The “Magaluf Girl”: Consent, Alcohol and Coercion

I have been with my children all day. I’ve seen bits and pieces about the “Magaluf girl” giving blow jobs for a holiday but I didn’t want to look too closely because I could already guess how the media would report the story. A young woman who “gave” 24 men blow jobs whilst drunk in a club in Spain would only be reported one way: she was a slag, a slut and a whore.

I didn’t want to read because I remember the coverage of the sexual assault of a young girl at a concert at Slane Castle in Ireland last year: a 17 year old girl who was exploited, assaulted and then had to deal with the images being shared through social media. I thoroughly dislike the term “revenge porn” because it minimises sexual assault and rape with the suggesting of “consent”. Every single person who shared the images and video of the incident at Slane Castle was perpetrating sexual assault – particularly those who shared identifying details of the young woman.

The young woman, who will now be known as the demeaning term “Magaluf girl”, which may or may not be better than her real name being shared, is now experiencing a similar level of blame, harassment, and shaming as the young girl assaulted at Slane Castle. Yet, we still aren’t discussing the issue of sexual exploitation, consent to commit the acts, coercion, consent to share the images in the mass media and the role of men in the club, the audience, and the club owners  and managers who planned a game to have a young woman perform sex acts on multiple men.

@Seja75 has written an important critique of media coverage for Ending Victimisation and Blame but I disagree with part of her analysis. I don’t think it’s possible for a young woman who has been drinking in a club surrounded by large numbers of men cheering her on to have informed consent. Even if a woman has sexual fantasies involving exhibitionism, in a situation in a club with an audience, it is very difficult to feel safe enough to say no – to believe you have a choice to say no. Being surrounded by a large number of men is coercion.

This is without getting into the issue of sharing the video and images across the web. Here, I agree with Seja entirely: anyone who was actually concerned about issues of sexual exploitation and assault will have asked several questions including: has the young woman involved given consent to the the sex act? has the young woman consented to filming? Have the men involved consented to filming? Have the men consented to participating (and Seja raises some interesting questions about one of the men involved)? What was the role of the club in this event? Do they have informed consent? Do they even know what informed consent is?

Unlike Seja, I don’t think there is a best case scenario here. Young women are groomed into sexual exploitation from childhood. We are taught not to say no and we all learn very early what the consequences of saying no are. This is a clear case of sexual exploitation – by a club, by people at the club and by the media.

We need to start asking why men would line up to in a club surrounded by an audience to have a woman orally masturbate them. What is going through their heads at that moment?  Were they drunk and incapable of informed consent? Or, did they enter the club knowing that this was part of the evening?

We need to challenge the shaming of this young women but we also need to challenge a culture where a young woman could be put in a position like this. We need to start talking honestly about what informed consent actually means and we need to start looking at holding businesses accountable for sexual violence perpetrated on their premises but also created by their employees and managers. The staff who created this “blow job for a holiday” are guilty of coercion.

Sharing the images of this event is unethical and immoral. It isn’t required to discuss this case in the media. The media holds responsibility for further sexually assaulting this young woman, just as they did with the young woman at Slane Castle.

Whatever the answers to the questions raised, one point will remain: the media should be prohibited from sharing these images. And, any media outlet, blogger, tweeter or Reddit commentator who share these types of videos and images without consent should be legally prosecuted for sexual assault.

2 thoughts on “The “Magaluf Girl”: Consent, Alcohol and Coercion”

  1. I think this article is brilliant and I’m glad you have written this in defense of this young girl and women as a whole. The double standards of our society are mind-blowing this girl, who at 18 is essentially mentally and emotionally still a child, makes an innocent mistake on holiday (and as you point out the atmosphere of the club was not even one where informed consent could be given anyway) and as a result is humiliated, targeted and has her identity exposed on the internet cruelly robbing her of the opportunity to move on from this and build a new future. On the other hand you’ll find never find even a tenth of this hatred aimed at people who actually deserve it such as convicted rapists, invariably most of the time in these cases it was the victim who somehow provoked the attack. I also agree with your point that the people and newspapers publishing this story and the video this should be charged, I think the charge should be something like sexual humiliation, because she has done absolutely nothing to harm anyone else and has not done anything illegal yet is being treated as though she is a criminal for exploring her sexuality. At the end of it all I hope this girl and her family are ok and this girl realises a mistake when you are 18 is not a reflection whatsoever on her character and anyone that thinks it is is an idiot.

    1. Wow, this article makes a refreshing contrast to any mainstream articles I’ve read on this subject. It’s worrying that a non illegal act done in the moment and filmed probably without consent from any parties is now being circulated globally and there is no way of this footage being removed permanently. The media coverage is really shocking but what I found more shocking is the fact that there isn’t a public uproar, particularly from women that this is allowed to be given coverage and yet not cover any of the illegality issues of the video and online circulation.

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