It is ironic that within 24 hours, Kim Kardashian West broke the Internet with yet another nude selfie, and the sports broadcaster Erin Andrews was awarded a $55 million jury verdict against a hotel and a stalker for their roles in a video taken without her knowledge.
Both images have been seen the world over. The video of Andrews has been viewed 17 million times, and Kim’s photo tested the bandwidth of the Internet.
But the important distinction between the two situations is choice.
Andrews testified under oath that she still receives hurtful social media messages and comments during her sideline reports about the nude video since it was posted in 2008.
Erin Andrews did not choose to film herself changing clothes in a hotel room. She did not choose to, in her words, be humiliated for years.
Yet our society continues to play the blame and shame game with the victim.
In her trial, the defense team asked Andrews on the stand about her career success since the video, implying that she was better off professionally since it came out. Before she went back to work after the video was posted, ESPN forced her to do an on-camera interview to deny on-air that she had not filmed it on purpose.
The cross-examination highlights a pervasive belief that if women are objectified, they must have “asked for it” or even like it. It is clear from her tearful testimony on the stand this is not the case, and the jury, as evidenced by the verdict, did not buy it.
Author: Kathy Baum
Video: You Tube