(Original story at Peace Arch News here.)
Another politician who got into the limelight for the wrong reason after something stupid he said on Facebook. Here is some advice for you politicians from a communication and PR expert and former grassroots leader:
First of all, stop attributing weird “quotes of wisdom” to the Far East if you are not familiar with the source. As someone who is extremely familiar with American and East Asian cultures and values, I find it extremely ignorant and offensive.
Second, never talk of rape victims unless it is in extremely sympathetic terms. This applies especially if you are male.
Third, keep smart friends around you who do not tell you nonsense such as Confucius said to enjoy rape if it is inevitable. Confucius even debated the morality of touching your sister-in-law’s hand if it is to save her from drowning, so how could he have said something so stupid?
Fourth, if you said something stupid, do not try to defend it. Apologize, explain it is a private joke that is insensitive and should never have been repeated, and move on.
Fifth, if you are a politician, watch what you post on Facebook.
Green candidate quits after rape post reported
Published: April 14, 2011 7:38 AM
Updated: April 14, 2011 10:22 AM
A Green party candidate for Fleetwood-Port Kells quit about an hour after The Leader reported on his offensive Facebook post about rape.
The Leader learned Alan Saldanha had posted his favourite quote on Facebook: “If rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it!”
When asked Wednesday why he put it there, the 54-year-old said the phrase had been taken out of context.
He explained he was talking with a male friend some time ago and heard from his buddy how hard life was. So, Saldanha put that up on Facebook as his favourite quote.
“Someone had told me that Confucius says, ‘If rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it,’ ” Saldanha told The Leader.
He liked the phrase, so he posted it.
The Green party spotted it last week and told Saldanha to take it down. However, it was only after a call from The Leader that they undertook an investigation.
The candidate called The Leader back about after talking with his family and asked a reporter what was going to happen.
“Are you going to publish it?” Saldanha asked. “What would you suggest I do, withdraw my candidacy?”
Saldanha was told the story would run either way and the status of his candidacy was between him and his party.
An hour later, the Green Party of Canada said they had accepted Saldanha’s resignation.
“The Green Party of Canada greatly regrets the posting of inappropriate statements on the Facebook page of Alan Saldanha and has accepted his resignation as the Green candidate in Surrey,” the party said in a release.
Corrine Arthur, special projects coordinator with the Surrey Women’s Centre (SWC), said Saldanha’s comments affect people in a most “visceral” way.
The SWC received 2,000 calls for assistance last year, and about one in five involved a recent sex assault.
“This is the most soul-violating experience that can happen to a woman, a child, a man,” Arthur said, adding she’s glad the comments were made public so that it can generate some dialogue around the seriousness of rape.
Saldanha insisted the issue was being blown out of proportion.
“This is totally out of context,” he said. “I regret it overall… I sincerely apologize, because it wasn’t intended. If you see all that I have written and all that I have said, and I am a practising Roman Catholic, none of it conforms to that one sentence.”
If the Green party had acted immediately, it could have installed another candidate in Fleetwood-Port Kells. Because the resignation came after the Elections Canada deadline for nominations Monday, Saldanha’s name will still be on the ballot.
“That is unfortunate and there may have been some communications issues there,” said Kieran Green, the Green party’s director of communications. “It will be something we will definitely be looking into and see where the breakdown in communication (occurred) and work to improve that process of coordination on our screening on our organization.”