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Archive for the ‘violence against women’ Category

AFL player not convicted or charged, no one faints from surprise

Posted by caitlinate on January 29, 2011

Reading the (online) paper this morning, I saw that two Collingwood AFL players have been cleared of sexual assault charges by police. I don’t know very much about that case and don’t really want to say anything specific about it. More, it made me think about whether I could recall a single case where a football player had ever actually been convicted.

I can think of lots of cases where yet another football player has raped or sexually assaulted a woman. This seems to happen quite a lot. But I can’t think of a single time I’ve heard of a player being convicted of the charges laid against them. It seems I am more likely to read about police dropping charges, police not pursuing charges and the DPP not pursuing a hearing. What the hell is going on? Are players being convicted on the quiet or is there really a pattern of no convictions recorded against any footballers on rape or sexual assault charges? If I can think of five different instances of a footballer player raping or sexual assaulting someone last year I can only imagine how many other instances of this occurred. So why aren’t any of the perpetrators ever having to take responsibility for their actions? A few weeks suspended from the club and then a loud welcome back into the bro-hood does not = taking responsibility. How many women don’t come forward with what happened to them because they know nothing will be done? How many do come forward and are ignored, or are paid for their silence? Is it really true that we don’t hold AFL footballers accountable for their actions and their violence towards women?

I recognise that statistics for prosecution against non-AFL perpetrators aren’t exactly high. But for there to have not been a single successful prosecution of an AFL player for sexual assault ever – or at least in recent history – makes it seem like there is something more than your standard victim-blaming hetero-patriarchy happening here. I know that there are groups and organisations and individuals working with football players to try and teach them that, you know, sexually assaulting people is wrong. I know that the AFL and clubs are – publicly at least – trying to change the culture within football to eradicate this kind of behaviour. I would really like to believe that there is something changing. That these players are getting it into their thick skulls that rape and sexual assault are not okay, that treating women like your property is not okay, that consent is a really great thing. But I also wonder how well that message can sink in when at the same time all these (generally speaking) able bodied, heterosexual, white men are worshipped as heroes and given status, prestige and a lot of money. When they are repeatedly told that what they do for a few months a year is really important and should be taken really seriously at the exclusion of all else. When, every week, hundreds of thousands of people all over the country agree. The sense of entitlement these guys would be walking around with, the exaggerated sense of entitlement they display, is astounding but in the end, not really so surprising.

I’m not advocating for these dudes to all go to prison. I don’t think sending people to prison is going to solve rape or is going to actually stop any person – footballer or not – from raping another. I also don’t think that the people with the power to imprison others even have the fucking right to do so in these cases, considering their culpability in protecting rape culture. Cops, judges and AFL officials have repeatedly shown scant respect for the law or for the people who have been assaulted – far too impressed by the glory of the football player, far too invested in protecting these symbols of white patriarchal heterosexuality. The amount of effort that goes into protecting these players from being adults and taking responsibility for their actions is staggering:

Former detective Sen-Det Scott Gladman claims that a 2004 rape charge against Saints star Stephen Milne collapsed amid a campaign of threats and intimidation from inside Victoria Police and by powerful club backers.

-Source

The woman, known only as Kate, claims that in 1999 police waited two days before visiting the crime scene, failed to get the suspect’s DNA, and records of his interview with police disappeared. Kate has told ABC1′s 7:30 Report program while she has now reached a confidential settlement, she was originally offered $20,000 to keep quiet. Victoria Police declined to be interviewed because it says it cannot comment on any payments because of strict confidentiality clauses. The allegations come two months after former Carlton president John Elliott said the club had paid hush money to women who claimed they had been assaulted or raped by its players.

-Source

In 2007 Brodie Holland was fined $2,500 for his role in a fight with a young woman over a taxi cab. After Hollands fiancee was involved in a scuffle with the woman, Holland approached calling the woman a “stupid slut” before trying to tackle her, placing her in a headlock after which she bit him on the stomach, before striking her in the head with his fist. His court appearance was pushed back on two occasions so not to clash with his football commitments; once he faced court no conviction was recorded and no punishment handed out from his club, Collingwood.

-Source

The uncensored contract, obtained by AAP on Tuesday, states that Victoria Police could not comment on its own investigations into any AFL player, coach, board member or even staff without consulting the league. The football body was also given permission to “investigate matters of illegal betting” and other serious crimes from drug trafficking and domestic violence to sexual assaults. The police-AFL “relationship” was struck so both could investigate “any criminal activity that would be prejudicial to the interests of the AFL”, the contract says.

-Source

I think these men as individuals need to be taking responsibility for their actions, yes. This needs to not just be going to court and trying to avoid a sentence. It needs to not just be letting some gender studies lecturers from your local university come down and ignoring them while they explain to you why what you’re doing isn’t okay. It needs to be footballers finding ways within themselves and within the macho, football-centric social groups they are a part of to break down these ideas and attitudes that cause so much harm. Not waiting for other people to solve it for them but actually recognising what’s going on and doing something to change it. It needs to be AFL footaballers taking responsibility as a whole.

But it’s not just them. The clubs and the league and the coaches and everyone directly involved with AFL needs to be taking and continuing to take responsibility for what they encourage. I think that the legal system either needs to stop pretending to believe in the equal rule of law or actually apply it. And I think everyone who loves a team or loves the sport and spends several months a year telling a bunch of men with a ball that they are fucking awesome, that they are fucking heroes, that they are winners and champions and great, that what they are doing is important, that what they do is taken very seriously; I think those people need to think about what kind of culture it is they are actually supporting and what they can do to challenge it.

Posted in sexual assault, Sport, violence against women | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Street Harassment: tone vs content

Posted by Mel Campbell on September 8, 2010

Last week I read this excellent post on street harassment, which was republished in Jezebel.

Street harassment is not the same as offering compliments to strangers. It is an aggressive move to assert power over a woman in public space, to force her to interact with him, and to make her feel cowed and embarrassed. If confronted or rejected, street harassers often escalate their approach into a verbal assault on their victim’s attractiveness or sexuality.

Perhaps the worst part of street harassment is that our culture has internalised it to the point where women are accused of ‘overreacting’, being ‘humourless’ or ‘imagining it’ if they speak up about being harassed in public. Yet women who manage to escape harassment can feel ugly and unsexy, and that they ought to feel ‘grateful’ if it does happen to them.

Tonight, I was walking down Lygon Street in East Brunswick and a guy shouted at me from a passing car, “YOU’RE A BEAUTIFUL PERSON!”

It might sound comical – was the dude trying to evade feminist criticism by focusing on the beauty of my personality rather than my body? Yet how can this stranger possibly know what kind of person I am?

But at the same time, I wish I could communicate to you the tone of menace in this guy’s voice.

You’ve probably encountered the idea that online writing is flatter and less subtle than spoken communication, and thus more prone to misunderstanding and offence. Likewise, when women report being harassed or assaulted, and what is said between victim and perpetrator is brought up in official complaints and court cases, this tone of voice can be lost.

Sadly, I imagine many readers have experienced the aggression and venom that certain men are able to inject into words such as ‘slut’, ‘bitch’ and ‘cunt’. It’s a tone that can make the listener fear for her physical safety.

Even more innocuously expressed sentiments can sound far more intimidating to a victim than they might seem to a third party. Perhaps that’s why street harassment is often dismissed or belittled.

Posted in violence against women | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Matthew Newton: He did it again

Posted by Rhiana Whitson on September 5, 2010

Matthew Newton has committed domestic violence. He is a criminal and needs to go to prison.
Matthew Newton is a drug addict and mentally ill. He needs our pity and our help.

I’m no psychiatrist, but I do know this:

However, troubled or drug addled Matthew Newton may be,  he’s committed a serious crime, and it’s not his first offense.

As we wait to see whether Newton will be held accountable for his latest actions, we should ask ourselves why a man who just three years ago went to court over a similar incident was allowed to re-offend, and, why he was allowed to grace our television screens.

Even before this latest incident, It’s been a sorry decline for Matthew Newton.

Not that Channel Seven seemed to mind. After checking himself out of rehab earlier this year, Channel Seven offered Newton a $200, 000 contract to host their brand new reality-TV series, The X-Factor.

How quickly the commercial networks forget!

The question posed by Media Watch is this: why was Newton offered the job in the first place?

Or indeed, any other acting jobs following his court appearance in 2007?

(If you haven’t already, make sure you watch this episode – it just confirms how lucky we are that journalism like this still exists to keep the mainstream media accountable, especially in the current climate of horse-race journalism)

Just in case you’re as forgetful as Channel Seven, here’s a refresher: in 2007 Newton was charged with two counts of common assault, one count of stalk/intimidate with the intent of causing physical/mental harm and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. According to media reports at the time, the catalyst for Brooke Satchwell to bravely speak out, occurred after she was repeatedly punched  in the head by Newton whilst she yelled for him to stop.

Um, Channel Seven, is this really the type of guy you want to host your network’s answer to Australian Idol?

Unfortunately, Channel Seven clearly held the same opinion as Newton’s star struck appeal judge.

What should have been an open and closed case, rather strangely (or perhaps not, considering Newton’s connections) ended with Newton walking away innocent man.

Newton’s lenient 12-month good behavior bond was quashed by a Sydney judge on appeal.

According to News.com.au the judge considered Newton an “utmost gentleman” who had committed the offense because of severe depression.

Apparently he was unlikely to re-offend.

The justice system’s handling of this case was another slap in the face for Australian women: the career of a well connected actor is more important than your right to safety.

At the time of the charges a number of recognisable faces sprang to Newton’s defense, offering character references for what they saw as an unfairly targeted Newton.

At the time of the court hearing, Newton was dating Gracie Otto, Barry Otto’s then 19-year old daughter.

Barry Otto:

“Matthew is a great friend and a great person. I don’t understand why people are trying to destroy his reputation with this sort of stuff,”

Sue Hill, mother of Gracie, wife of Barry:

“Matthew is the sweetest, nicest person in the world. He would never hurt a flea”.
“He would be absolutely devastated about all this becoming public.”

(How about the devastation Satchwell endured through firstly, the incident(s) itself,  facing the public with her allegations, and finally dealing with the miscarriage of justice performed by a  judge who rendered her abuser innocent)

The Otto’s must be eating their words now.

It certainly didn’t take the commercial networks very long to become convinced of Newton’s supposed innocence either.

Although, you’d think that even despite an overturned conviction, an actor who’s name had become synonymous with domestic violence would be enough to keep the commercial networks away…

As the saying goes, any publicity is good publicity – and with that, Newton’s career was resurrected to play the role of Terry Clark in Channel Nine’s Underbelly.

To tidy Newton’s image up, although as Media Watch pointed out, the role was rather apt,  News Ltd. got to work on some cross promotion last year with this hard-hitting piece of journalism.

It’s good to see Newton doing what he does best — acting. It’s easy to forget, amid the swirling controversy of the past couple of years, what a good actor he is.

Yes, indeed, great actor. The Hun’s Erin McWhirter sure fell for the shameless PR coordinated by the Herald Sun and Channel Nine.

Contemplating his life in the past two years has brought Newton some sense of inner peace. He hints that turning 30 has played a major part in turning things around.

‘‘Mistakes of your 20s, professionally or whatever, you just come into your own a little bit in your sense of understanding, ” Newton said.

Newton’s reintegration into commercial television was a success, so much so, Channel Seven chose to ignore a couple of tense moments between Rachel and Newton earlier this year and a stint in rehab when it decided they wanted him on board to host X-Factor.

Following Seven’s announcement, another bout of cross-promotion ensued, handy seeing as many Australian’s are unaware that mainstream media is pretty much completely owned by a couple of key players.

“My New Start”

“A changed man
. Putting the past behind him…
…a refreshingly honest interview…

— New Idea, 9th August, 2010”
(as cited on Media Watch website)

Today Tonight were keen to get in on the action also.

Matt White: You haven’t been boring, have you?

Matthew Newton: No, no… I’ve just always done my thing.

— Channel Seven, Today Tonight, 2nd August, 2010
(as cited on Media Watch website)

Why the soft treatment? Vested interests of course. Today Tonight, on Channel Seven. Who publish New Idea? Why,  Pacific Magazines, of course. And who are they? Why, they’re apart of the Seven Media Group.

Fair enough when you consider Channel Seven spent 22 million dollars to buy the rights for it.

But how’s the media treating Newton now? Surely he’s not going to get the soft treatment again?

Think again.

The lack of focus on domestic violence in the media since breaking news of Rome, has recast Newton as mentally ill. Apparently Newton has a series of problems stemming from his childhood spent growing up in the limelight. It’s all a bit ‘poor Matthew.’

A source quoted on the Herald Sun online even went as far as this:

“He’s just got that typical tortured artist’s mind.”

Oh god, really?

To summarise, I’d like to quote Neil (not in relation to ACA, but appropriate nonetheless) who left this comment on the Media Watch website last week:

Wonderful how the vested-interest media are turning “Matthew” into a victim here. “Matthew” now has a mental health issue and “We” in this country are not doing enough to help people with mental health issues. Cleverly, we’re now partly to blame for this maggot’s tanties.

Indeed:

‘Schizophrenia’ fears for Matthew Newton

UPDATE 12:49pm: TROUBLED actor Matthew Newton is suffering schizophrenia-like symptoms from dangerous use of hard drugs such as ice.
Newton, 33, who is undergoing treatment at Sydney’s Northside West Clinic, has been dumped by leading acting agency RGM, which represents Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne and Anthony LaPaglia.
It tops off a week in which Newton was sacked from the TV show The X Factor and dropped by his manager, Titus Day.
Newton is understood to have been taking a cocktail of ice, marijuana and cocaine.
His drug use was known to his family and to some senior employees at the Seven Network, when it hired him.

Absent from this update is any mention of the incident which sparked Newton being dropped from by his management. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
Because of this omission, I guess it’s no wonder Daryl posted this at the bottom of the article:

Daryl Posted at 4:47 AM August 30, 2010
Matt has taken a brave step forward and is getting treatment, good on him. As a sufferer of depression for many years myself, it’s not easy to admit to a problem and to seek help. Don’t give up Matt, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Channel Nine, aired this interview with Bert and Patti Newton.

I’m certainly not criticising Patti or Bert for sticking up for their son, after all they’re just being parents. Yet we should not let their parental defense cloud our view of what Newton has done, and therefore deride the seriousness of what happened to Rachel Taylor, Brooke Satchwell and other victims of domestic violence.

Yet, it seems ACA did exactly just that.
At the end of ACA Tracy Grimshaw says this:

We urge anyone suffering from mental illness or depression to call beyondblue or lifeline.

Absent from this is any mention of how women affected by domestic violence can get help.
Again, Bert is under contract with Channel Nine, so perhaps this is why Grimshaw gave the issue the soft touch, and after all, we can’t blame them for their sons behavior. However, regardless of the reasons, ACA is doing their female viewers a disservice by ignoring the issue of domestic violence.

Too many women die each year as a result of domestic violence. I’m hoping that this time around, we’re going to see justice served for Rachel Taylor and Brooke Satchwell (who must be observing the current events with sadness and anger – she knew the seedy underbelly of this “utmost gentleman” all along).
Like all men who abuse their partners, Matthew Newton should be held accountable for his  actions.

Because really, how many women does a man need to assault before he’s convicted and his celebrity career is over?



Posted in Celebrity, domestic violence, Family, Film & Television, Media Watch, Relationships, Sex And Love, Uncategorized, violence against women, Women's Health | 9 Comments »

The Twenty-Eighth Down Under Feminists Carnival

Posted by caitlinate on September 4, 2010

Oh my gawd, hi everyone. So this is the first time I’ve done a blog carnival and I put my hand up for it 6 months ago not realising that this was going to be like the busiest two or three weeks I would be having all year. So! There is no theme and things might be organised a little incoherently but I hope I’ve done a good job and you like…

WELCOME to the 28th Down Under Feminists Carnival!

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Announcements, Blog Watch, body image, domestic violence, Family, glbt, Interviews, law, Media Watch, music, Politics, porn, Relationships, reproductive rights, sex, Trans, violence against women, women we love, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

Lovett Rape Hearing: Once Again A Woman Is Asked What She Was Wearing

Posted by Clem Bastow on August 13, 2010

It’s a grim fact of life, it seems, that whenever a high-profile – or even one that doesn’t involve “celebrities” – rape hearing or trial is underway, details will emerge about the cross-examining of the alleged victim that are enough to lead you to think it’s not actually the 21st century, and instead 1950.

As the hearing regarding the alleged rape of the woman by sacked St Kilda Saints player Andrew Lovett continues, the media was today given access to the woman’s statement and a transcript of her cross examination – and what a surprise it was to read this detail:

Under cross-examination on Tuesday from Lovett’s defence counsel David Grace, QC, the woman agreed that on the night she met Lovett, she wanted to make herself look attractive and was interested in meeting men.

She agreed that she drank four vodka, lime and sodas and two shots at the Royal Saxon hotel that night but said she did not intend to get drunk.

Let me break this down very clearly to those who still, as it appears the defence counsel does, subscribe to archaic notions of what clothing or behaviour blurs the lines of what sexual behaviour is acceptable on the part of men:

IT DOESN’T MATTER IF SHE WAS DRESSED UP, IT DOESN’T MATTER IF SHE WAS DRUNK OR ON DRUGS, IT DOESN’T MATTER IF SHE “WANTED TO MAKE HERSELF LOOK ATTRACTIVE AND WAS INTERESTED IN MEETING MEN”, NONE OF THAT IMPLIES CONSENT IF SHE HASN’T VERBALLY GIVEN IT.

Posted in law, Media Watch, Sex Crimes, sexual assault, Sport, violence against women | 7 Comments »

Charlie Sheen & Sections of the Australian Media

Posted by caitlinate on December 29, 2009

Yesterday I was unfortunate enough to view the Channel Nine news. I had been watching the cricket (disappointed at Pakistan’s somewhat woeful performance) and when they cut from the transmission to the news I left the television on. I think I was talking to someone on facebook chat (shhh, don’t tell anyone) but keeping a somewhat distracted ear open to what they were, uh, ‘reporting’ from around the country. About half way through the announcer/newsreader said something along the lines of: “After the break, Charlie Sheen arrested.” This cued me and my fellow facebook chatter to riff on what he possibly could have been arrested for and if, in fact, there were any crimes we wouldn’t believe Charlie Sheen had been arrested for.

Then we came back from the break and the reporting went something like this:

It is being alleged that Brook Mueller was under the influence of alcohol or other substances when she made the call to police on Christmas to claim that her husband, Charlie Sheen, had assaulted her. Others now also claim that she may have completely fabricated the allegations that left Sheen – star of Two and a Half Men – spending part of his Christmas in jail.

I admit completely that the above is very much a snarky memory based quote but were I able to find the transcripts I don’t believe it would be much different (if anyone could help me out with a link that would be great).

What is important to Channel Nine isn’t to report that Charlie Sheen had assaulted his wife (though why they’re “reporting” on it anyway is a mystery) but that Brook Mueller is probably a drunk and was probably lying when she got her Grinch on and caused poor old, fun loving, friendly, nice guy Charlie to spend his Christmas in jail. Has she no heart? No Christmas spirit? Oh and p.s. that show we happened to mention before, it’s on right after this and we really want you to watch it. For Channel Nine, making sure that you aren’t dissuaded from watching their show is more important than accurately reporting celebrity occasions of domestic violence. Hell, to me it isn’t even about accurate reporting. It’s about not leading with statements that are intended to cast aspersions on the female partner in this situation. It’s about not making the decision to completely assassinate her character from the get go. It’s about reporting the facts that are available to you rather than prioritising protecting your brand, particularly when it’s to the detriment of yet another victim of domestic violence.

Reporting from The Herald Sun also pushes the drunken thing, bemoans Sheen “languishing in the Pitkin County Jail”, and commits a bizarre amount of space to celebrating Two and a Half Men, referring to it as a “sitcom sensation” and lauding its ratings status:

Sheen is the highest paid actor in US television and takes home $825,000 per episode on Two and a Half Men, which is also a ratings juggeraut [sic] for Channel 9.

It averages 1.2 million Australian viewers and is consistently in the top 10 most watched shows.

And, despite many episodes being repeated, it still trounces its competition, including The 7PM Project.

Seriously, weird.

For those interested here’s what actually happened (via E! Online, who have actually, you know, read the police report [pdf link] filed by responding officer Rick Magnuson of the Aspen Police Department). I think it quite definitively speaks for itself about what probably happened and what kind of loveable, friendly, aw-shucks, Two and a Half Men kind of guy Charlie Sheen really is. (Edit – Carlos Estevez is Sheen’s real name and the name he is referred to as here.) Please note, it’s possibly triggering.

Posted in Celebrity, domestic violence, Media Watch, violence against women | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Montmorency Football Club & The Legal System

Posted by caitlinate on October 28, 2009

As I’m sure many of you have read, three junior members of the Montmerency Football Club – a suburban football club in Victoria – have been charged with the sexual assault of two young women. Thirteen other players were interviewed and the police say they expect to lay further charges. At the end of their playing season a group of young players had organised an unofficial weekend away to Phillip Island. **trigger warning** Whilst there they lured two women to the villa they had rented and held them prisoner whilst raping them. One woman was reportedly ‘sexually assaulted by as many as eight men’ and the other at least five different times. They finally escaped when a brawl broke out between the men and they could sneak away unnoticed.

I know that it is because it’s a high profile case (it appears sports teams raping women is in vogue for the media) but it is so exciting to see the police taking this crime seriously and the courts processing it quickly. Several women I know are still caught up in the legal system two years after their original assaults. One woman I know had to wait a year and a half before she even got a committal hearing. Rape and sexual assault cases frequently take years to be processed and, as I’m sure you can imagine or are aware, this is not an enjoyable process. It’s not as easy to move on and heal when you have a court date in two months… and then in five months… and then in a year… Apart from the waiting and the wondering there’s the potential – or at least fear – of having to see your abuser. A given part of the process is that you have to relive the experience of your assault over and over and over again – to the police, to the judge, to the lawyers, on paper, in person, via video link up. You have to be cruelly cross examined by the lawyer of the person who assaulted you (I state unequivocally, right now, that the majority of lawyers that represent rapists are fucking scumbags).

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in law, Media Watch, Politics, sexual assault, violence against women | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments »

Thoughts on rape reporting

Posted by caitlinate on October 14, 2009

There’s a story up on The Age about the horrific rape of an Australia woman in Edinburgh. I’m attaching a massive TRIGGER WARNING to this article and this story. If you think reading somewhat graphic details about rape is a bad idea for you then be careful following the link to this story. It’s here.

Briefly: an Australian woman living in Edinburgh was raped multiple times by two strangers who were also physically violent in other ways. There’s a couple of reasons I want to mention this article.

First is that Fairfax has finally managed to write an article about rape that isn’t horribly offensive. (I checked outside and the apocalypse hasn’t come so I’m not really sure what is going on.) Sure, the title (‘Australian woman’s eight-hour rape ordeal’) is a bit jarring and they mention the nationality of the perpetrators, a possibly unnecessary descriptor. But, for the most part, it’s a simple and well written piece of reportage on an horrific and devastating crime.

Second is, why?

The article states that the “rape was reported as one of the worst to ever occur in Edinburgh.” This makes me wonder if she’d instead been raped by her partner who was claiming she had consented, would the reporting be as straight forward and clear? Or would they write “pretty bad but not the worst” and would we be back to the inverted comma’s of ‘rape’? I understand that there are different levels of brutality and different forms of trauma, some worse than others. But I try really hard to not buy into the sliding scale of rape. Disqualifying a persons experience of rape as ‘less’ than that of someone else is very dangerous territory. One of the cruelest things about rape, that I think a lot of people don’t understand, is that it often can’t be measured by the form of the original attack, it’s the long term emotional consequences that are the true terror. Obviously, the rape itself impacts on those long term consequences but not in a definitive definable way.

I know I sound awfully cynical here but to get to the point: is the reason the article is written so clearly due to the crime itself being so brutal and horrific? There is no way anyone could cast aspersions on the survivor after reading in detail about what happened to her. Additionally, the survivor was able to give lengthy and detailed statements to the police about her attack as well as appearing in court. Is the reporting on this woman’s experience fair, balanced and reasoned because what happened to her is – beyond a shadow of doubt – awful and because she was able to tell us exactly how awful it was?

Thoughts?

Posted in Media Watch, sexual assault, violence against women | Tagged: , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Forget The “Sex Predator”, How ‘Bout His Wife, Eh?

Posted by Clem Bastow on August 28, 2009

A brief MediaWatch-ish post for you this morning. I was reading “the papers” online and when I reached the bottom of the page, noticed Fairfax’s ‘Top Stories’ lists for their various interstate publications. This headline was holding the #1 spot in the BrisbaneTimes.com.au “charts”:

Picture 1

Naturally, I clicked on the story, detailing the sentencing of Luke James Colless, who pleaded guilty to “five counts of rape, five counts of assault with intent to commit rape, six counts of sexual assault and two counts of assault occasioning bodily harm, over the attacks on 11 women”. Well, you might not assume as much given the story’s headline, but the “wife” in question rated a mention that lasted for less than a sentence; she wasn’t even noted by name. Here’s the full extent of the rapists’ wife’s appearance in the article:

Colless’ barrister Tony Kimmins said despite his offending, his client was supported by his wife and family.

And that’s it. In other words, out of the 556 words in the article, approximately 17 made any reference whatsoever to his wife.

What gives, brisbanetimes.com.au? Exactly which champion is coming up with your headlines? This may seem like subeditorial semantics, but there’s something particularly insidious about this headline that ignores the full horror of Luke James Colless’ crimes and, instead, makes some sort of Tammy Wynnette-esque comment on his wife standing by her man.

I hope I’m not the only one who thinks a simple “Sex predator faces life in jail” would have sufficed.

Posted in law, Media Watch, Sex Crimes, sexual assault, violence against women | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

Kyle Sandilands: “Rape Happens”

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 30, 2009

As Caitlin yesterday noted, Kyle and Jackie O – and, by extension, 2Day FM – have been embroiled in a particularly distasteful “scandal” after a 14-year-old girl they cornered (at the request of her mother) and forced to take a lie-detector test live on radio yesterday revealed she’d been raped at the age of 12 – to which Sandilands’ response was “Right… and is that the only [sexual] experience you’ve had?”

On today’s show – and via the News Ltd stable – Sandilands and Jackie O have responded to the fury that rightly exploded within both the media and broadcasting industry and from rape counsellors, and child psychologists (and, and…). Prepare yourself to be enraged/appalled/mind-blown by Sandilands’ defense of his behaviour on-air (emphasis mine):

“It is just one of [those] things, unfortunately rape happens in society.”

Incredible. Not only has the poor girl had her rape revealed on live radio (and then played and replayed on various media sites) – not to mention being in the “care” of a mother who evidently knew about the rape but did nothing about it, and forced her to discuss her sexual activity and drug use on live radio – but now she has Sandilands essentially shrugging and saying “shit happens”.

No, Kyle, it’s not just “one of those things” – and I dread to think where we’ll end up as a society if people think that “rape happens”. Get this idiot off the air, NOW.

Update: tigtog from over at Hoyden About Town has set up a comprehensive site, Sack Kyle & Jackie O, which offers all the background information you need on the debacle, plus instructions as to how to lodge a complaint – the latter being particularly important, as ACMA won’t formally investigate 2Day FM over the matter unless written complaints are sent to the broadcaster first.

Posted in Celebrity, Film & Television, Media Watch, Parenting & Family, Sex Crimes, sexual assault, violence against women | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

 
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