How Is Rita Ora The One Being Criticised For The Abuse She Suffered?
The Debrief: The singer’s autobiography reveals she was going out with a 26-year-old when she was just 14, and now charities are having a go at her for being irresponsible…
We’ve all known – or been – teenage girls who, having spent their whole life spoken to like a little girl, want to prove they’re a bit older. And there are many ways of making yourself look and seem a little older, leapfrogging over the years of teenagerdom you’ll wish you’d have enjoyed as a child many years later. But, unfortunately, manipulative older guys taking advantage of younger – underage – girls can still convince those young girls they’re the best way of making them feel like women.
That’s what appears to have happened to Rita Ora, who was just 14 when she got her first boyfriend – who was aged 26. Making the comments in her autobiography Hot Right Now, serialised in The Sun on Sunday she wrote, ‘I was 14 when I had my first relationship with a guy. I would say he was about 26. It is child abuse really, isn’t it?’
The X Factor presenter, for all her years – she’s now 24 – might not want to acknowledge that something hideous and criminal happened to her, and added, ‘I don’t want to say I suffered, because I wanted it. I don’t want people to think I was abused, but I was definitely more mature than I should have been at 14.
‘You have to remember I hadn’t had a relationship before then. I was very new to the world of a man and a female. I was almost obsessed with having a man feel like he wanted me. I can’t begin to tell you how confident I felt when a man was interested in me. I felt like I had a form of respect, I felt like he listened to me. Now I know he listened to me because he obviously wanted to have sex.’
Children’s charities have responded to the claims, with the NSPCC saying, ‘Those in the public eye should think about the effect their words can have on those who look up to them. ‘We know from calls to ChildLine that abuse can be life shattering. It is essential that people are given the confidence to get help to overcome the often devastating impact of abuse.’
We daresay another devastating impact of abuse is that it’s so bloody prevalent, people can’t recognise it when they see it. Even when they’ve experienced it. Rita might be irresponsible in saying she ‘wanted it’, but it seems she wanted a shortcut to feeling adult not being abused. And that whole dating-an-older-guy-to-feel-womanly thing has happened to countless young women, who only perhaps realise how sick their ‘first love’ was a few years later.
Once you realise that guy wasn’t enough of an adult to pull someone his own age – picking on vulnerable younger girls, instead – you begin to understand. But it doesn’t happen overnight. As for who deserves the vilification here… can you imagine any of your male mates, aged 26, dating a 14-year-old? It’s the guys who groom young girls who need more than a little talking to.
Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson
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