IT’S NOT OKAY | fivethreeninety

I’m mad. And I’m going to talk about it.
Model Gigi Hadid hit the headlines last week after she defended herself from a total stranger after he literally picked her up & tried to carry her away between fashion shows. Whilst walking to her car with her sister, the man grabbed her round the waist & lifted her – she was obviously surprised at first but then elbowed him in the face & told her security to get him.


Yesterday the same man lunged at Kim Kardashian in Paris & attempted to kiss her butt. In the past he’s nosedived for Leonardo DiCaprio’s crotch & even been arrested for trying to slip under America Ferrerra’s dress on the red carpet. 


His name is Vitalii Sediuk & he’s been named a “celebrity prankster”.


But he’s not a prankster – he’s a serial assaulter. We need to take it seriously, not make the headlines things like “Don’t mess with Gigi!”. Telling people not to mess with someone who fought back is telling assaulters to attack someone else.

It’s all just normalises literal harassment, which is a very real thing that many, many women deal with on a daily basis all over the world. 

Like I mentioned earlier, the headlines were no better than the act itself. The majority criticised Gigi for “acting out”, for fighting back, for defending herself. She resoinded that she “had EVERY RIGHT to defend myself. How dare that idiot thinks he has the right to man-handle a complete stranger.”, before encouraging women to learn how to defend themselves so they could save themselves in situations similar to this. 


The BBC Newsbeat website ran the story with the question “Is it OK to grab a woman on the street, even if it’s for a ‘prank’? (yes that is what they really tweeted). The answer is no, it’s not. It isn’t a question that should even need an answer. But people still don’t know.

To those who think it might be okay to touch a woman in any way who you don’t know – if it was a male stranger would you slap their butt? Or grab their waist? What makes is okay to grab a woman & not a man? 
Sediuk has defended himself on his Instagram by attempting to liken himself to beloved talk show host Ellen DeGeneras, who’s become famed for jump scaring her celebrity guests on her show.

Which makes him even more ignorant. One is a fun scare that the recipient laughs at, one is assault posing as a prank. I don’t need to explain how different the two are. 
This morning a girl in my city was walking to school when she was grabbed & pulled into a car by two men, & was sexually assaulted. She was a fourteen year old girl starting her day & she was abducted & raped. It’s a real thing. That really happens. Every second of every hour of every day. 
So if Sediuk really is just joking, & pranking people for a laugh & fake political reasons with no cruel intentions behind it then he’s awful anyway. Because he’s spreading the misconception that it’s not something to be taken seriously at all.

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