December, there was a panel show on Channel 4 – big fat quiz of the year or something like that. I watched the first half hour and had to turn it off in disgust after it consisted of nothing but Russell Brand, Noel Fielding, and Jonathan Ross making jokes about rape/shagging Lily Allen up the arse (whilst she was right there)/paedophilia/more rape.

Cara // Posted 18 July 2008 at 12:22 pm

E-Visible Woman: Quite. I didn’t see that, but know what you mean about shows where “lads” sit around making misogynist jokes about women, and yes, if there is a token girl, at her expense…

ConservaTorygirl, I don’t mean to be rude but – really? You don’t have any other interests or qualities? Do men who happen to be fathers always describe themselves and get described as a dad, much less define themselves by it?

Don’t get me wrong I don’t think people should be defined by their jobs either…

It just struck me that the other victims were described as “women”.

Louise Livesey // Posted 18 July 2008 at 1:15 pm

Hi Cara, whilst I can see that you of it as redundancy.

I think the mention of it here was that this attacker carried out the attack with the child present. Unlike other news reports where motherhood is irrelevant to the story but is used to substantiate a woman’s reliability or respectability (because obviously we’re only reliable after gestation). But yes, that’s something I’ll have to keep an eye on!

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