Rape is now a girl’s “Secret Sex Shame”, says Brisbane Times

Come ON, Brisbane Times. Is someone doing this deliberately?

This one deserves a screenshot, because I barely believe it myself, and I’ve come to have mighty low expectations over these past few years.

screenshot of newspaper article: Schoolies secret sex shame

Schoolies’ secret sex shame

MARISSA CALLIGEROS
November 20, 2009 – 9:15AM

They’re young, drunk and far too trusting.

But having set out determined to celebrate their new-found freedom, every year a growing number of female Schoolies return home carrying a burden of shame: they’ve been raped.

it's not sex, it's rapeYes, really. They just said that. REALLY. A boy or man raping you, girlies, is YOUR SECRET SEX SHAME. Not the rapist’s secret rape shame, not your horrific experience of assault, but your secret sex shame.

You were too drunk. You were too trusting. You chose to hang out around the people Marissa Calligeros labels “drunk, testosterone-charged boys”, you silly, self-destructive thing. You chose that “unwanted sex”, didn’t you?

“Naive teenage girls may not suspect their girlfriend’s older brother, the friend of a friend, or someone who went to their school.”

Oh, you gullible young trolloplings! You should have known you can’t trust boys who you’ve been hanging out with for years, who your friends vouch for, who are law-school-bound, who have already got their room reserved at the excellent St Paul’s College, who your parents say are a “good catch”. You should have known that it’s slutty to go off with boys an be in *shock* a room alone with them. At the age of 17 or 18, no less! Don’t you know that if you act like a tart, you’ll get treated like one? You should have known that letting your friend’s brother walk you home in the dark, saying he would keep you safe, was just asking for it.

The article goes on to discuss that fact that the Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Violence expects to counsel five or ten girls this year after boys and men rape them at Schoolies Week. They expect many more to never seek help. And not one of these rapes was brought to police, let alone resulted in a conviction. This article, and many others like it, illustrate exactly why.

Then:

[Professor Kerry Carrington, head of the School of Justice at Queensland University of Technology] said:

“Girls are often very vulnerable, very naive, very inexperienced and very often will do anything to please a boy. When there is alcohol in the mix, there is a much greater risk of sexual violence.

OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE.

There is light at the end of the noxious slut-shaming tunnel, near the end (who reads that far?):

Ms Macleod [director of the Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Violence] said boys needed to be schooled in the exact meaning of `consent’.

“Only `yes’ means `yes’, because young women may not actually say the word `no’. The absense of the word `no’ doesn’t mean consent: silence means no, drunk or drugged means no, crying means no, asleep means no, unconconscious means no, turning away means no, `don’t’ means no. Boys have really got to get that.”

Her message to girls heading to Schoolies tomorrow: “We’ve all got to be responsible for our own behaviour. But no girl is responsible for rape.”

Unfortunately, it’s all ruined again by using Gold Coast Superintendent Jim Keogh for the closing remark. The Superintendent’s remarks to boys were conspicuous by their absence, but here’s what he has to say to girls:

Superintendent Keogh advised teenage girls to stick together.

“Don’t let someone into your hotel room that shouldn’t be there. Don’t go off with people you don’t know. Stick with your mates.”

People you don’t know, eh? So you’re quite safe with boys you’ve met before then, Superintendent? Eh? C’mon, you’re the chap with the stats. How many of the girls raped at Schoolies were raped by strangers?

Oh, wait, no, you’re not the stat-chap. Because not one of the victims feels confident and safe enough in your police department to report rape to you.

~~~

Update 20 Nov 2009 @1541 GMT+8: The headline has been changed. But it’s no better (see comments for a discussion.)

screenshot with new headline: Schoolies dirty sex secret


Categories: gender & feminism, law & order, violence

Tags: ,

17 replies

  1. A new headline –
    Society’s Secret Sex Shame – rapists operate with impunity in victim-blaming environment!

  2. That’s jaw droppingly bad. That’s not even excusable from the “look after yourself” error – as in: good intentions but way misplaced. That’s just – horrific.

  3. Yes, unbelievably twisted. Marissa Calligeros, you are clearly a graduate in patriarchal brainwashing.

  4. Interestingly, they’ve now changed the headline to “Schoolies’ dirty sex secret”. Possibly they realised the word shame was problematic, but completely failed to register that it’s not sex, it’s rape. Or, given they’ve used the word rape in the second par, they’re completely willing to skew the focus of the story and minimise rape because “sex” gets more hits. (Personally, I think the new headline is worse because of the combination of “dirty sex” and “secret”.)

  5. bluemilk: the journalist usually doesn’t write the headline (mind you, the article’s fucked up too.)
    “Dirty sex secret” is no better at all. The article is still about the victims: so instead of implying that they should be ashamed of being raped because it was really sex, they’re labelling the rape “dirty sex” (so of course girls would want to keep that a secret, wouldn’t they?).
    There’s a really strong message here that none of these attacks are actually “rape-rape”. The impression I’m getting is that the lack of reports are being used as evidence to try to bolster that message. There’s a complete failure to examine the the massive unwillingness of the justice system and wider society to protect reporting victims, instead of the current system of retraumatising them for years on end – in court, in the media, and everywhere else.

  6. Who do we complain to? It’s not “dirty sex”. It’s a crime.

  7. Maybe we should rewrite it for them…
    Schoolies’ dirty criminal secret
    They’re young, drunk and far too privileged.
    But having set out determined to celebrate their new-found freedom, every year a growing number of male Schoolies return home carrying a burden of shame: they’ve raped someone.

  8. It’s fucking Fairfax. They have a contact form here.
    I’m not holding my breath, though – when I escalated a complaint about a racist news article on “gypsy thieves” to the press council, they responded with extreme lack of interest, despite it being a violation of their published standards on gratuitous racial mentions in crime reporting.

  9. “Dirty sex secret” is no better at all. The article is still about the victims: so instead of implying that they should be ashamed of being raped because it was really sex, they’re labelling the rape “dirty sex” (so of course girls would want to keep that a secret, wouldn’t they?).
    It’s almost worse; because it’s all about victims, as you say, it essentially calls the victims dirty as well as the “sex.”

  10. OFFS. Must the Schrodinger’s Rapist principle be applied to even guys we know? Apparently these people hate men so much in general that their answer is yes!

  11. @Melissa Your version of the article is awesome!
    Seriously, why aren’t there more articles out there with that slant?
    Is there an organisation out there who would be able to fund some adverts along similar lines?

  12. Media Watch ought to devote 1/3 of its time to call out this sort of bs. Or it ought to have a sister show.

  13. Nice idea peacay, but Media Watch wouldn’t be interested. Tackling sexism isn’t nearly as fun as laughing at silly mistakes or tech problems at the ABC. A few years back I got one of those media releases saying “be responsible for your own behaviour” that went on to talk about sexual assault and basically blamed the girls for getting drunk. So I wrote the article along the lines of “sexual assault wouldn’t happen if girls didn’t get drunk, says police chief” and they tried to tear me a new hole. It took several heated phone calls (from them) and me patiently explaining what they had said, before they dropped it.
    Schoolies’ dirty sex secret is disgusting. No doubt it’s to get readers to click in the hope of stories of threesomes, foursomes, double an4l and animals.

  14. NWN, do you mean you were writing for a newspaper, or that you were working for Media Watch (or some other branch of the ABC)? Just wondering who “they” is, in this instance. MW isn’t without a moral dimension, they did a great piece on the Kyle Sandilands/Jackie O debacle this year. But I have been meaning for a while to gather some “It’s Not Sex, It’s Rape” links to send them, and wondering why they haven’t got there on their own.

Trackbacks

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