Peaches made me think: what do I actually know?

Mooching round the internet last night, going where the links take me, I discovered that Peaches Geldof had tweeted the names of the women who let Lostprophets singer Ian Watson molest (and attempted to rape!) their babies.  It’s a foul, incomprehensible thing that the mothers (and Watson) did.  And I’d like to know these women’s names, if I know them or might meet them.  But the law says their identities must not be revealed to the public for a good reason: to protect the victims, those babies.  Peaches tweeted their names anyway.

Okay, so apparently she deleted them later (probably after her lawyer explained the seriousness of what she’d done); but that’s no good, the horse has escaped the stable and has galloped halfway to John O’Groats by now.  Oh, and Peaches apologized  “for any offence caused”.  So that’s alright then?

Anyway, in her opinion piece in the Guardian, Marina Hyde refers to the case of “the idiot who famously sprayed ‘Paedo’ on the door of a Newport paediatrician in 2000.”  Now, I’ve heard of this story, but it’s always been embellished with gruesome detail: the paediatrician’s house was fire-bombed and he (she?) had to flee from a mob waving pitchforks and flaming torches. Marina Hyde offered a link to the story so I clicked it, interested to see what monstrous details this version of the story may mention.

The Link took me to a BBC News Wales piece whose writer actually quotes the paediatrician:

Paediatrician attacks ‘ignorant’ vandals

A hospital paediatrician has hit out at vandals who forced her to flee her home after apparently taking her job title to mean she was a paedophile.

South African-born Yvette Cloete – a 30-year-old trainee consultant at the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, south Wales – said she planned to move home after returning to find the outside of her property daubed with the words “paedo”.

She said she can not rule out the possibility that the paint attack was connected with her job at the hospital.

And that’s it, pretty much.  No firebombs or lynchings, no angry mob.  There’s even a photograph of her front door, captioned “The front door was daubed with yellow paint”.  But the door looks pretty red to me, Ms Cloete must have fixed it before the BBC got there.

paediatrician-door

I’m not saying that what happened to Ms Cloete was insignificant: to find the word “paedo” sprayed on your door would be pretty disturbing.  But the reported story is a hell of a lot less lurid than the versions I’d previously heard and read.

And this gets me thinking: what exactly do any of us know?  I don’t mean what we’ve heard or been told – what do we know?  Not very much really.  That’s something we should carry with us, so next time you hear a story you can reflect: so-and-so says this, somebody else says something else, and at the end of the day I still don’t know a thing.  Something to give us pause when we sit in judgement of others, or when others sit in judgement of us.

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