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By Melinda Tankard Reist - posted Monday, 3 August 2009


“I’m scared. It’s not fair”, Rachel.

The lie detector incident on 2Day FM involving a 14-year-old girl who revealed she had been raped at age 12 was not a case of a radio stunt going horribly wrong as some have put it. It was horribly wrong before it even started.

Austereo’s Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O had planned to publicly interrogate a child about sex and drugs on live radio. That was ethically questionable even before the shattering disclosure by the girl that she had been raped.

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A vulnerable girl, clearly at risk and deserving of protection, became a media plaything in a few ugly seconds.

Listening to the audio of the girl’s live-to-air ordeal is like witnessing a forced confession. Three adults are lined up against her.

JACKIE O: Has she told you she's had s-x before or do you think she's a virgin?

MICHELLE (mother): ... I think she might have had s-x before.

JACKIE O: Right. But she hasn't said anything?

MICHELLE: No.

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JACKIE O: Alright we have her hooked up to the lie detector!

KYLE: Ohhhh!

JACKIE O: She's not happy! …

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About the Author

Melinda Tankard Reist is a Canberra author, speaker, commentator and advocate with a special interest in issues affecting women and girls. Melinda is author of Giving Sorrow Words: Women's Stories of Grief after Abortion (Duffy & Snellgrove, 2000), Defiant Birth: Women Who Resist Medical Eugenics (Spinifex Press, 2006) and editor of Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls (Spinifex Press, 2009). Melinda is a founder of Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation (www.collectiveshout.org). Melinda blogs at www.melindatankardreist.com.

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