The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Posts Tagged ‘law’

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.


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.


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.


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.


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 »

A precedent set in Queensland abortion law, what next?

Posted by caitlinate on October 14, 2010

As many of you will be aware, earlier today Tegan Simone Leach and Sergie Brennan – charged with “procuring an abortion and supplying drugs to procure an abortion” – were acquitted at trial.

This is a fantastic result and one I’m sure the Cairns couple (as they seem to be universally known) were and are very relieved to hear. It’s also being hailed by feminists as a victory for reasons relating to the draconian laws currently in place in Queensland. Under the 110 year old law of that sunny state, abortion is illegal except to protect the mother’s life or her physical or mental wellbeing.

Which leads me to wonder if this is a victory not just because the couple have been acquitted but because of the legal precedent it sets. Apparently there is some feeling amongst those who have worked in women’s health in Queensland that an open challenge to the abortion laws currently in place would be a very precarious undertaking. That not only would any move to progressively alter the laws fail but that it might result in even more restrictive ones being put in place instead. There has been a lot of criticism heaped upon the Queensland Premier Anna Bligh (a self proclaimed feminist) for her failure to express solidarity with the Cairns couple or to undertake any party lead reform (she even went so far as to put a dampener on a colleague’s attempt to legislatively push for reform). I’m not necessarily adverse to criticisms of Bligh and I certainly don’t have much faith in politicians to actually follow through on their professed ideologies (though conservative politicians are generally more reliable on this account). What I wonder is if having this case go to trial and result in an outcome that declares that women in Queensland can take control of their bodies and their fertility without successful state persecution is better politically than a) the case being dropped or b) unsuccessful or further damaging attempts to legislate (without precedent).

I’d even go so far as to posit that the public outrage, media attention and political involvement of organizations like GetUp only came about because the case actually went to trial and that if it hadn’t we’d be stuck – loud in our feminist corners but still invisible in the mainstream – hailing that, rather than today’s outcome, as the victory it might not have necessarily been.

Obviously none of this might matter to Brennan and Leach who have probably had an unimaginably horrible time dealing with the public attention cast on them. I’ve read reports that they received death threats – a despicable and terrifying thing for both of them to have had to experience. I can only imagine the strain this would have put on their lives and their relationship and there is no reasoning that excuses or makes acceptable what they’ve had to endure. While I can argue that the way things panned out – while risky and awful for those directly involved – was a more successful route to change for feminists and women in Queensland, it’s distressing that no matter what path we take it still has to involve pain and suffering for those doing something as simple as seeking an abortion.

This wouldn’t have had to be the way change came about if members of the Queensland parliament listened to the 90% of Australians who believe abortion should be legal and stood together to legislate accordingly. As it is, my totally-not-legally-trained self sees this as a potentially good precedent. That’s really not enough. Let’s see the laws change now, before any more women have to stand trial.

Posted in law, Politics, reproductive rights, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Religion and the law

Posted by hannahcolman on September 14, 2009

I got along to a session at the Melbourne Writers Festival a couple of weeks ago called ‘Writer As Activist,’ which featured Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah on the panel. Her debut collection of short stories, An Elegy for Easterly, is published by Faber. Gappah won Zimbabwe’s Mukuru Nyaya Award for comic writing, and was a runner-up in the SA/PEN HSBC short story competition judged by JM Coetzee. She has law degrees from Cambridge, Graz University and the University of Zimbabwe. She lives with her son Kush in Geneva, where she works as an international trade lawyer. She speaks English, German and French, as well as her native language, Shona.

I’m still trying to figure out when on earth she finds time to write fiction.

In the panel discussion, Gappah came across as an extremely intelligent, funny and sensitive woman. She did point out that she struggles with being referred to as “The voice of Zimbabwe” in the media. She also mentioned that she doesn’t necessarily consider herself an ‘activist’; rather, she identifies as a short story writer whose fictional characters inhabit contemporary Zimbabwe. She lamented that because of the nation’s current political situation and the overwhelming interest in Mugabe, she had never been asked, as a non-fiction writer, how she crafted her characters. (Later, during Q&A, a lovely man up the back did ask her this, which was met with appreciative laughter from both the audience and Gappah).

Anyway, I decided to have a look at her blog. She had posted about a story which appeared on the BBC news website regarding a new law in Mali which gives women equal rights in marriage. Here’s Gappah’s post in its entirety.

First they want an education, now this. This, right here, is exactly why women should remain poor and illiterate.

The irony of this story, pinched in its entirety from the BBC news website, is that the woman inveighing against “intellectuals” in this story will never appreciate the irony of that last sentence.


Tens of thousands of people in Mali’s capital, Bamako, have been protesting against a new law which gives women equal rights in marriage.

The law, passed earlier this month, also strengthens inheritance rights for women and children born out of wedlock.

The head of a Muslim women’s association says only a minority of Malian women – “the intellectuals” as she put it – supports the law.

Several other protests have taken place in other parts of the country.

The law was adopted by the Malian parliament at the beginning of August, and has yet to be signed into force by the president.

One of the most contentious issues in the new legislation is that women are no longer required to obey their husbands.

Hadja Sapiato Dembele of the National Union of Muslim Women’s Associations said the law goes against Islamic principles.

“We have to stick to the Koran,” Ms Dembele told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme. “A man must protect his wife, a wife must obey her husband.”

“It’s a tiny minority of women here that wants this new law – the intellectuals. The poor and illiterate women of this country – the real Muslims – are against it,” she added.
Gappah is right. Irony WIN. The reality is pretty frightening, though.

Posted in Blog Watch, Faith and Religion, law | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Woman Working In Objectifying Job Charged With Being Immodest

Posted by Mel Campbell on August 14, 2009

Geez, you really can’t win, can you? You’re working as a “skimpy barmaid”, a job that requires you to wear a cleavage-revealing bodysuit and French knickers. You go up to take a customer’s order, and then he turns out to be an undercover cop arresting you for “being immodestly dressed on licensed premises”.

This is the absurd predicament facing Megan Brooks, who appeared in Fremantle Magistrates Court today after an incident that occurred at her workplace, the Market City Tavern in Canning Vale, WA, last November. Even the presiding magistrate seemed to think it was a rubbish charge, advising that he was probably going to dismiss the case.

“I just felt like I was doing my job and I don’t think that I was immodestly dressed,” Megan said outside the court. “There’s more important things out there (for police) than sort of sneaking around undercover hoping to catch skimpy barmaids wearing not very much clothing.”

I’m not sure what is more startlingly offensive:

  • the fact that it’s possible to face legal charges (and the associated penalties) arising from the moral judgments of an individual law enforcement officer. I wonder if this aspect of the Liquor Licensing Act was originally drafted to prevent prostitutes from looking for business in bars, pubs and clubs;
  • the fact that a woman is facing these charges over clothing that she is required to wear at work;
  • the fact that her body was nonchalantly discussed publicly in court as if it didn’t belong to a thinking, feeling person.

It’s shameful that when even the magistrate agreed that Megan Brooks probably hadn’t done anything wrong and did not have a case to answer, she was still subjected to the this kind of treatment:

The court was told that the accused was wearing black lace French knickers with a buttock exposed, but [her defence lawyer] Mr Dobson wanted to know which buttock was exposed as well as the extent of the exposure. It was also stated that Ms Brooks’ nipples were erect, although Mr Dobson questioned whether that too was criminal conduct.

Luckily, the incident has not put Megan off working in what WA Today calls “the barmaid industry”. (I wonder if this is a separate industry to “the hospitality industry” that I’d always presumed bar staff work in.)

So far I’ve left aside the issue of whether it’s right or wrong to offer people employment on the basis that they wear skimpy or demeaning clothing. On one hand, I don’t want to be judgmental about the existence of “skimpy barmaid” jobs, because people aren’t obliged to work in a job whose requirements they find repugnant. You wouldn’t take a job as a stripper, for instance, if you weren’t prepared to take your clothes off.

But more realistically, many of the uniforms that rob people of their dignity are in low-paying service-industry jobs typically filled by people who don’t have the luxury of many choices. Take Nando’s, for instance, which requires its mostly young staff to wear sexualised slogan T-shirts that imply they agree with and personify sentiments such as: “I make the chicks hot”, “Chicks rule”, “Take me home, I’m basted” or “I’ve done your chick”.

It’s frustratingly hypocritical that our culture so persistently seeks to turn women into sexual objects, and then seeks to punish a woman for acceding to that objectification.

Posted in law | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

McClelland Talks, Says Mostly Good Things

Posted by caitlinate on July 24, 2009

Attorney-General Robert McClelland today announced a series of (potential) changes to the family law system in Australia. These changes are aimed at tackling domestic violence and child abuse in Australia and altering the way the courts operate in terms of these issues. In the introduction to his speech he stated:

“I believe that at the moment there are still too many families that slip through the safety net. Complex problems rarely have simple solutions and they can’t be overcome by taking action in isolation. To address violence we need to identify holes in the system, and collaborate to tighten the safety net. It’s not enough to look for holes in the law, or in court processes or in the delivery of services, or any of these things on their own. Our safety net must provide the tightest protection possible for families negotiating the family law system.”

This is obviously in large part politician speak (he says ‘safety net’ three different times, somewhat unnecessarily) but I feel that his heart is in the right place and that revamping or strengthening the way the system works is a good thing. I do, however, have some reservations, in particular that the focus of this speech and these changes seems to be to the system after the fact – so after when the abuse occus rather than working on prevention in the first place.

The four main announcements he made are outlined in bold.

• A training package for family law system professionals and the development of minimum screening guidelines;

Training and information for ‘professionals’ within the system is a really amazing thing and I’m glad they are prioritising this. A lot of the problems that victims and survivors of violence have with legal system professionals (including the police) is that they are untrained and unaware of the impacts and complications involved in violence and abuse. This often results in behaviour/advice that can be further traumatising or unhelpful.

I am a little concerned that these training packages will be of a bureaucratic nature. The best way to inform people about the requirements and experiences of abuse survivors is to have survivors communicate about what they need or needed and the best ways to proceed. Nonetheless, it does seem that they are taking cues from the National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children’s April report ‘Time for Action’ which came from a lot of community and survivor consultation.

The ‘minimum screening guidelines’ mentioned aren’t really elaborated on but I think McClelland’s talking about mandatory reporting levels and altering what he terms ‘inefficient jurisdictional boundaries’

• A pilot of legally assisted mediation for families experiencing violence;

I think this is an interesting one. The Howard government pretty much banished lawyers from some aspects of family law disputes, preferring separating couples to use counselors for mediation. McClelland has commissioned this pilot project to instead fund lawyers for mediation in cases where violence is alleged. He states:

“In assisting families to exercise choice in resolving their separation disputes, I am funding a pilot program to provide legal representation in mediation sessions to families who have experienced violence or are at risk of it.”

This could be positive. I don’t think that someone should have no legal support or recourse when the partner they are separating from has been violent towards them or their children. However allowing lawyers to the table could bring about two negative possibilities. One that bullying abusive lawyers will be in the room and it will be about forcing one party into submission. Secondly that if one partner is in a more stable financial position they will be able to hire a more experienced lawyer who can work for more favourable outcomes for their client – regardless of if they’ve been violent.

• A review of the family court practice and procedure, lead by Professor Richard Chisholm, a former Family Court judge;

This review seems to be about expanding the current model for dealing with children who have been abused or in abusive situations. Currently in use is the Magellan case management model – introduced in 1998. It brings together the family courts, police and child protection agencies to ensure the Court has all the information it needs to make decisions “in the best interest of the child” but is incredibly flawed. The current laws require the Family Court to presume the “best interests of a child” are served by a meaningful relationship with both parents after divorce, regardless of if one parent has been abusive. It forces parents into ongoing relationships with violent ex-partners and requires them to regularly hand over their children to the care of said ex-partner.

Chisholm is going to be consulting experts and examining whether the practices and procedures in the family courts encourage appropriate disclosures of family violence, and whether appropriate support is provided within the family court system for families who have experienced or are at risk of violence.

• An enquiry by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) to identify gaps in the law and reinforce the previously mentioned ‘safety net’.

This inquiry will look at two important issues raised in the National Council’s report:

1. It will examine the interaction of State and Territory laws relating to family violence and child protection with Commonwealth family laws and criminal laws to determine whether changes are required to better protect women and children; and

2. It will examine the impact of the inconsistent interpretation or application of laws in cases of sexual assault occurring in the context of family violence, on the victims of violence.

I can do nothing but applaud the fact that this enquiry is happening and cross my fingers that the outcomes will be positive for victims and survivors of violence, abuse and assault.

Overall I find the announcements to be on the positive side, even if only because action is being taken and family violence is being taken seriously. Some of the measures that will be introduced do raise questions but I don’t feel that any are to be damned but rather watched closely to see what the results are. I do wish that this was all less about enquiries and reviews and about real and substantial action being taken. However if the ‘reviews’ and ‘enquiries’ involve talking to communities, affected groups and survivors then I think extended evaluation is probably a better thing that rushed but ineffective action.

Finally, one other thing of interest McClelland mentioned is the following:

“Measures to address family violence will assist the Government’s effort to halve homelessness by 2020, as we now know that family violence is the principle cause of homelessness among young women with children.”

This statement displays, to me, an understanding of the wide and varied effect that domestic violence has on families, individuals, women and children, something of a relief after the draconian attitude of the previous government.

Posted in law, Parenting & Family, Politics, violence against women | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

A Sentence Reflects Its Crime – But What Is “Less-Serious Rape”?

Posted by Clem Bastow on June 30, 2009

Initially I began reading this report on the sentencing of serial rapist John Xydias with a sense of justice being served, a feeling that at times can feel increasingly rare when it comes to the sentencing of sex criminals. Victorian Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Warren sentenced Xydias to 28 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a history of criminal sexual behaviour that almost beggars belief (particularly upsetting is the fact that many of the victims were not aware of the assaults until they had been shown the video tapes by police):

He pleaded guilty to 86 charges, comprising 25 of rape and 61 of sexual assault, in a series of sex attacks on 11 women between 1991 and 2006,

He rendered the women unconscious, probably with the date rape drug Rohypnol, before sexually assaulting them and filming the attacks.

Too often, rapists receive sentences that in no way reflect the seriousness of their crimes (particularly in light of the ongoing damage it wreaks on their victim’s life) – that is if they receive sentences at all.

However, I was shocked when I read this particular passage of Justice Warren’s sentencing (emphasis is mine):

“Your offending was sustained over a period of 15 years, your conduct was not low-level or less-serious rape.”

It’s particularly disappointing as I feel it lessens the impact of a sentencing statement that otherwise conveys the severity of Xydias’ crimes. As she then continues:

“The worst aspect of your conduct was the degrading and dehumanising of your victims,” she said.

“The community will not tolerate the abuse, degradation and humiliation of women as you have carried out.”

All true, but I read the entire thing but what stuck in my mind was the passage I emphasised previously.

What on earth is “low-level or less-serious” rape? Would “the community” tolerate these supposed “low-level” offenses, thus necessitating a lighter sentence? Rape is rape. I appreciate that she perhaps was referring to relative levels of physical violence with regards to the act, but even then, surely the core issue is that the rape itself – the sexual assault – is the most damaging part of the crime for the person who suffers the attack?

The perceived semantics and language of rape – witness the ongoing debate about “grey rape”, “marital rape” and “date rape” (with many pundits and politicians seemingly believing the latter two don’t even exist) – are doubly frustrating because the fact that we even need to argue about the impact of language in these situations demonstrates that the seriousness of rape is still doubted or misunderstood. If a man rapes me, no matter whether I am given a black eye, a slit throat, a drink laced with drugs, or a bunch of flowers afterwards, a man has still raped me. When will the wider community (and, importantly, the legal world) realise that the issue is not (primarily, at least) what happened before, during or after the rape, but the rape itself?

What do you think?

(PS go here for Hoyden About Town’s excellent discussion of the use of passive voice in reporting rape and sexual assault – something that, in rare respite, hasn’t happened in today’s coverage of Xydias’ sentencing.)

Posted in Media Watch, Politics, Sex Crimes, sexual assault, violence against women | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

You’re Using the Wrong Pronoun

Posted by caitlinate on May 4, 2009

I’m angry, really angry.

There’s this article up at my favourite place, The Age, this morning. It’s titled: “Court lets girl, 17, remove breasts” and already they’ve ruined my day. Guess what? The court did not “let a ‘girl’ remove ‘her’ breasts”. The court let a (trans) male remove his breasts because they don’t fit with his gender identity.

Throughout the article they consistently use the wrong pronoun in describing “Alex”. Once or twice they used he, they repeatedly used his name to avoid using a pronoun and most of the time just went with ‘she’. When quoting the Justice that ruled on the case talking about him, and using the correct pronouns, they put his name in brackets afterwards. You know, in case any readers got confused with all this he-ing and she-ing. This is something that happens repeatedly in the mainstream media when reporting on trans issues. Think about how frustrating and silencing it is to see the word ‘sex’ being used instead of rape in the papers. Now imagine how it would feel if every time you read a report on trans related issues in the paper your entire identity was mocked, maligned and completely disrespected. It is silencing and hurtful to use the wrong pronoun when referring to a trans person. Sure, people make mistakes. A syndicated newspaper being lazy in checking in on that kind of thing? It’s not a mistake, they made a fucking choice and it’s an oppressive one and it’s not good enough.

The article also publishes examples of times when the Court has made a decision in regards to acts related to gender identity for minors that may have not turned out so well or when someone who has altered their biological gender regretted the decision. Yet no mention of the thousands of people who have changed their gender or reject gender or are happily and healthily trans. I can’t imagine why, she says with a sneer.

The teenager had been diagnosed with “gender identity dysphoria”, a psychological condition in which a person has the normal physical characteristics of one sex but longs to be the opposite sex.

Why don’t you go read a book? Gender Trouble by Judith Butler, Gender Outlaw by Kate Bornstein or Whipping Girl by Julia Serano could be good starting points. Bonus fuck you points for the emotive language of “longs to be”. I long for water when I’m thirsty. I long for gloves when my hands are cold. A person whose biological gender doesn’t align with their gender identity does not ‘long’ to be the ‘opposite sex’. They want to be and are sometimes able to be and in the process face institutional and personal hate and discrimination. Oh and p.s. sex does not equal gender. Sex is fucking or making love or ‘sexual intercourse’. Sex is something I generally do with another person. Gender is an ambiguous, fluid and nebulous concept that is regarded in some quarters as socialised and performative. It has nothing to do with my cunt so please stop trying to force it to.

But ethicist Nick Tonti-Filippini said mainstream medicine did not recognise hormone treatments and surgery as treatment for gender dysphoria. He said it was a psychiatric disorder qualifying under American guidelines as a psychosis because “it’s a belief out of accordance with reality”.

Having a gender identity that differs from your biological sex is not a disorder. How many times must this be repeated? If by mainstream medicine in America he’s referring to the American Psychological Association then he is referencing the group that only finally stated that homosexuality wasn’t a disorder in 1975. What a trustworthy and knowledgeable group they are. Plus, Nicky, could you maybe clarify exactly what your concept of reality is? Sarah Palin running for Vice President of the United States of America seemed completely removed from any kind of sane reality to me. The fact that you can get pancakes in a spray can is something I find hard to believe. There are millions of people around the world who are completely adamant that there is a dude who lives on a cloud in the sky and makes decisions about their lives – shall we rush them off to the sanatorium too then? Since when does anyone get to make decisions about other peoples lives and, not only their choices about how to represent themselves, but their self-knowledge of who they are and who they want to be?

Fuck Nick Tonti-Filippini, fuck the mainstream media and fuck mainstream medicine.

I sincerely hope you understand why I am writing about this here. If not:

A million years ago Simone de Beauvoir said: “One is not born a woman, one becomes one.” Trans men and women are punished and dismissed and beaten and murdered by our society because their gender identity doesn’t fit the ‘norm’. They are oppressed by gender the same way women are. Violence – whether physical or not – against trans people is a feminist issue. Get with it.

Posted in Media Watch, Trans | Tagged: , , , | 12 Comments »

Appropriate result for the long term abused

Posted by Cate on March 27, 2009

Supporters of victims of domestic violence are no doubt relieved to see that the case against a teenager charged with murdering her stepfather after years of abuse has been dropped.
The 19-year-old from northern Victorian had been accused of shooting her stepfather, 34, after he threatened her with a firearm. She had been subject to year of ongoing physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

You’ll recall my take on the case earlier this year. I’ve still not recieved any information about the repercussions to the school who failed to mandatory report the ongoing abuse.

Posted in Sex Crimes, sexual assault, Uncategorized, violence against women | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Women Are Always To Blame, Part Two

Posted by Cate on November 26, 2008

Dawn Chorus blogger Caitlinate provided a recent sterling analysis of new governmental advertising to curb binge drinking, one advertisement in particular concerning a drunken teenage women who had sex due to the influence of alcohol (and possibly sexual violence).

Well the media again provides a replica of real life, as a 15 year old male has been charged with the rape of a 14 year old female after she passed out drunk at a party. According to the Herald Sun:

She first knew of the alleged rape when she was taunted at school during that week

Apparently a parent was home at the time but unaware, and there were 12 other teenagers at the party.

The male is yet to be sentenced, but let’s hope it will set a reminder and deterrent in the greater community that being unconscious due to alcohol is not an invitation to unwanted sexual acts. I’m not clear if the other youths in the house were aware of the act as it occurred or after the fact but taunting and teasing is deplorable and a hideous way to realise you’ve been sexually assaulted. Surely they should be put up as examples of those who condone sexual violence and be vilified accordingly.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Eyes Without A Face

Posted by Cate on July 30, 2008

Today’s Guardian newspaper has an update on their long running campaign regarding acid attacks on Indian women. The Guardian has been involved in the issue for many years and in 2003 launched CSAAW (Campaign and Struggle Against Acid Attacks on Women) to work towards the prevention of acid attacks and lobbying the government to rehabilitate the survivors.

They note:

[W]hile there has been some change, there is still terrible indifference. The state is still reluctant to take on the acid manufacturers and there is still no regulation of the sale of acid. Money that has been set aside for the survivors is slow to reach them.

And, not unlike the issue of domestic violence in western countries,

[T]here are enough laws on paper to prosecute attackers, enforcement is, as ever, a problem. The police are reluctant to interfere with what they consider domestic disputes…

You can find out more about how to help from the Acid Survivor’s Foundation.

You can also view the documentary Burnt, Not Defeated here:

Posted in Uncategorized, violence against women | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »