We Need To Change The Way We’re Talking About Dane Bowers

Sure, he makes you remember a time when hair gel was acceptable and Victoria Beckham was a popstar. But Dane Bowers has just been found guilty of domestic assault - and that cancels out all nostalgia.

Dane Bowers has been found guilty of domestic assault, and given a 20 week jail sentence, suspended for 18 months.

That means that, even though he committed a ‘sustained’ and violent attack on his ex-girlfriend, Sophia Cahill, which lasted for 40 minutes (can you imagine being attacked for 40 minutes?), he won’t be imprisoned unless he does something else to break the law over the next year and a half.

And it’s all because the judge was worried about the damage that a more severe punishment could do to Dane’s reputation, career prospects and future earnings.

‘I’m going to suspend that imprisonment because the impact of imprisonment would be considerable,’ the judge ruled. ‘There would be the impact on your reputation and no doubt that would last for a period of time.’

Meanwhile, Sophia Cahill – a former model – was signed off work with anxiety following the attack. As she explained in court, she has suffered from panic attacks and insomnia ever since, not to mention ‘headaches, breathing difficulties, vomiting and disorientation’. Undoubtably, her earnings have been affected too, as well as her career prospects (there are a lot of very mean things being written about her on the internet at the moment).

So why isn’t her future considered as important as Dane’s?

When Sophia explained that she’d lost a pregnancy earlier in the year – which could have feasibly been attributed to stress, John Blandford, Dane’s lawyer, said she was probably ‘exaggerating’. Which – regardless of the reason behind her miscarriage – feels like an awful way to speak to a woman whose life has been turned upside down following an assault that left her with a bloodied nose and bruising on her arms, neck and back.

The attack occured in January this year, while the pair were living at Dane’s parents’ home in Croydon. But when it emerged that Sophia had modelled in September this year, it was used as an example of how her career remained intact – rather than an example of how potentially desperate she was to continue her life as normal, and move on from the assault.

There’s a gross disparity between the way we talk about men who have committed crimes, and the way we approach women who have experienced them. Dane Bowers might make us remember a happier time, when he was known for wearing head-to-toe leather and making Victoria Beckham go Out Of Her Mind, but it doesn’t change the fact that he isn’t the victim in this situation. And neither is his bank balance.

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