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The Shame Files

This week in Sydney a 14 year old girl was left violated after being used as part of a 2Day FM radio stunt. What follows is a media statement prepared by Melinda Tankard Reist and Kids Free 2B Kids. I am very happy to add my support to this.

Background Reading –

Kevin Rudd criticises Kyle Sandilands, Jackie O “Rape Stunt”

Kyle Sandilands a hawking, spitting primitive.  

Media Statement

Child advocates call for protections for children in the media.

The lie detector radio stunt on 2Day FM involving a 14-year-old girl who revealed she had been raped at age 12, was a gross violation of her human rights.

The girl, Rachel, was strapped to a lie detector test, to be interrogated about school, drugs and her sexual experience by Austereo’s Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O and the girl’s mother.

Rachel was deliberately subjected to fear and distress. Her protests that she was scared and that it wasn’t fair were ignored.

It is the height of irresponsibility to hook any child up to a lie detector test. This is compounded when the intention is to expose a girl to a live outing of her sexual experience.

Regardless of any excuses about lack of advance knowledge that the girl had been raped, there is little doubt the aim was to publicly shame the child.

A young girl’s sexual experience is not relevant or appropriate for the entertainment of anyone.

Dragging a child onto the media stage to be interrogated with a lie detector about her sexuality is a horrific invasion of her rights. There is a well founded legal assumption of vulnerability and a need for protection of children at this age, which the station has ignored.

This form of public outing and humiliation is abhorrent and must be condemned. There needs to be a penalty.

What took place in the radio studio was child abuse and should be acknowledged as such. Increasing desensitisation to the needs of children needs to stop.

This program should be axed.

We call for a national strategy for the prevention of child abuse and exploitation, including in the media.

The Hon Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC, Former Justice of the Family Court and Founding Patron, Children’s Rights International

Tim Costello, CEO, World Vision Australia

Steve Biddulph, psychologist and author

Professor Louise Newman, Director, Monash University Centre for Developmental Psychiatry & Psychology

Maggie Hamilton, teacher, author, What’s happening to our girls?

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Adolescent psychologist

Barbara Biggins, The Australian Council on Children and the Media

Professor Elizabeth Handsley, Professor of Law, Flinders University

Clive Hamilton, AM, Professor of Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics

Noni Hazlehurst, AM, Actress, child advocate

Julie Gale, Director, Kids Free 2B Kids

Dannielle Miller, CEO, Enlighten Education and author The Butterfly Effect

Dr Renate Klein, women and girls health activist

Melinda Tankard Reist, Editor Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls (forthcoming)

Carla Meurs, Co-ordinator, Solving the Jigsaw

July 20, 2009

Media Enquires: Julie Gale: 0412922253, Melinda Tankard Reist: 0414305378

I urge all my blog readers to complain directly to the radio station ( there is a contact form on their web site: www.2dayfm.com.au) and to vote with your feet – switch that radio station off!

Published inBullyingMediaPower of WordsSexualisation of children

10 Comments

  1. Thank you for standing up for this young girl, and for what you continue to do for all our gorgeous young women. Indeed, we should all speak up against this sort of ‘entertainment’; it’s not ok, and it’s certainly not funny.
    Well done, and thank you.

  2. Francesca

    I was mortified to hear of this radio segment. Even more disturbing is contemplating the repercussions of this experience for that poor teenage girl. If teens are a large portion of their audience why not show a little more respect when organising segments that might involve them? They should perhaps reconsider what sort of radio banter is ‘live’ too, ever heard of a 10 second delay 2DAYFM?! I intend to have my say on their site too!

  3. Melinda L

    *stands and applauds* brilliant statement, great to see so many signatures.

    a lot of the comments on other blogs are condemning of the show, however some of them say things like “why is kyle to blame, it was the mother who brought her on the show.”
    They are all to blame. To think that out of all those people involved with that show, not one of them put a stop to this awful idea. This is what happens when adults pool their stupidity.

    I hope they catch the guy who raped her.

  4. I agree Melinda, they are all to blame but instead of everyone jumping up and down and ranting at Kyle- they should be directing that energy at the producers. Kyle and Jackie O are mouthpieces for the show. The producers are the ones that create and select the putrid games. They are the ones that decide what shock factors will increase their ratings, they use science and analysis to pick the most gory of games while making sure they are covering themselves with legal loopholes. It’s contrived and malicious. I would love to see them interviewed over this fiasco.

  5. I agree! I would like to go a step further and not just complain to 2dayFM but to also make a complaint against them to ACMA – they are in breach of the Commercial Broadcaster’s Code of Practice.

    What we heard was the glorification of emotional violence againce children.

  6. Anon.

    I was a victim of sexual abuse from the age of 12 and finally ending at 16. Now I’m working hard to be a survivor. All of the media hype following what happened has forgotten one person, the one person who will NEVER forget what happened to her. She’s the one person who bears the scars of this, most likely remembers daily and will have this impact on the rest of her life.

    Listening to all of the excuses from adults around the abuse of a child sickens me to my core. The blame game, the “he said, she said”, the “I was anxious and wasn’t sure what to ask” style responses we’re getting are a joke. Kyle needs to man up, and take responsibility that what he asked was completely inappropriate. The mother needs to grow half a brain, because that’ll sure get her a hell of a lot further given what she’s functioning on right now. Both the two show presenters, the producers, and Austereo all need to take responsibility for asking a minor about her previous sexual experiences. Everyone involves they need to admit they were wrong. Anything this girl admitted to would have been admission breaking the law.

    It is illegal to have sex under the age of 16. It doesn’t matter what state you’re in. There is absolutely nothing to be confused about in that statement. Even if it’s consentual sex. IT IS STILL ILLEGAL. Given that it was not consentual sex, it constitutes as abuse. No one should forget that we are dealing with an abuse victim here. Not a young person who made a bad choice in judgement, not a girl (because that’s precisely what she is) who had a romantic and underage tryst with a boy. An abuse victim.

    I’m overjoyed to hear that Kyle and Jackie O will be suspended indefinitely due to this incident. While I don’t think they’re solely to blame – they are the face of Austereo while they’re on air (and often when they are off) and they are the instigators. If nothing else, I would like Kyle to lose his job over asking such an ignorant and repulsive question. Perhaps it’s just me, but him taking such an interest in a 14 year old girl’s sex life to me seems to have an extremely pedophilic ambiance to it.

    Link to story: http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/story/0,28383,25871523-5013560,00.html

    Besides that, I’m more than glad that I don’t have to listen to them in the morning. I used to have them on my alarm clock solely for the purpose that they were so ignorant and so irritating that I’d have to get out of bed to turn them off.

  7. I went to the radio station’s website as Melinda suggested and scrolled down the Kyle and Jackie O page, and what did I see? A picture of two women in bikinis and heavy eye make-up in a sexually suggestive position on a couch under the heading “Kyle’s Wife Strips Off!” Not only was their lie detector stunt beyond shameful, they’re parading soft p*rn on their public website. Let’s all exploit the wives and children of the world, fun fun fun!
    Ughhh!!!
    I will be making my complaint to the station, and continuing to support anyone who doing the right thing about these issues!

  8. Vanessa

    I sincerely hope their “recess” becomes a permanent axing. It’s disturbing, though, that we have heard nothing from or about the production team behind their show. After all, the vile pair, Kyle and Jackie O, are the hosts, but behind the scenes were producers who arranged the whole stunt (and countless other tasteless stunts in the past). I hope the station holds them to account, too.

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