Don't lose sight of what matters from the Prince Andrew interview – Epstein's victims.

Pizzas, sweating, men of honour. It’s hard to think of a more meme-able TV moment than last night’s and, of course, Twitter was alight with hilarious hot takes within minutes of Emily Maitlis’ interview with Prince Andrew. But in the midst of the absurdity, it’s important that we don’t neglect the true story at the heart of it all – the fact that women and girls were openly abused by Jeffrey Epstein.

While perhaps everyone agrees that the interview was a mistake from a Royal family PR perspective, it was also a sadly wasted opportunity for the Duke to express concern or support for survivors of abuse.

The most tone-deaf part of the whole interview (which is saying something) was that, given the chance for any additional comments, the Duke chose to focus on the effects the accusations have had on him and his family, rather than the lives of ordinary women and children thrown into chaos at the hands of his friend.

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Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

And this has been one of the problems of the #MeToo movement as a whole. While it’s been deeply encouraging to have big names starting to be held accountable for their behaviour after years of silence, so much of the reporting has focused on the protagonists themselves.

#MeToo movement – In pictures

Show all 24

2017
2018
2017
2018

#MeToo movement – In pictures

2017

1/24 2017

A picture shows the messages "#Me too" and #Balancetonporc ("expose your pig") on the hand of a protester during a gathering against gender-based and sexual violence called by the Effronte-e-s Collective, on the Place de la Republique square in Paris

AFP/Getty

2018

2/24 2018

Italian actress Asia Argento (C) and US singer and actress Rose McGowan, who both accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, take part in a march organised by 'Non Una Di Meno' (Me too) movement as part of the International Women's Day in Rome

AFP/Getty

2017

3/24 2017

Victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse and their supporters protest during a #MeToo march in Hollywood, California

AFP/Getty

2018

4/24 2018

South Korean women staging a monthly protest against secretly-filmed spycam pornography in Seoul. Since May 2018, the monthly demonstrations against secretly-filmed spycam pornography in Seoul has shattered records to become the biggest-ever women's protest in South Korea where the global #MeToo movement has unleashed an unprecedented wave of female-led activism

AFP/Getty

2017

5/24 2017

Swedish MEP Linnéa Engström sits behind a placard placed on her desk that reads "Me too" during a debate about combating sexual harassment and abuse in the EU at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

AFP/Getty

2018

6/24 2018

Activists participate in front of the Brandenburg Gate in a demonstration for women's rights in Berlin

Getty

2018

7/24 2018

A McDonald's employee holds a sign during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in Chicago

AFP/Getty

2018

8/24 2018

An activist participates in the 2018 #MeToo March in Hollywood

Getty

2018

9/24 2018

Women protest in New York

Getty

2018

10/24 2018

Women hold a banner reading "still feminist" with the Eiffel tower in background

AFP/Getty

2017

11/24 2017

French activist Jean-Baptiste Redde, aka Voltuan, holds a placard as protesters take part in a gathering against gender-based and sexual violence in Paris

AFP/Getty

2018

12/24 2018

Activists and advocates for survivors of sexual abuse, including Democratic candidate for Illinois governor at the time JB Prtizker (left), gather in the Federal Building Plaza to protest the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Chicago, Illinois after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted out Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and agreed to an additional week of investigation into accusations of sexual assault against him before the full Senate votes on his confirmation. Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were both teens

Getty

2018

13/24 2018

A group describing themselves as #MeToo/#YoTambien survivors, hold a candlelight vigil outside the Mexico Consulate to support the women taking part in the human caravan heading through Mexico to the US border

AFP/Getty

2017

14/24 2017

Victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse and their supporters protest during a #MeToo march in Hollywood

AFP/Getty

2018

15/24 2018

South Korean demonstrators hold banners during a rally to mark International Women's Day

AFP/Getty

2018

16/24 2018

Dozens of women and men attend a rally and march in Washington Square Park for international Women's Day in New York

Getty

2017

17/24 2017

People carry signs addressing the issue of sexual harassment at a #MeToo rally outside of Trump International Hotel in New York

Getty

2017

18/24 2017

Victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse and their supporters protest during a #MeToo march in Hollywood

AFP/Getty

2018

19/24 2018

South Korean demonstrators hold banners during a rally to mark International Women's Day

AFP/Getty

2018

20/24 2018

Dozens of protesters against the confirmation of Republican Supreme court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh gather outside of Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer's office on the afternoon that Professor Christine Blasey Ford testified against Kavanaugh in New York

Getty

2018

21/24 2018

Activists and advocates for survivors of sexual abuse gather in the Federal Building Plaza in Chicago

Getty

2018

22/24 2018

Dozens of women and men attend a rally and march in Washington Square Park

Getty

2017

23/24 2017

People carry signs addressing the issue of sexual harassment at a #MeToo rally outside of Trump International Hotel

Getty

2018

24/24 2018

Activists and advocates for survivors of sexual abuse gather in the Federal Building Plaza to protest the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Getty

2017

1/24 2017

A picture shows the messages "#Me too" and #Balancetonporc ("expose your pig") on the hand of a protester during a gathering against gender-based and sexual violence called by the Effronte-e-s Collective, on the Place de la Republique square in Paris

AFP/Getty

2018

2/24 2018

Italian actress Asia Argento (C) and US singer and actress Rose McGowan, who both accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, take part in a march organised by 'Non Una Di Meno' (Me too) movement as part of the International Women's Day in Rome

AFP/Getty

2017

3/24 2017

Victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse and their supporters protest during a #MeToo march in Hollywood, California

AFP/Getty

2018

4/24 2018

South Korean women staging a monthly protest against secretly-filmed spycam pornography in Seoul. Since May 2018, the monthly demonstrations against secretly-filmed spycam pornography in Seoul has shattered records to become the biggest-ever women's protest in South Korea where the global #MeToo movement has unleashed an unprecedented wave of female-led activism

AFP/Getty

2017

5/24 2017

Swedish MEP Linnéa Engström sits behind a placard placed on her desk that reads "Me too" during a debate about combating sexual harassment and abuse in the EU at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

AFP/Getty

2018

6/24 2018

Activists participate in front of the Brandenburg Gate in a demonstration for women's rights in Berlin

Getty

2018

7/24 2018

A McDonald's employee holds a sign during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in Chicago

AFP/Getty

2018

8/24 2018

An activist participates in the 2018 #MeToo March in Hollywood

Getty

2018

9/24 2018

Women protest in New York

Getty

2018

10/24 2018

Women hold a banner reading "still feminist" with the Eiffel tower in background

AFP/Getty

2017

11/24 2017

French activist Jean-Baptiste Redde, aka Voltuan, holds a placard as protesters take part in a gathering against gender-based and sexual violence in Paris

AFP/Getty

2018

12/24 2018

Activists and advocates for survivors of sexual abuse, including Democratic candidate for Illinois governor at the time JB Prtizker (left), gather in the Federal Building Plaza to protest the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Chicago, Illinois after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted out Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and agreed to an additional week of investigation into accusations of sexual assault against him before the full Senate votes on his confirmation. Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were both teens

Getty

2018

13/24 2018

A group describing themselves as #MeToo/#YoTambien survivors, hold a candlelight vigil outside the Mexico Consulate to support the women taking part in the human caravan heading through Mexico to the US border

AFP/Getty

2017

14/24 2017

Victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse and their supporters protest during a #MeToo march in Hollywood

AFP/Getty

2018

15/24 2018

South Korean demonstrators hold banners during a rally to mark International Women's Day

AFP/Getty

2018

16/24 2018

Dozens of women and men attend a rally and march in Washington Square Park for international Women's Day in New York

Getty

2017

17/24 2017

People carry signs addressing the issue of sexual harassment at a #MeToo rally outside of Trump International Hotel in New York

Getty

2017

18/24 2017

Victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse and their supporters protest during a #MeToo march in Hollywood

AFP/Getty

2018

19/24 2018

South Korean demonstrators hold banners during a rally to mark International Women's Day

AFP/Getty

2018

20/24 2018

Dozens of protesters against the confirmation of Republican Supreme court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh gather outside of Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer's office on the afternoon that Professor Christine Blasey Ford testified against Kavanaugh in New York

Getty

2018

21/24 2018

Activists and advocates for survivors of sexual abuse gather in the Federal Building Plaza in Chicago

Getty

2018

22/24 2018

Dozens of women and men attend a rally and march in Washington Square Park

Getty

2017

23/24 2017

People carry signs addressing the issue of sexual harassment at a #MeToo rally outside of Trump International Hotel

Getty

2018

24/24 2018

Activists and advocates for survivors of sexual abuse gather in the Federal Building Plaza to protest the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Getty

Some of this – questions such as “how was Weinstein able to get away with it for so long?” – is of course entirely valid, but it does mean that the stories of survivors often get pushed to the sidelines. And as we’ve seen from the plummeting conviction rates for rape in the UK, and funding difficulties for many (if not all) rape crisis centres, increased awareness of high profile sexual violence hasn’t so far lead to positive change for survivors.

That’s formed part of my motivation for establishing Survivor Stories – a website featuring interviews with survivors of sexual violence in their own words. Those who have been featured so far have all told me that sharing their story has been an empowering experience, especially after many of them have struggled to have their say in a court room for various reasons.

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Many survivors – fearful of anything from repercussions on their career and family life, to not being believed or falling victim to trolls – choose to remain anonymous (which of course is also their legal right during court cases). But this doesn’t make their stories any less credible than those of named survivors such as (the incredibly brave) Virginia Roberts Giuffre.

Maitlis did her best to keep the interview focused on the women behind the story. Questions were repeatedly brought back to Roberts Giuffre’s claims, with allusions to Epstein’s other offences, despite the Duke’s unwillingness to focus on his possible connections with her.

Whatever your opinion on Prince Andrew, or indeed Epstein, there’s no doubt that last night was an important moment for the movement to shut down sexual violence. But let’s not hide behind hilarity. When the dust settles and we’ve run out of Pizza Express jokes, let’s make sure the legacy of Roberts Giuffre and the other trafficked women and girls lead to society doing a better job of listening to survivors and believing their stories.

For help and support please visit https://rapecrisis.org.uk

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