The Archers – The Helen Archer And Rob Titchener Saga Part 3by Dr Emma Gray - 22nd April, 2016
Why does everyone think Rob Titchner is blameless?
Throughout his time in Ambridge Rob Titchner has charmed the locals and managed to hide the abusive treatment of his partner Helen Archer. Most people have been fooled into believing that he is a kind and decent man towards Helen and has her child Henry’s best interests at heart.
Since Helen’s imprisonment for stabbing Rob whilst defending her son people have continued to hold him in high regard firmly believing that he is an innocent victim.
There are a couple of reasons that the people of Ambridge may struggle to believe that Rob has a significant role to play in what happened to him. The first, people do not like to believe that they have been fooled particularly not in the extremely comprehensive way that Rob Titchner has fooled them. To realise that you have misjudge someone so spectacularly will unsettle the most confident and self-assured individual.
The second reason is that our capacity for violence, particularly towards each other, is a sobering reality and one we like to distance ourselves from whenever we can. One way we do this is to dehumanise the perpetrator (in this case Helen Archer). We may think of them as mad or crazy or that they ‘flipped out’, anything that distinguishes them from the rest of us. The reality however is that human behaviour always makes sense if you look carefully enough at the context. Helen Archer’s actions followed many months of escalating emotional, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of Rob Titchner, her actions did not exist in a vacuum but were the consequence of significant and ongoing mistreatment. To consider this, however, would leave the residents of Ambridge face to face with their own capacity (if pushed hard enough) for violence.
It is these uncomfortable truths which explain the frustrating responses we hear as listeners to the programme.