By JAMILA RIZVI
Do you listen to the John Laws’ radio show? Yeah, neither do I.
And yesterday I was reminded why.
John Laws is the 77-year-old host of the morning program on 2SM radio in Sydney. For those of us who aren’t familiar with what Mr Laws is all about, the station’s website provides this helpful explanation:
John Laws is the undisputed ‘King’ of Talkback radio, afterall he’s been doing it for over 54 years. John cuts thru the political spin and asks the hard questions, often unsettling politicians. If it’s news, information, entertainment and talkback you’re after, there is only one choice, John Laws, weekdays from 9am.
That’s right, this tough guy, this so-called ‘king’ of talkback and defender of the people, asks the really hard questions.
Like when a woman called into his radio program and spoke at length about the horrific abuse she had suffered as a child, at the hands of her male relatives, Laws asked: “Was it in any way your fault?”
But don’t worry everyone, the tough questions didn’t stop there. Laws was determined to cut through this sexual abuse survivor’s political spin. He’s a journalist who knows how to get to the real truth of a story [insert sarcasm font].
Laws went on to push the caller even further about the role she had played in the abuse, suggesting that she – a 6-year-old girl when the abuse began – was somehow responsible for what happened.
“You weren’t provocative?” Laws asked. And later “Are you unattractive?”
And then this churlish piece of commentary: “My god they were having a good time with you.”
How. Is. This. Man. Still. Allowed. On. The. Air.
You can listen to the audio of Laws’ talkback call here, (WARNING – this audio may be distressing to some listeners):
But let’s all take a very deep breath, cover our mouths to hold in the swear words and take a step back for a moment…
When something horrible happens – a murder, a rape, a sexual assault – it’s inevitable that as a community, we search for answers and for assurances that ‘this couldn’t happen to me or someone I love’. It’s how we make ourselves feel safe. It’s how we convince ourselves that we’re going to be okay.