Yesterday, veteran TV host Eamonn Holmes sparked an outrage when, during an interview with Hannah Cant, who is a rape victim, he told her, “I hope you take taxis now.”
20 year old Hannah was on the show to highlight the plight of rape victims after bravely waiving her right to anonymity after her attacker was jailed.
She explained to Eamonn that when she was 18, she’d been on a night out with friends, and as the group dispersed, she decided to walk home. On her journey, she was grabbed by former soldier Jonathan Haynes.
He then subjected her to a terrifying attack, during which Hannah thought she was going to die.
Eamonn then asked, “Why were you tempted to walk home?”
Hannah replied that she had done so many times before, adding, “I thought it would be OK.”
The Sun states that at the end of the interview, Eamonn thanked Hannah for her appearance and said, “I hope you take taxis now. Everywhere you go, coming home at night.”
Hundreds of viewers took to internet forums to blast Eamonn for his comment, branding it “victim blaming.”
One Twitter user said Eamonn’s remark was, “dismissive and stupid”, and Philippa Willitts, a women’s right activist, added, “It was “as astounding as it is offensive”.
However, a spokeswoman for ITV said only 26 complaints had been received, but added, “Eamonn was in no way suggesting the victim was to blame.
“Hannah was not offended.”
What do you think of Eamonn’s remark? Was it intended only as some – granted, tactless – advice? Or was the subtext of his comment that Hannah in some way brought the attack on herself by walking home alone?
Personally, I’m inclined to think that he didn’t intend to “blame” Hannah, and that his comment was a well intentioned but very unfortunate bit of stable-doorish advice.
Let us know what you think.