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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The horror of the Finlayson case

This happened a few years ago, but it's still something that needs to be remembered.
Richard Finlayson, 21, and sibling Kirsty, 18, romped in the elevator as they were filmed by CCTV cameras. [...] The shocking 15-minute clip showed them exiting the lift — only to return a short time later to have sex AGAIN. [...] Sheriff Ray Small ordered Richard to be placed on the sex offenders' register. The brother and sister will be sentenced next month.
This is the photo which the Sun uses over and over again:


And this is a photo which the Finlaysons took of themselves:


Pictures may say 1,000 words, but these say just one: bigotry. The Sun picked the worst photos they could find of the two, ones which would reinforce stereotypes.

The real nightmare wasn't the coverage (as disparaging as it was), or even the legal proceedings, but the public reaction which followed:
The shattered mum of a brother and sister caught having sex in a train station lift told last night how her world collapsed [...]. [...] "My first thoughts were, 'What have they done?'. My second thought was that we were all going to be attacked."
[...] Richard and Kirsty were both released on bail and are due to return to court next month for sentencing. And Jacqueline revealed her family had been left living in terror after being targeted with death threats — forcing Richard to flee the country.
And it gets worse:

Kirsty Finlayson fled after locals smashed windows and threw bottles at her flat in a five-day campaign of terror. Residents in Rigside, Lanarkshire, turned on the 18-year-old after her [relationship] with brother Richard, 21, was revealed last weekend.
[...] Last night one neighbour raged: "It is disgusting. Folk around here are sickened and will not stand for it. Some people started smashing her windows last Saturday night and she has left the house." Another resident added: "People are disgusted. It is against nature."
[...] Police said they were investigating allegations of vandalism.
And worse:
[...][Kirsty Finlayson] admits the incident has left her unable to sleep and eat after destroying her family. [...] And she sobbed: "I've been made out to be a monster and have had to deal with people calling me a prostitute."
[...] After word got out about the case Kirsty, who later moved out the hostel into a flat, had a brick thrown through her window and was hounded out of her home.
[...] "After court, when I [Richard Finlayson] spoke to my mum — she was devastated. I thought she'd disown me but she has been as supportive as she can be. [...] I've had to move home to try and get away. I'm scared to walk down the street."
People like them have to deal with abuse, suicide, murder, and now mob violence. I don't see how any person with a shred of human empathy could see what these two have gone through - public humiliation, legal prosecution, mob violence - as in any way just. What kind of society are we creating when we allow for this? What does it say to our children? I'm glad that at least their family supports them.

The Sun is behind a pay wall, so all of my sources are coming through quotes by Full Marriage Equality. Please follow his blogspot and tumblr, if you follow me.

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