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    Journalist Says Turning a Blind Eye to Sexual Abuse Needs to Stop

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    Sir Alan Parker has handed in his resignation from Save the Children, after accusations of sexual abuse enveloped the charity. His departure brings into question other allegations of sexual exploitation that have rippled through Politics, Hollywood and the charity sector this year.

    Sputnik spoke with Lindsay Blumell, a journalist who focuses intensively on women’s rights, about the issues.

    Sputnik: Will the charities affected such as Save the Children and Oxfam be able to regain public trust since the allegations have been made public?

    Lindsay Blumell: I think the question that should be asked is: How do we stop systemic violence against women- not how do we preserve the reputation of organizations. Obviously, charities are not alone in this. We know, statistically speaking, and throughout most countries in the world, there are severe problems of harassment, abuse and assault against women- privately and also in the workplace. So I would say that charities for sure are not immune. I think that in most cases there is a huge power difference between those at the top (which are mostly men) and those that are working, which is a combination between men and women. So we see it in Hollywood, in charity and in politics, men that have this huge amount of power are then able to act in this way without being called out.

    Sputnik: Do you think we will see a change in public perspective over sexual misconduct? Maybe more victims coming forward as a result of increased transparency?

    Lindsay Blumell: Unfortunately also, from the public perspective, there is a tendency to doubt, to overlook, and to not think that this is serious. So I think whether this will have a long term consequence or not will depend on the public in whether they take these things seriously. So far, there have been a lot of cases over the years where the public, people in organizations and so forth have just turned a blind eye to it. That’s why so few survivors of harassment will actually file a complaint or go to the police, because it is so rare that anything will ever come of it. Hopefully, this will be a changing tide. That the public will not turn a blind eye, that they'll actually want to hold these organizations responsible.

    In the justice system, the laws were made for men, by men. Therefore very few things get properly prosecuted. It’s the same case in police departments, (which I feel like now are starting to change) but there is a lot of doubting, blaming the victim, asking her 'what were you wearing', 'were you drinking', all of these things that shouldn't play a part in whether that person is guilty or not, but that is more focused on than the actual act itself.

    Sputnik: Where is the main issue here? Sir Alan Parker only resigned once the abuse was made public, but the charity allegedly knew of the misconduct for some time.

    Lindsay Blumell: The actual reputation of these organizations that have been damaged, because of the abuse put forward by a few- probably not collective abuse, but abuse from those with power. Therefore that permeates throughout the organization, because certainly they were not unknown, others in the organization would have had to have known these things, especially since they were going on for years. So they turned a blind eye, maybe they protected it, maybe they felt scared because they didn't have the same power, who knows, there is many different ways that this has happened. So it depends. Are they going to hold these people responsible? Are they going to change? Are they going to have more men and women sharing the power at the top? Are they going to have more transparency? If they do that then they can survive these abuse cases.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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