“It’s just part of the job”.
This was the depressing statement given by Nine journalist Maggie Raworth today, after she was forced to endure a sexist and aggressive tirade from a male bystander whilst filming in Ballarat.
Raworth calmly filmed the man as he mouthed off at her and the Nine film crew.
“Get a real job, both o’ youse (sic), f—ing journos, lowest of the lows” he eloquently expressed.
The man then launched a personal attack on Raworth, repeatedly calling her a bitch and commenting on her appearance.
“Give it five years and you’ll be out of a job, all wrinkled up and shit. You’re already getting fat ‘n that, so f— you ain’t got much time left,” he said.
When Raworth continued to film the exchange on her mobile, he yelled, “yeah, film me, bitch. Film me, bitch… make me famous bitch.”
Speaking to NewsCorp post the incident, Raworth didn’t appear overly shocked– in fact she seemed resigned.
“It happens all the time, every TV journalist can say that happens to them almost on a daily basis. I get yelled at from cars all the time, it’s just part of the job,” she said.
But can someone explain how, in 2017, we’re still accepting this to be the case?
Women in media routinely put up with the unimaginable– from misogynistic, threatening trolls, sexual harassment and in this case, aggressive members of the public.
A recent WiM survey found that almost half the women working in Australian media (from a pool of 1054 respondents) had experienced intimidation, abuse or sexual harassment in their careers, whilst more than 40% said they had been harassed, bullied or trolled on social media.
Many of these incidents were so severe that women left their jobs.
The survey also found that 60 per cent of respondents believed social media harassment was more regularly directed at women while only 5 per cent believed men to be the more likely targets.
These stats don’t lie.
Overwhelmingly, female journalists that report on anything even vaguely contentious open themselves up to public scrutiny and very personal and sinister attacks.
Clementine Ford spoke about the personal price of this, in a recent op-ed for Fairfax, stating that she’s “become a more paranoid and fearful person” as a result of “so much abuse and hate and violence and threats for years that there’s literally no other way to be.”
But why should the choice to be a journalist– to have a profile and a voice come at a personal cost to women? A very real personal cost which involves constant vigilance, humiliation and, often, cold fear.
Are we so broken as a society that we believe that a professional like Maggie Raworth– someone innocuously doing her job– should just accept the kind of vicious, demeaning attack she was subjected to today?
I like to believe our collective morality is stronger than that.
There are always going to be trolls–aggressive (inarticulate) sickos, who attack for little reason, but we have to get better at rising up against them. We have to stop normalising incidents of harassment and abuse and telling women in media to just get on with it.
Dealing with this crap is not, and should never become, ‘just part of the job.’