Call to Action on Violence against Women: Guest Hoyden Su

Su is a regular commenter with a background in physiology and zoology.

Just a quick reminder to Antipodean hoydenizens (Australian Division) to get behind Amnesty International’s campaign to urge the Federal Government to properly fund a National Plan of Action to Address Violence against Women. The National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children that was to develop the plan has yet to deliver its report to the Federal Government and with the budget just around the corner, this may mean the plan misses out on crucial funding. Amnesty reports they have been receiving “mixed messages” from Labor MP’s about the importance of this issue.

It is disheartening, though not at all unexpected, that in the face of the wealth of evidence about the extent of domestic violence, of sexual assault, of harassment and abuse of women in the workplace, that there are still MP’s who would wave away the issue of violence against women as secondary. I don’t know about you but I get tired of digging up statistics to make a case only to have my interlocutor glaze over or react with frank or ill-concealed disbelief. Violence is, as Moira Carmody pointed out in relation to sexual assault, so embedded in our culture that people don’t or won’t see it, or no longer consider it to be violence.

This shameful avoidance is itself a violation, it puts women and children in the position of having to state, restate and continually produce evidence for something that everybody already knows. That is the kind of tactic the skilled proponent of emotional manipulation uses to keep their victims perpetually on the back foot. No wonder it sometimes feel as if progress is glacial. Each morning we have to get up and prove the existence of the sun, moon, and stars from first principles, by the time we get around to discussing what can be done about violence against women, the sun has gone down and it is not the right time to begin. In the patriarchy it is always the wrong time for stopping violence against women.

We already know that violence against women is an enormous problem, what we have is the shameful and widespread resistance to doing anything about it.

Case in Point: Benny Elias has issued a statement concerning Brett Stewart, who has been charged with sexual assault and banned from playing by the NRL for breaching the code of conduct. This statement is an object lesson in wounded entitlement:

“The players can not comprehend that Stewart has been found guilty of a breach under the code of conduct when many players [and officials] have previously been ignored for perceived breaches.”

O Noes! No longer can we engage in drunken offensive behaviour because the NRL might enforce a pre-existing code that bans that behaviour – a code we already know about and agreed to abide by when we signed our contracts. Oh WOE!

Props to the NRL and Mal Meninga who provide some slight cause to hope.



Categories: gender & feminism, social justice, violence

Tags: , , , , ,

11 replies

  1. The entitlement. It staggers me:
    Shorter Benny: There IS a code. We KNOW the rules. But BEFORE you ignored it. PLEASE DON’T GROUND ME!!! OH you guys are so UNFAIR!!!
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..“Watch this space” (or FP butchers all your favourite philosophies!)

  2. @ fuckpoliteness:
    I can understand the players THINKING “bugger, we aren’t going to get away with doing what we shouldn’t do any more” because they have been getting away with it up until now. Still, as Su says, its IN THEIR FUCKING CONTRACTS that they sign AS ADULTS. What staggers me is Benny Elias (and presumably other players that he is speaking for) thinking that WHINING THAT THEY CAN”T GET AWAY WITH BEHAVING BADLY ANY MORE in a press release was a really good plan for getting public sympathy.
    Guys, behaving like a jerk because you’ve drunk too much is against the code because it’s bad PR. Assaulting a woman is even worse in the PR department, and it’s also fucking illegal and all sorts of bad karma to boot. Elite athletes are not fucking gods who should be allowed to do whatever they want, chaps.
    Thanks Su for highlighting this.

  3. The comments of Elias are pathetic. The NRL needs blokes to stand up to the obvious as well as casual misogyny that comes with the sport.
    The NRL has been lax in sanctioning players but that can’t continue which is what the NRL understands (whatever their past sins) and Elias doesn’t.
    The Beloved and I were discussing this earlier this evening and we reckon a NRL player will need to go to jail before the message really hits home. And that is sad given the efforts of Catharine Lumby and Karen Willis to educate the NRL players.

  4. At the moment I’m still busy being outraged by the reporting in the press since last Thursday implying that Stewart has somehow been exonerated because there is no DNA evidence. The Australian (citing only the Daily Telegraph as a source – there’s some class journalism for you) even used the word “cleared”. Which is complete rot. So either their writer and sub-editor or editor are really, really stupid or really, really corrupt.

  5. @ orlando

    The police brought the charges of sexual assault against Stewart before they had the DNA results. The implication is that the DNA results were not what the case was standing on and that the other evidence is good. Apparently there is video evidence as well.

  6. @ Shaun:
    Sounds like the press have a bad case of CSI syndrome, where DNA is king. They’re forgetting that there’s always been plenty of other forms of evidence.
    Surely even your average CSI fan knows by now that there are ways to avoid depositing DNA, and also that some men simply don’t secrete DNA in their ejaculate. There are many ways that various crimes can be committed without leaving DNA deposits (and also many ways that scenes can be contaminated with DNA unrelated to the crime). DNA is only one form of evidence, and it doesn’t necessarily trump other forms.

  7. @ Shaun:
    I know that. Now go tell the Australian and the Telegraph.

  8. @ orlando:
    Pretty sure that Shaun was not attempting to imply that you didn’t know that, and was just giving us a bit of extra info about what evidence apparently exists.

  9. Hang on…am I missing something? There is *video evidence* of an assault? Someone was filming it rather than say STOPPING it?

  10. The videoer was upstairs in an apartment, filmed on a webcam which he turned towards the courtyard when he heard shouting. It’s not the assault itself but the scuffle with the victim’s father after it. The police had already been called by then or were in process of being.
    (all this is from the papers, so I vouch not for reliability)

  11. Ok, that makes me feel vaguely better! Sheesh. I’ve just put my head in the sand over this one as it just gets too depressing.

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