Friday, 8 April 2011

Backlash and Child Abuse

This issue on the sexy dancing 6-year old has ballooned over the past weeks and is now currently dying down. By "dying down", I mean it has not been going around as much, and I do not see links and/or posts about this incident flying around either Facebook or Twitter. The show host, Willie Revillame, along with the television show, are on a 'break' for the past week (which will continue after next week) so this seems to be a resolved issue. Seems.

What exactly has been resolved?

The issue that many people have, i.e. violated rights of a child, has not really been handled to its conclusion. Sure, advertisers have pulled/suspended their ads from the show in order to cut ties with a possible children's rights violator. One after another, the advertisers - the bread and butter of any major mass media institution - pulled out. The show probably lost money on this, and then again, maybe not. While the actions of the advertisers seem to be supporting the case against violation of rights, it just seems like they want to wash their hands off this issue, IN CASE it does get messy. Food for thought: "rats abandon a sinking ship".

Bloggers and other media personalities, while very vocal in their condemnation of the show host for allowing the travesty to happen, are currently under attack themselves. The parents of Jan-Jan are even suing said bloggers, stating that all the media hype that has engulfed their family (along with the non-too-flattering "child abuser" label) is causing more damage to the child's well-being, as compared to the performance of their child on national television, lack of taste notwithstanding. What does this lawsuit do for the persons involved then?

In my opinion?

If (and this is a big if) they win the case against the personalities accusing them of child abuse, they get some money, sure, but that's about it. They will forever be remembered as the parents of one unfortunate kid who, with one televised performance, united thousands of Filipinos against child abuse. Pride, dignity, and reputation can never be covered by any amount won in a suit.
On the occasion that they lose this lawsuit, well, that's just plain ol' salt to the wound for them.

There is such a thing as freedom of speech, and as a blogger, I would feel really sympathetic if they were condemned for expressing their feelings and opinions through the written word. Granted, we bloggers are emotional and vocal creatures; this is one of the main reasons we blog. However, the intentions of the bloggers and various other individuals who spoke out against child abuse, the show host who displayed some insensitivity during the performance, and the television network for airing it are good; one would be hard-pressed to find anyone who spoke out against the issue out of personal gain. If these people were to lose the suit, it would be a sad day indeed for pro-active actions of Filipinos, and if they were to win, no point would have been proven, since it is the child abuse card that is on the table all along.

The Host:
If the parents win the lawsuit, perhaps some measure of comfort and "justice" would be felt by the host. This does not erase the fact that what has happened on that fateful episode of his show has already been burned onto the souls and minds of the Filipino viewer. He has his supporters, and he has his haters. At the end of the day, it is up to him to change and be more sensitive and more genuine in his quest to "help the poor", and stop involving himself in situations where he could potentially earn yet another detrimental label. If the parents lose, he still keeps the reputation he has, and he is still off the air.

The lawsuit, should it favor his parents, does nothing for the boy. Now, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of the Philippines would probably not be able to do anything in order to help him, and in the case that there MAY be child abuse, he is pretty much on his own. If his family loses the lawsuit, the loss of family dignity and honor would be something he'd feel for the rest of his life. In the end, he will be the biggest loser, no matter how this turns out.

And to the parents: If you both did not want this issue to escalate further, why pursue a lawsuit? Congratulations; you have now drawn even more attention to this incident.


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