In our ongoing series, What Franklin Graham Is Wrong About Today (a series with never-ending fodder), we find ourselves going back to the traditional fundamentalist playbook:
Blaming a woman for being violated.
A few years ago Princess Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, was sunbathing at private villa in France and she happened to be topless. She was away from the public eye and enjoying her privacy when she was violated. Without her permission a member of the paparazzi took photos of her topless, and those photos were later published in a magazine.
One need not be a master ethicist to see how horrifically wrong this was, and how unspeakably violating it is to have photos taken of you in a state of undress, without your permission, and then published far and wide.
Honestly, I can’t believe anyone actually needs to be told that it’s wrong to do this to someone.
However, Franklin Graham clearly needs someone to explain to him that this kind of behavior is wrong and inexcusable. Over on Facebook today he had this to say:
“The Royals are suing for $1.6 million in damages over topless photos of Princess Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, that were published in a French magazine. I feel for them. We all appreciate our privacy, but we live in a high tech, digital age where it seems there’s no privacy. Cameras are everywhere. Princess Kate, of all people should know this. She is followed by paparazzi from all around the world. If you don’t want topless pictures of yourself taken, it might be a good idea to keep your top on at the beach. This is also a reminder to all of us that even though it seems people are always watching—more importantly, God is always watching. He sees everything we do…”
First of all, she wasn’t even at the beach– not that it would matter ethically. Even if she had been at the beach, that STILL doesn’t make it ethically right to take photos of someone in a state of undress and then publish them without consent. In this case however, she was undressed in private with an actual expectation of privacy. That makes this heinous act doubly violating.
Franklin Graham’s nonsense of “If you don’t want the whole world to see your boobs in a magazine don’t take your top off” is some of the worst blame-the-victim, patriarchy-gone-wild, fundamentalist horse shit I’ve ever read.
But sadly, this is typical of Christian fundamentalism. Christian fundamentalism is an anti-woman ideology that teaches if your son is distracted in math class, it’s my daughter’s fault for wearing a shirt that shows her shoulders. It’s an ideology that says that having photos taken of you without consent is your own fault, and that you should have “known better.”
Fundamentalism is an ideology that is constantly blaming women for their own victimization, while acting like men are helpless zombies who are pre-programmed to sexually violate you if you don’t cover yourself from head to toe.
It’s no secret that I find Franklin Grahams ideas to be toxic, and his religion to be an anti-Christian ripoff that I plan to spend the rest of my life dismantling in any way I can.
But blaming a woman for being victimized? Refusing to stand up and use his platform of millions of followers to send the no-brainer message of, “Hey folks, just FYI that it’s not okay to secretly take pictures of a person who’s undressed and then publish them without permission”?
It’s disgusting beyond imagination.
Franklin Graham and I have our ethical differences, but I’ll admit, I’m actually surprised he doesn’t know that it’s wrong to secretly take photos of someone who is undressed, and share without their consent.
What’s Franklin Graham wrong about today?
He’s wrong to blame the victim for being victimized. He’s wrong to send the message that women should “know better” and that if something happens it’s their own fault for not being dressed properly. He’s wrong in becoming an apologist and supporter of rape culture, when he has the opportunity and platform to be a voice for good.
He’s wrong to shame the victim, instead of the perpetrators.
He’s just wrong, wrong, wrong. Perhaps as wrong as he’s ever been.
You have a right to NOT have people secretly take and share pictures of you while you’re undressed in private– that should be common sense, but maybe it’s not so common after all.