“Digital diminishment” and problems of scale.

SMH: “Driver points to ad campaign for his digitally enhanced road rage”

Simon Jardak, a Sydney man, pissed a woman off on the road over a “lane change”. (I’m guessing that this was a rude and/or dangerous lane change, but that isn’t elaborated in the news article). The woman waved her pinky at him. He lost the plot, eventually throwing a bottle at her, which hit her car. He was fined all of $400 for this assault, and now he’s mad. And guess why? This pathetic hoon claims that he was just defending himself after she “sexually assaulted” him, and that the fine is unfair.

Jardak blamed his malicious damage charge on the RTA’s anti-speeding campaign, in which hoons are mocked with wagging little fingers, suggesting they have tiny penises.

[…]

Jardak told the ABC his digital diminishment was sparked by a clash with a female motorist over a lane change. “She started flashing her lights, sticking her finger up, which didn’t offend me too much, but then she started to use that [little pinky] gesture and I was offended by it,” he said.

“So I took offence, because, you know, any man would, and I got a bit angry and we had a bit of an argument, sort of, you know, gestures, and then I just threw my bottle out the window.”

The “little pinky” gesture towards a man was akin to sexual assault, Jardak said. “I just was angry and I threw it out the window, and I ended up hitting her car, and I get charged pretty much for being sexually assaulted by her, you know what I mean,” he said.

“If I said something about a girl, something she had, if I had mentioned they were small, I think they would be offended, too “¦ I regret it now, but being assaulted has affected me and offended me.”

So, let me get this straight. Women should be hurling objects at any and every asshat, numpty and pillock who wolf-whistles, remarks, or gestures at us in any way that may be interpreted as a comment on our body shape, size or attributes? We get to label those comments and gestures “sexual assault”, and we’re perfectly justified in retaliating with physical violence? Are you sure you want that, little fella?

All aboard the failtrain, Jardak. Watch the step.

[hat tip to Morgaine]



Categories: gender & feminism, violence

Tags: , ,

7 replies

  1. I hate that ad. I hate it even more that it’s apparently been more effective than ad campaigns that focus on the actual bad effects of dangerous driving– because a small penis is a far greater threat to a man than injury or death. And beyond all of that, I hate it that the penis=power mentality, which is used to promote male privilege, is being used to accuse women of sexual assault (even though in a legal sense, such a gesture could only be construed as sexual harrassment, if you wanted to stretch it that far).

  2. Yup, only threatening gestures can be construed as assault, insulting commentary is not a threat, although it can be harassment if and only if it’s a repeated pattern of behaviour. One-off insulting gestures from strangers simply do not count.
    How come the SMH doesn’t tell us how old he is? They always used to tell us the age and marital status of every woman in a news article, how come we don’t know how old Simon is?
    I’m just wondering in case he’s the right age bracket to be a guy who jumped out of his car and came up to my driver’s window about five years ago and screamed abuse at me because I mouthed “Fuck Off, P-plater” at him after a series of condescending gestures towards a sign that he (mistakenly) thought I had infringed about a block earlier. He seriously told a middle-aged woman with two schoolkids in the back of the car that I wouldn’t be so brave as to say it again if I wasn’t locked inside my car, and that I’d disrespected him and deserved a fist in my face for swearing at him. I told him that if he hit me just for saying words he would go to jail, and eventually he went back to his car when the lights changed.
    I wish I’d had the guts to get out and call the police if he did hit me, and go and tell his hugely embarrassed girlfriend that she should get the hell out of that relationship right now, because if ever there was a wife beater in the making, it was that guy. Jardak sounds very similar.

  3. Wow. He’s sure doing a great job of convincing everyone he doesn’t have a reason to be insecure about his penis, isn’t he?

  4. That’s it, the next time I hear the term Itty Bitty Titty Committee, BOTTLE!!!
    These are perfect examples of people who say “it’s just a joke” about sexist jokes not getting it.
    Mocking masculinity is to ‘sexually assault’ someone, give provocation for violence, have appalling threats made in front of children (how manly!)and more influential to dangerous drivers, apparently, than the risk they’re posing to others lives. Jokes about actual sexual assualt otoh retain anti-pc cred.
    It wonder what influence it had on the judge that she was referencing a state ad in her ‘provocation’?

  5. tigtog -that’s interesting re: commentary’s limited recognition as a threat.
    I’m wondering now about guys make who make loud, bigoted observations about other passengers on the bus.
    Especially whether public transport being a confined space could mean that commentary – made repeatedly to a passenger stuck in their seat during a long commute -constitutes harrasment for imposing intimidating comment in an environment where the target’s capacity for consent is reduced.
    Drivers usually ignore guys making very threatening insults about other passengers – which always annoys me given the amount of effort made to put noisy kids or drunks off the bus “for other passengers convenience”.

  6. Outfox, IANAL (I am not a lawyer) but that is my understanding of the legal definition of harassment – it has to be a repeated pattern of behaviour, not just an isolated event.
    With someone insulting other people throughout a bus journey, I imagine that a clever lawyer would argue that a single bus journey constitutes an isolated event, and therefore that insults over the course of a single bus journey would not constitute harassment. I, like you, would find it very intimidatory and therefore harassing, but would the judge be convinced that multiple utterances are a pattern of behaviour, or would they be swayed by a single bus journey mitigating against the presumption or repeated behaviour?
    I wouldn’t like to guess where the decision would fall on that one.

  7. Of course, a single convincing threat of harm can constitute assault even if it doesn’t constitute harassment.

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