Where’s The Compassion?

Where’s The Compassion?

21

(this is a still photograph. I refuse to put the video on my site)

There’s an amateur video doing the rounds, showing a young woman supposedly drunk stumbling all over the place at the Melbourne Cup. She starts lashing out at people and, mainly punching the air, she repeatedly trips flashing her lady region to the crowd. Thanks to some dickhead with a phone, the whole world has now seen it.

I am not going to go on about drinking responsibly. I am not going to discuss claims by the woman that she was drugged, although I will say I was drugged in Spain once and I looked a lot like she did in that vision. I was not punching people though, I was stumble dancing. I was later violently mugged.

What I want to talk about is the reaction of the crowd. When I see a person in trouble, which she quite obviously was, my first reaction would be to get help. I would not get my phone out and film the person. Where were her friends? What’s happened to the code of getting shit faced? You know the one that states if your friend is falling all over the place, obviously not in a fit state to be in public, that you at least attempt to call someone to come and get her or you put her in a cab or you sit with her, in a less public place, with a bottle of water.

Where’s the fucking compassion? Why is your first thought to grab your phone and post it online? Why is your first thought to laugh and point and jeer? I’m all for owning your behaviour, and her behaviour was abhorrent, but so is being surrounded by a group of drunk men, cheering and screaming at you, while you’re in an obviously paralytic or drugged state. What if they were in the same position?

Why is much of the discussion centred on her behaviour and not about the people watching her, who did nothing to step in and guide her to a safe place? Aside from the one man who “gently” pinned her to the ground, before security guards escorted her away.

I have certainly been that drunk before. I know many people who have stumbled over in public, legs spread in the air. Or fallen asleep in a pub’s toilet or got into a scuffle. Luckily for me, I’ve always had someone to step in and get me home safely. And I have spent many hours helping friends and strangers off toilet floors.

The morning after guilt, the memory lapses and the shame is enough to give you a wake up call. Maybe only for a short time, but it definitely impacts on you. And when you’re ready to listen to your inner voice you change your drinking habits.

I am lucky to have woken in my bed or on a couch at a friend’s house or, at times, in someone else’s bed, but I was always safe. I may have behaved questionably, but I was safe.

Only too recently we witnessed a woman stumbling down a street. She did not wake up in a safe place. She did not wake up.

There are arseholes out there; scary, violent arseholes. There are also arseholes out there with camera phones and arseholes who stand on the sidelines and cowardly hurl insults.

At the moment, there’s an advertisement on SA television warning young women about irresponsible drinking. It shows a girl riding the porcelain bus in a nightclub. In the commercial, some girls come in and point and laugh at the young woman, who is passed out and covered in vomit. One girl says how she can’t wait to tell the people at her work. Another girl nudges her leg with her foot to see if she’s awake. Instead of asking if the girl is ok, they comment on how disgusting she is. It offends me on so many levels.

I gather the advertisement is meant to shame people out of getting that drunk. In doing so, it also promotes the pack mentality of point and shame. It promotes the ethos that, it’s ok to not only laugh at someone in trouble, it’s also ok to walk away. To do nothing. It makes me sad for my girls who may one day find themselves in a similar situation.

I’d like to see an advertisement where the message is if you see someone in distress get help. Never leave them alone. Never walk away. And for fucks sake, never get out your mobile phone and video them at their most vulnerable.

What are your thoughts?

bigwords x

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21 COMMENTS

  1. I haven’t seen the video B cos I refuse to watch that kind of thing but as usual, when you have your ranty pants on you’ve nailed it! If people acted with more compassion and empathy in EVERY situation I truly think the world would be a better place. That people jeer and laugh at someone who is in danger is horrendous. Who cares if it’s self inflicted or not? I am in no way religious but treating people how I would want to be treated is the one thing I took away from years of Catholic schooling. I would not want to be left to deal with this situation on my own. He friends should feel ashamed as should the lookers on.

  2. I totally agree with everything you have written! I have not seen the video in question but I don’t need too,it’s wrong & it’s mean to do that to someone who obviously needs help not mocking.makes me sad for the kind of society we are becoming…

  3. I am so with you here Bianca. I, for one, have done some very stupid things in my time. i feel so sorry for this poor girl and ashamed for those who not only witnessed it without assisting, but filmed it and spread it around. I only hope this girl recovers from what is a truly hideous act. Well written xxx

  4. I agree with you and it’s a sad state of society where people would rather stand around and jeer than help someone who obviously needs it.

    That being said, I’m not a fan of making fun of/ridiculing anyone, regardless of the circumstances, be it someone completely twatted off their brain [for whatever reason] or someone writing their daily menu in a national publication, no matter how “wanky” it may seem to some.

    I still don’t know why we can’t just refrain from judgement in all forms and in turn give help where it’s obviously needed.

    Great post!

  5. Don’t be surprised when dumb bogans who go to the races act like… dumb bogans. They can’t spell compassion let alone exercise it.

  6. Don’t be surprised when dumb bogans who go to the races act like… dumb bogans. They can’t spell compassion let alone exercise it.

  7. Crowd mentality at it’s worst. Sadly I think see scenarios like this as ‘fair game’. We live in a world of ‘reality’ shows where people are ridiculed for ratings. Having a youtube hit, regardless of the subject matter, appears to be more important than compassion.

  8. I completely agree, Bianca. It’s never the best end to a night to be either the helpee or the helper, (I remember a lovely phone call to my mum to be picked up from the hospital after having to take a friend there in an ambulance after a drink spiking) but it is just what you do because you know your friends would do it for you. You have to stick to the code.

  9. I was thinking about Beth’s post too. Thank god mobile phones didn’t exist when I was doing my best to keep the breweries going. Luckily I’ve lived. We need to look out for each other, and care for each other.

  10. Whilst I definitely do not agree with the video (which I haven’t seen, and didn’t know existed previous to this post) I don’t understand the going out and getting wasted for fun thing.
    As a 20-something female, I have been told time and time again to be careful when out, and to make sure I look out for my friends.
    I have been the mother hen for so many years, the designated driver, the hair holder, the water fetcher, and it still makes absolutely no sense to me how my friends, and how others, manage to get themselves so written off in public for “fun”.
    I think the point of the ad [which I also have not seen] is to try and scare women out of becoming the person laughed at, to take more care of themselves.
    I’m not saying I have never been drunk, in fact, my way of “coping” for several years was anti-depressants chased by half a bottle of vodka in bed. But I was in a safe place, though not entirely safe, I was just trying to escape the world and I am very aware those actions could of very easily ended badly but I was on a downhill slide and didn’t care.
    These days I don’t drink at all, my younger brother was killed earlier this year by being an absolute dickhead when drunk. I don’t know that I will ever forgive him.
    But all his stupid mates have calmed down, most barely drink anymore.

  11. At a music festival once & came across a young girl lying on the grass totally out of it all by herself, seeing a whole group of guys leering at her my husband & I woke her up and helped her to the first aid tent & helped her find her friends who had deserted her. We received a thank you text message from her a couple of days later, I hate to think what might of happened if we hadn’t helped her.

  12. I agree Bianca, I have not seen this video & I will chose not to watch it on principal. The discussion should not be judgement about the girl & her choices. It certainly should be about the people she was with & the people who saw her who did not do anything to help.

    No one knows what has happened to put someone in that situation. It could have been a spiked drink, it could easily have been the culmination of a massive day in the sun & alcohol. Most of us have, at one point in their life done something stupid after a few drinks – whether that be continue to drink long past their capacity to look after themselves or put themselves in an unsafe situation. (It only takes a couple of rounds drunk in a short amount of time to wittle away capacity to think, or make sensible decisions) I was very lucky to have gone through the phase of not being 100% responsible before mobile phones had cameras or video. But I do remember looking after my mates who weren’t well checking on them in the toilet until they were able to go home. & I also remember being looked after. Being put in a cab,

    This girls friends should be ashamed – as should the people who watched but did nothing. Our message and advertising should definitely focus on drinking responsibly & also encouraging people to look after their friends.

    The person that posted this should also be ashamed, who gave them the right? This is on the internet FOREVER. How would they feel if it was their sister, mother, daughter? Would you want this forever on the internet if it was you or one of your close friends or family?

  13. I don’t get everyone’s need to film everything and put it up on the net – even in the tsunami, a whole lot of people filmed it instead of running for cover or seeing if they could safely help others. I also don’t get why people need to rush to the media when something bad happens (or just something they don’t like – remember the idiot who ran to the media when his kids school wouldn’t sing Christmas Carols? How is that a news story and why did the principal find out about his issue from the media??)
    But I also don’t get reality tv and than anyone wants to be on that. And everytime I turn down a tv interview (man in the street, not cos I’m famous!), I turn and see my kids ultra disappointed faces…so I guess I’m the end of the generation that feels privacy is worth something (now all attack me for being a hypocrite and blogging. I didn’t say I wasn’t a bucket of contridictions)

  14. Great blog Bianca! I agree with your sentiments entirely. I had the misfortune of seeing this video on 9 this morning and felt so much empathy for this poor woman. It seems to me that this sort of video gives self righteous types an opportunity to tut tut and congratulate themselves on their, at all times, exemplary behaviour. The media and various commentators have been issuing ‘Ladies keep yourselves nice and keep your shoes on’ directives for weeks leading up to the race, usually accompanied by photographic evidence of slovenly types WHO SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES. Women be warned you must keep your uncomfortable foot ware on for 5 hours or you will be judged and publicly shamed. Drunken men are not held to the same standards (in their comfortable flat shoes). Very tired of the double standards, judgement and general lack of empathy. The media peddling this bullshit double standard must have climaxed when this came to light.

  15. I’m with you on this 100%. I was appalled to see Channel 7 show the video this morning on Sunrise, the presenters raising their judgmental eyebrows barely containing their smirks. This could have happened to anyone and instead of ostracizing this girl who must be having a terrible time coping with such humiliation, we should be ostracizing the guy who felt compelled to shame her this way.

  16. Couldn’t agree more. And as for the men pointing and jeering and filming, what if it was their sister, girlfriend or friend? Because you’re right, most of us have been there and most have been fortunate enough to have someone looking out for them, to stay safe. Wouldn’t it be a reality check for them if that girl was reported missing the next day? People need to wake up to themselves. That poor girl is no doubt suffering enough already without being publicly shamed by assholes.

  17. As part of my real job I help facilitate a program with yr 10 high school students about sexual assault and domestic violence, it’s a fantastic program but we are often amazed at how prevalent the posting horrible photos of girls to Facebook is, usually drunk ones or sexually explicit ones, it’s appalling. The program focuses heavily on what is respectful and we ask them is it?? is it ok to do that?? why s it funny??? I think the behaviour of the person filming the footage is far worse than the drunk young woman.

  18. I am totally with you. Where is the thrill in getting that out on the internet for everyone to see? So unfair. The fact that it went viral just makes it worse. I haven’t watched it, I won’t be watching it. I refuse to add fuel to the fire. It’s a sad world sometimes…

  19. I am so glad you wrote about this Bianca, I watched the video yesterday but I just could not tackle it for all the reasons you’ve highlighted. You might think it’s cool to laugh and point and make vile comments or film the whole thing then upload it onto YouTube but today’s she’s probably sober and guess what? You’re all still an arshole!

  20. Well said, as the mother of a 14 yr old daughter who will make mistakes and bad choices, this is terrifying.

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