Thursday, 20 March 2014

Thoughts on the Youtuber Sex Scandal

I have been reading a lot about this today and I thought I would express my point of view. If you haven't heard of the recent youtuber sex scandal then I suggest you read this, because I feel as though you have a right to understand the reality of the situation. 

I was shocked to see that Alex Day's name had come up in this conversation. Here is a masterpost of what has actually happened, because I don't know the full story and I don't claim to either. But from what I have read, it seems to me as if a minority of youtubers have abused their powers over young people and have consistently forced them into situations they are not comfortable in. I don't know whether all of the claims are true, but some other youtubers who were in previous relationships with those accused have confirmed the rumours as they have experienced it themselves.

I have no right to personally bash those youtubers involved because I don't know Alex nor any other youtuber and I don't know the victims. I'm definitely not sticking up for the youtubers accused, though. I believe firmly that victim blaming is wrong in all circumstances, and just because they're youtubers, it doesn't make me any less disgusted in them. So, I thought I would make a general statement that goes for everyone.

I suppose that's the main point. The rules go for everyone. It doesn't matter how 'famous' you are, how ordinary, how old, how young, how good looking or how much power you have in society. That does not give you the right to abuse your power and manipulate people who look up to you and have done for many years. And this applies to non-youtubers as well - I don't care who you are or how good you've been in your life. If you take advantage of someone or manipulate them, even if you are in a relationship with them, this is unforgivable and I'm going to hate you no matter how much you try to make up for it in the future. 

Let's put this into perspective. I have been reading The Kite Runner for school and there is a famous scene between the main character, Amir, and his father: 

"Good," Baba said, but his eyes wondered. "Now, no matter what the mullah teaches, there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft. Do you understand that?"

"No, Baba jan," I said, desperately wishing I did. I didn't want to disappoint him again.

"When you kill a man, you steal a life," Baba said. "You steal his wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. Do you see?"

"There is no act more wretched than stealing, Amir," Baba said. "A man who takes what's not his to take, be it a life or a loaf of naan...I spit on such a man. And if I ever cross paths with him, God help him. Do you understand?"

If you emotionally, physically, or sexually abuse someone, this is an act of theft. You are stealing that person's right to freedom of consent and, more importantly, the freedom to say NO. You are stealing their happiness, their time, their emotional stability, and their physical health. It is true that every sin is an act of theft, and there is no worse act than stealing. 

I particularly love the part "A man who takes what's not his to take, be it a life or a loaf of naan...I spit on such a man." because it doesn't matter how valuable you view something to be. Taking advantage of someone is taking something that is not your's to take, and it doesn't matter how 'minor' you view the abuse to be. Whether it be anything from emotional blackmail to rape, it is still taking what is not yours. Someone's freedom. 

I have no experience with relationships, but I do know the standard rules for consent:
  1. No means no.
  2. Even if they don't say "no", repeatedly check to see if they say "yes" before you do anything.
  3. If they don't say "yes", you don't have consent.
  4. If they do say "yes" and you are comfortable too, then proceed to enjoy said consented activity.
Simple. And I don't understand why some people choose to have the mindset that they have a reason to disobey these rules.

A dog understands the word "no". If a dog understands, a human definitely does too, and so there is absolutely no excuse for abuse. If you abuse someone, you are an abuser. The rules don't change for you because you think you're special.

I urge everyone to think about how they act towards people in their life. Stop, think, and if you think anything you are doing counts as abuse, stop doing it. It really is that easy.

Here's a word of advice to people who look up to youtubers as I do: just because you see how they act on a computer screen, it doesn't mean that's how they act in reality.

I think I've pretty much covered everything, but here are Charlie and Hank's videos about consent to tell you a bit more. You can make up your own mind about this scandal, but please be aware that the youtubers involved have made very weak posts neither confirming or denying doing anything, whilst people are speaking out about their experiences with youtubers. Don't blame the victims and under no circumstances stick up for the people accused, because none of us have any right.

And if you think you are a victim of abuse, click here to go to a website about abuse and how you can be helped.

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