It’s a few years now since Derryn Hinch came to the US, trying to get support for an Australian version of Megan’s Law. Unbelievably, it’s still not a thing in Australia. Western Australia has a form of a publicly accessible list, and while it’s a start, I still don’t think it’s as good as the ones I have available here in the US.
At the time Derryn came to the US, I was in Texas. Texas has a phenomenal Sex Offender registry. You can search by name, address, or see the most wanted sex offenders. When we had an exchange student, we were able to look at the map, and see names, photos and addresses for sex offenders on her route to school. We didn’t alarm her, we just told her there was a couple places she should avoid. There was no vigilantism, there was no picketing, there wasn’t burning bottles thrown at people’s houses. It’s just a tool, like any other, that lets you stay informed, and keep your kids safe.
We’ve moved to Florida, and they are way more pro-active here. They put up signs out the front of people’s houses in some counties. There are hundreds of pretty licence plates for cars here, with everything from the space shuttle to manatees on them, but if you’re a registered sex offender, you have one choice. Lime green. Makes it pretty easy to spot a sex offender cruising past a school… Their driver’s licence also identifies them. Schools here make visitors sign in with ID. This clearly identifies an unwanted.
I want someone to give me a valid reason Australia doesn’t have a sex offender registry. A real reason. Not some bullshit excuse about vigilantes. There’s 300 million people here, and everyone has access to the sex offender registry, and there is NO hunting of pedophiles. There’s no burnings at the stake. There’s no vigilantism. I call bullshit on that excuse.
The other excuse I constantly hear is about how some poor 18 year caught sexting with his 16 year old girlfriend ends up on the sex offender registry, and has to pay for life for their one indiscretion, and you know, “kids are kids”. I’m going to call BS on this one too. Every single sex offender tries to play this card. They were all some poor teenager caught with their girlfriend. Nobody ever admits they raped a kid. Matt’s mom had a kid who moved in next door to them, who was on the sex offender registry. In Texas, they’re legally obliged to tell the neighbours they’ve moved in. They tried to pull the whole “it was a misunderstanding with his girlfriend’s parents” crap, but a quick look at the sex offender registry, which actually tells you what the person did, let us know he raped a 12 year old.
Here’s the other thing about the US registries. They actually list what the offence was. They don’t name the victim, or go into explicit detail, but you can see whether someone really did get caught with their close to consensual girlfriend, or if they violently raped a child, or a man, or a woman. If you really did get popped for sexting, wouldn’t you want people to be able to see that, instead of just being a general sex offender?
Seriously, there is no reason to object to a sex offender registry. It’s a tool for keeping everyone safe, not just kids. Australia needs to step up and start protecting the innocent, not the offenders. People should be allowed to make decisions on how to keep themselves and their families safe, and you can’t do that without information.
Here’s the interview with Derryn from a few years ago. It’s all still relevant now.
Getting justice can be a long slow road, that sometimes feels like it’s never going to end. For many people, it never does. Their cases are stalled, their investigations halt, and people feel helpless.
Even in my case, people had been to the police before, and nothing had happened. It wasn’t till Woman’s Day and A Current Affair spoke of my story, that justice was eventually found. It wasn’t easy going public, but eventually it led to a court case, Robert was found guilty, and there was a glimmer of hope that if I could take down such a high profile pedophile, maybe others could do the same with their perpetrators.
So it’s logical for others to also contact the media hoping they will be able to do the same for them. I think if you’re strong enough to go through it publicly, and do whatever you need to do to take your perp down, then go for it. There’s a few things you need to know before you contact the media though. I’ve had several people message me, very disappointed by the response they got, or lack of a response from the media. I want people to have the right expectations, so they’re not let down again.
I’m not going to insult anyone by saying my case was no different. We all know that being a former actress, people were going to be more interested in my case. I wasn’t so sure when I first signed up for Woman’s Day, but it soon became obvious I was delusional thinking I was just a has been nobody was interested in. Hindsight, of course my story was going to be a big one. But being famous isn’t going to be the difference between me and you getting your story on TV. The biggest hurdle when it comes to media is that they need at least three people to back up a story before they can air it. Without three people corroborating a story, it leaves a network open to defamation and lawsuits, something a media outlet won’t risk. There are ethical standards they must meet, and even I had to sign a bunch of legal paperwork before any of my stuff was aired. Other people backed up my story, and we could proceed. There was a lot of nervousness, because it wasn’t just Robert we were going against. His partner, Robyn, was highly regarded in the industry, and an attack on Robert was also an attack on Robyn. Point is, when you go to the media, make sure you have at least two other people who are willing to back up your story. If you have any photographic evidence, written evidence, anything at all, make sure you let them know. They are powerless to help you without it. Unfortunately, they need as much evidence as the police do…
So I’m not saying don’t go to the media. I think the media is there for all of us to use, not just former child actors like me. But just go in with realistic expectations, so that you’re not disappointed if they can’t help you.
Make sure you’re prepared for what can happen if your story does get aired. Every pedophile with internet access will attack you. All the social media trolls will attack you. You can never make it go away. Once it’s out there, it’s out. You might find it helps to bring forward other victims and witnesses, but it can also go against you if there ever is an actual court case resulting from it. Still not saying don’t do it, but I want you to be prepared for all the possibilities. – I wasn’t.
Late edit: It’s really hard for the media to deal with minors, or even people who are now adults, but were minors when the abuse occurred. It’s illegal to name a child victim, even as a parent. Remember how my name was all over the place, and then it disappeared? Once Robert was charged, I was officially a victim, and they had to suppress my name. There’s all kinds of legal minefields when it comes to kids. Each and every case is different, and it will depend on whether the reporter thinks they can do your story justice with what you have available. No reporter wants to make your case more difficult, which can happen if not done right.
I’ve gotten into heated discussions with people over whether kids working in the entertainment industry is comparable to child labour. The way I see it, if you’re working, you’re considered labour, so any kid working is child labour. Others try to say I’m insulting the child labourers of third world countries, because their PC definition of child labour is restricted to kids working in factories in places like Bangladesh or Honduras. Sure, kids working in third world countries have it rough, but if you think that kids working on TV are all living a life of luxury, and making a huge amount of cash for later in life, you’re sadly mistaken.
Some places like California have laws set up for kids, many places don’t. So while your ten year old can’t go work at a store, or even on the family farm, you can send them off to work on a movie set, where contrary to popular perception, the work is much less than glamorous. Filming can be long, hard, and tedious, and sometimes even dangerous. You might be working outside in snow in winter, or in the heat of summer, with no AC, or even shade. You might end up working with a sex offender, and good luck getting anyone to do anything about that. Animals normally have a handler, and laws to protect them, making sure they get breaks for water, and to rest. Kids in most states do not even have that.
Now, there’s a huge crop of reality shows based around kids. These ones have even less protections. Most reality shows are scripted, and it’s not just cameras following kids around. Jon from Jon & Kate talked about how they would do retakes if the shot wasn’t right, and they might have the kids up at 2am, outside in the snow, trying to film. He got tired of it, and wanted to protect the kids. Kate didn’t care, she was making money, and getting famous. Even better, the kids were exempt from their own contracts in the beginning, so all the money was going to the adults.
I could argue the child labour issue of kids in the media till I’m blue in the face, but it’s probably just easier to let Paul Petersen do it. He’s my personal hero, and he’s been fighting for kids in the industry for years. Paul started A Minor Consideration, and here he is on CBC radio, discussing the laws. It’s about 12 minutes long, but very worth your time.
A Minor Consideration is there for all current and former kids in the industry. If you’re a product of the industry and need help, contact AMC. If you want to help out, you can make a tax deductible donation, or attend our first ever Gala event in August. All money raised goes to helping fight for the rights of the innocents of the industry.
Royal Commission turning the spotlight on the Entertainment Industry
When the Royal Commission was announced a few years ago, we wondered if they would also be looking at the Entertainment Industry. Some people indicated it would only be looking at “institutions” but if the industry isn’t an institution, then I don’t know what is.
After my own ordeal, and of course following all the cases in the UK with Operation Yewtree, as well as hearing about the plethora of cases in the US, it’s fairly obvious, at least to me, that the entertainment industry needs a spotlight to look into some of the darker corners. It would be very naive to think that I was the only case in the Australian entertainment industry. When I went public, I received many messages of support from others who understood, because they too had been through a similar ordeal on a set.
I am thrilled that the Royal Commission has announced that they are seeking others who may have been abused within the industry, and are calling for them to come forward to talk. Even if you weren’t a victim yourself, if you have information on abuses within the industry, please contact the commission, and let them know. Your evidence could help others. It’s not just for television. Here’s their scope: “Institutions within the Royal Commission’s scope may include television networks, film and television production companies, theatrical production companies, dance, drama and performing arts schools or colleges, casting agencies or any other company, agency or organisation, public or private involved in the entertainment industry.”
Here’s the link to the official announcement, which contains the contact details for the commission. I encourage anyone who can help the commission to come forward.
When I first talked about being molested by someone on set, people acted like nobody in the industry was capable of being a sex offender. Which is just silly. Just because celebrity sex offenders get away with it in crazy numbers, doesn’t mean they’re not capable of doing it. It’s not like it’s unprecedented either. Plenty of celebrities were accused before me, and with the flood of people being outed lately, hopefully, more and more of them will have to face their crimes.
So lets have a little recap of who all these creepers are. Not everyone here has been charged with a crime. The Americans, besides having a statute of limitations which prevents charges being laid, are in particular very good at having cases thrown out, or settling out of court.
Since Josh Duggar is all over the news today, lets start with
The “Reality Star” creepers.
The UK Sex Offenders
I’m not even going to try to do sports people, there’s just too many of them. Jerry Sandusky and Mike Tyson probably being the two most famous to actually serve prison time, both for rape.
I’m starting to see why it’s taking a Royal Commission to bring out all the molestation scandals. Religious folks have been systematically brainwashed to think that molestation is OK, as long as the perpetrator asks God for forgiveness.
While a bunch of religious folk condemn gays and lesbians, are are very anti-gay marriage, they find it totally appropriate to defend child molesters and people who commit incest. It’s terrifying.
Religious people love to tell atheists that without God they’re going to go to hell. Which is funny, since we don’t believe it in. But at least the atheists are all on the internet condemning rape, child molestation and incest. You don’t need God to understand that this shit is wrong. Asking the invisible friend for forgiveness is NOT the same thing as asking your victim for forgiveness. Just because your magical invisible friend tells you he’s forgiven you, doesn’t mean the important people, the victims, have.
I know there’s a lot of good people out there who are religious who also condemn this behaviour, but it just floors me that people are seriously defending this guy, pulling the “He who is without cast the first stone” bullshit. Well, I’ve never molested a kid, so I’m going to go ahead and throw that stone.
Also, for all you sick people trying to justify his actions by saying he was a teenager, and that’s normal… Um, it wasn’t on the playground with another kid, where it was consensual. It was his fucking sisters, and they weren’t OK with it. This are a family who supposedly wait to even KISS on their wedding day. So you can’t even kiss before marriage, but it’s OK to stick your fingers in your fingers in your sister’s vagina? No. Just no.
One of the Duggar kids, of 19 Kids and Counting, has been investigated for molesting his sisters.
Someone has uploaded copies of the police report online, with all the names of both the perpetrator and the victims blacked out, but InTouch is claiming that they found out from “a source” that it was Josh who did it, when he was 14. The family was told what he was doing in a letter. Jim Bob, the father, thankfully took it seriously, and questioned the rest of the kids. They felt safe enough to talk about what had happened. Jim Bob also spoke to Josh, who admitted what he had done. So far, even though it’s bad that Josh molested the girls, it’s being handled pretty well.
After that, it gets kinda dodgy. I’m guessing since they were on a very popular TLC show that they had to try to keep it quiet. Nobody wants to know there’s a kiddly fiddler on TV….
So Jim Bob sends Josh to “treatment” which wasn’t really treatment. It was a buddy in another state. But hey, at least he was trying to get the kid away from the girls. He did way more than what a lot of other people do in the same circumstances.
Then they had Josh talk to a State Trooper. This didn’t go so well, since that same Trooper was later arrested himself for child pornography…. He didn’t do anything about Josh at the time. Now, the statute of limitations has run out for the girls to do anything. Having been raised as being nothing more than future baby makers, they’ve “prayed about it and forgiven him”. At least, that’s what they’re saying. I’m betting there’s some not so Christian thoughts in their heads.
I’m not sure whether to be happy that the family at least attempted to do something about it, and that the girls felt like they could tell their dad, or if I’m disappointed that nothing really worthy was done. I guess a bit of both. It’ll be interesting to watch the fallout from this over the next few weeks. Let’s hope Josh really got some help, since he’s now married and has his own kids.
Josh Duggar has resigned as Executive Director of the Family Research Council, acknowledging he sexually molested underage girls including some of his sisters, calling his conduct inexcusable.
Josh just told People, “Twelve years ago, as a young teenager. I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret.” He continues, “We spoke with authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling.”
Well, at least he openly admits to it, and is sorry for what he did. Not saying that makes it any better, but it’s got to be way better on the girls than having him deny it.
Interestingly, this is the second TLC show that has had problems with sexual predators. Honey Boo Boo was cancelled when Momma June hooked up with a convicted sex offender that had molested her own daughter.
I’m feeling kinda conflicted over the whole John Laws thing. While part of me is rejoicing that people are up in arms over his pitiful interview, I fear that it’s going to turn into a lynch mob. People are already demanding he be fired, and while I certainly wouldn’t shed a tear if he was let go, I know it’s just not going to happen. So we need to find a realistic solution.
John Laws is old. Very old. His views are archaic, and honestly, I’m surprised anyone still listens to him. But then I went to pot luck dinner an hour ago at the RV park where I live, and the old people were discussing about how the government was wasting time talking about putting a woman on currency. So I guess there are still people who think the way Laws does…
Anyway, Laws has the Golden Microphone. He still pulls in millions in advertising. The station is simply not going to fire him. They’re probably secretly loving all the publicity. They’ve got thousands of people listening now who probably didn’t even know John was still alive. So, what’s to be done?
This is now the second time Laws has done a truly awful interview with a sexual abuse victim. This time, he said that a couple people had tried it on him when he was a lad, but he pushed them off. So it is because he was able to escape an encounter that he has no sympathy? Or is it more? Is it that he doesn’t know how to deal with it, so he gets defensive and brash? When he went on to the next caller, he talked about how abuse ruins lives. How people are affected forever by it, so it’s not like he doesn’t understand. He just has absolutely no tact when it comes to dealing with the victim.
I was discussing it offline with Peter Ford, and he said the station assured him that they had arranged for help for Brian. Because let’s be honest here, Brian is the real issue. Everyone is focusing on Laws, but what about Brian? The man was left weeping, and when Laws asked him to say Thank You, my heart sank. Many abusers make their victims say the same thing. I hope the station is truly getting help for Brian, and not just saying it to save face. At first I thought we needed to find Brian, but being a recluse, the publicity might just make it worse. I just hope he sees all the angry people out there, and understands that people DO care. He has people he can turn to, and he has places where he can go for help.
It’s awful that Brian went to the police back in the day, and he was told to move on. I’m so grateful that we’re finally moving on from those days. (Well, in the last couple years anyway… One of the other Hey Dad victims had been to the police previously too) I truly hope that if anyone was to go to the police now, that something would be done about it. That if someone was to call up a radio station (well, anyone except John Laws) and that they would be treated with respect. They would be heard, and talked to with empathy and compassion.
Honestly, I don’t know what to do about John Laws. He won’t be fired, so we have to come up with a way to make him see what an archaic, soulless man he comes across as. I know sensitivity training sounds weak, but it’s a good start. Maybe sit down with a few victims? (although I doubt any would sit down with him)
All I know is that while I’m so glad to see everyone so angry over this, I know that there has to be a way to fix it. For all involved.
Of course, if he was fired over this, I wouldn’t cry. He’s way past retirement age, and he’s got zillions of dollars, so it’s not like we’re sending an old man to the unemployment line. Plus, they fired those awful people from X Factor NZ fired for their tirade. Surely this is just as horrible.
You know what? Go ahead and fire him. Make an example of him. But make him do the sensitivity training first.
For the record – I don’t think that firing someone everytime they say something is stupid is the answer. If it was, everyone would be fired at some point. But John Laws really should bow out after this one.
Most importantly, let’s think about Brian, and all the other victims of abuse out there. Think about how YOU might react if someone opens up to you. We can all learn from this. We can all think about how we’d react if someone disclosed their abuse to us, and how to make sure that we don’t end up treating them like Laws did to Brian. We’ve all said something stupid, or something insensitive, or something we regretted and wished we could take back. Let’s use this as an opportunity to grow, and not just one to vent our anger on a stupid old man. Let’s turn this negative into a positive.
So John Laws, the man who has been on air since Moses parted the red sea, has once again had an appalling interview on air with a victim of child sexual abuse. You can listen here.
I don’t understand why this guy is allowed to get away with it. If it had been Kyle Sandilands, there would have been mass outrage. People would be boycotting the station. Advertisers would be pulling their ads. Which was ridiculous, because Kyle wasn’t at fault in that interview at all. I lay full blame on the mother in that instance. He blurted out one sentence, realized what he said, and they pulled the interview. He was mortified afterwards, and he was burned at the stake.
Somehow though, when John Laws has 10 minute long interviews, berating a victim, asking why he didn’t come forward sooner, or why he didn’t call out, or any number of other insensitive statements, he’s allowed to get away with it. Concluding that the caller had simply wasted his time. He suggested the caller go to the pub and have a lemonade, before asking for a Thank You.
Are you fucking kidding me?
Well, he did do a guest spot on Hey Dad..!
Update: Matt Young’s article on news.com.au has a clip with just the interview, so you don’t have to listen to the whole show.