Petronella Wyatt

[Cross-posted from Blogger]

Today, the Daily Mail is running a rather perplexing article by Petronella Wyatt which was clearly meant to be their normal victim-blaming construction of rape and a continuation of their love affair with the idea of a “teenage temptress”. Wyatt’s article, however, is basically nothing more than a series of rape myths held together by stories of Wyatt’s own experiences of sexual violence. The juxtaposition of Wyatt’s belief in the predatory nature of teenage girls with a litany of events in which her father, Woodrow Wyatt, used her physical body as currency to curry favour with powerful men like Laurence Olivier and Robin Day, is a perfect example of how children groomed by sexual predators sometimes blame themselves for their own victimisation.
The fact that Wyatt doesn’t see these events as sexual violence is rape culture. I read the article expecting to be angered and outraged; instead, I find myself saddened that Wyatt was raised by a father who clearly viewed her as nothing more than a toy to be played with. Considering the HMIC has today expressed serious concerns about the way the police handled allegations of sexual violence against Jimmy Savile, the motives of the Daily Mail in printing this article are questionable at best.
Wyatt may have thought she was writing an expose on “predatory teenage girls” but she’s actually written a catalogue of her own experience of sexual violence; sexual violence that she was groomed for by her father. What are we doing to our daughters if we are raising them to believe this is normal?

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