Tony Abbott Makes Rape Joke, MSM frames it as “sexist gaffe”. Guest Post by Napalmnacey

So, Tony Abbott is *totally* going after the women’s vote! Check this out!

The Australian: Tony trips at paid parental leave launch with ‘no’ gaffe.

On a day that the Coalition was devoting to winning the women’s vote, Mr Abbott questioned whether when Julia Gillard says no, she really means it.

Mr Abbott has knocked back the Prime Minister’s offer for a debate on the economy, saying she initially refused his request for three debates and had changed her mind because she was now in panic mode.

“Are you suggesting to me that when it comes to Julia, no doesn’t mean no?” he said.

Mr Abbott repeated the comment a number of times.

It’s just a world, a galaxy, an entire universe of “inappropriate”. He’s equating an entire party’s decision on how to proceed during the election campaign with a tired, misogynistic, down-right dangerous trope about women’s ability to make decisions about their sexual behaviour.

How dare he?! How friggin’ dare he? Would he ever, ever stoop to making a joke like that about a male PM? He didn’t just make this joke once — it’s a part of his campaign repertoire, he said it repeatedly, obviously very pleased with this line and hoping it’ll hit the front pages and be used against Julia Gillard.

What really pisses me off about this soundbite is that he also refers to her as Julia, rather than Ms. Gillard or ‘the Prime Minister”. In this particular instance, it’s stripping her of her authority. It comes off to me as a very targeted, cruel and disrespectful. It’s not just making fun of her decision-making. It’s an underhanded, sneaky way to strip her of her agency, her professionalism and her personhood. In his mind, there is nothing worse than a woman that “gets herself raped”, and he framed our Prime Minister in that narrative because it was the most damaging thing he could think of.

If this doesn’t expose the cold-hearted, calculating and dangerous man he is, I don’t know what will. Keep talking like this Tony Abbott, keep showing us your true colours.

It’ll help with the women’s vote, totally. /sarcasm.

Hey everyone, I’m Napalmnacey. I’ve blogged for years informally at my LJ, logansrogue, and now I’m contributing at Hoyden! I’m an artist, musician and singer, and I’m working on my first novel. I write and draw comics and I am a die-hard Doctor Who fangirl. I’m into Ancient Egypt and other ancient civilisations and mythology from different cultures. I’ve been a feminist since childhood and was taught how to beat the drum early in my life.

Categories: gender & feminism, Politics

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64 replies

  1. A slightly more critical article:
    The poll makes me want to vomit. Rape culture – alive and well.

  2. Ugh, ugh, ugh. Tony Abbott really really hates us. (“Us” being women.)
    This also plays into the trope that a woman saying “yes” a single time negates every other “no” she’s ever said. You’re quite right, a male politician would NEVER have a comment like this directed at him.

    • Gillard is very wise to just let Abbott deal with the fallout from his own words without any further input from her.
      There’s nothing she could say that will be equal to the criticism and loathing he’ll receive from anybody who knows anybody who has been raped or sexually harassed.

  3. Abbott is a disgrace.
    This latest comment is part of a pattern in which he constantly denigrates women:
    -‘loyal girl’ reffering to Julie Bishop [although later he promoted her to ‘strong woman’ when the PR need arose..
    -aggresive language, the language of violence, too many examples to list, list just try one ..”Battlelines”
    – ‘she’s faking it’ when referring to Julia’s policy on refugees whatever
    – and now this one.
    Sack him, and the party he represents.

  4. Beppie – you said it. Hannah’s Dad – He often uses phrases like “fight of his life” “In for a fight”, regularly using combat, battle or violent imagery. It’s playing to the lowest denomenator and what terrifies me is that it’s kind of working with some people.
    I just hope he keeps alienating women. There are a hell of a lot of us out there.

  5. Considering the statistics, TigTog, that’s a LOT of people.

  6. Every time I think he can’t get any worse, he opens his mouth and bullshit just streams out of it. I’m terrified that he’ll be our new PM.

  7. I hope you don’t mind me spruiking GetUp here (just delete it if you do), but they have a rather nice ad they’d like to get on the telly, and I’ll be reaching into my pocket for this one. I don’t donate to many of these things, they can all get to be a bit much, but this ad says a lot.
    (The link takes you to a preview of the ad and a page you can donate through.)

  8. Oh ugh ugh ugh 😥
    I am sickened and appalled and disgusted. Today is just full of rape apologism and fail.
    Tony Abbott, pleads do us all a favour and just SHUT UP! I can’t take any more of your shit.

  9. Oh, he was doing so well until he started speaking. If only he could go the entire campaign without opening his mouth.

    ((hugs)) to pharaohcat, if you want them.

  10. Unfortunately we need Tony to open his mouth so his true self is revealed before the election. Mind you I’ve just been told that I’m imagining things and it’s not a rape joke, it’s only a bait for humourless feminazis. By a man natch. Because they know about these things.

  11. Ariane
    “I hope you don’t mind me spruiking GetUp here (just delete it if you do), but they have a rather nice ad they’d like to get on the telly……..”
    I have just donated to the GetUp ad campaign because of my absolute disgust at the utter farce this election campaign has descended into and the complete disregard and disrespect that Abbott and cavemen like him in the media have for women.
    Abbott the goblin doesn’t just need to shut up he needs to disappear.
    I hope we get the money we need to shame this man into losing.
    Euwwwww…. did you see him doing a walkthrough with his daughter, holding her hand like he would his wife’s hand. Gross!

  12. I’m really, really scared he will become PM, and I will be living amongst a majority that voted him in. D:<

  13. I’m really, really scared he will become PM, and I will be living amongst a majority that voted him in. D:<
    I have a passport for another country… I don’t wanna go live there!

  14. I love how he’s going around repeating “I’m a father” any time he gets called on his misogyny like it’s some kind of crushing argumentative gambit.
    By that logic, Mel Gibson respects women too.

    • By that logic, Mel Gibson respects women too.

      Y’know, I totally believe that he didn’t intend to offend “ordinary” women with this “joke”. But the idea that he didn’t think that using an anti-rape slogan to make fun of a woman changing her mind on something *could* be offensive to “ordinary” women is Part Of His Problem With Women (i.e. the problem that many women have with him). A whole heap of women who might just have been willing to hold their nose and vote Liberal because they were caught up in the “backstabbing Julia” meme, or disappointed by her lack of progressive policies, have just had a wake-up call. I don’t think many of them will like what they saw.

  15. Corinne Grant on Twitter says “Let’s hope he finds out what ‘no’ means on election day.” LOL, excellent.
    Making this kind of “joke” is consistent with his behaviour hanging around the Womens’ room and harassing women in his university days. He’s a creep.

  16. As though women and political parties are never allowed to change their minds! In case it confuses the men!

  17. I don’t really have a response to this that isn’t in all-caps and full of rage and wanting to cry.
    And I hear from Wil Anderson doing a plug on TripleJ this morning that the Libs are expanding their ‘Kevin Lemon’ ad campaign, including references to Penny Wong as a Lemon. I WANT TO SET THINGS ON FIRE. ::cue talk of it not being racist or homophobic because they’re applying it to the whole front bench:: ::FIRE::

  18. Can people seriously be considering that creature as a PM? Have we slipped that much. Apparently we have. I am on the verge of switching from coffee blogging to full time disability, skeptical and political blogging because coffee seems damn irrelevent at the moment. Or perhaps I need it to escape to. Thanks Hoydens for keeping up the posts!

    • Grendel, we always consider guest posts here!
      Although here’s another idea: are there perhaps some more folks like you who generally blog on non-political things (and want to keep their existing blogs focussed that way) who might be interested in forming a new group blog where you focus on blog social/political commentary and critiques, as and when they need to be shared?
      I’d be happy to set up a new group blog over at and add people to it as users as they stick their hand up.

  19. Grendel – I’m stepping up my online political activism in the hopes that I can spread just a little bit of awareness.

  20. Tigtog, that’s feckin’ awesome idea!!

  21. tigtog, that would be ideal, Cafe Grendel is not really the forum I feel I can rant on (though FSM knows why, its my frigging blog!) mostly beause the posts seem a little out of tune. I have dropped back from blogging a bit lately as it is hard to stay passionate about coffee in the same way i get fired up about disability issues or idiocy in politics. Another venting venue might be good, and/or I really have always wanted to be a guest Hoyden. Did any of the Hoydens get along to Ayaan Hirsi Ali the other night? if not perhaps I could comment on what it was like. I was standing up the back and the mix of reactions was – interesting.

    • OK, how about we do both? I’d love a guest post about the Ayaan Hirsi Ali speech, and I’ll set up the group blog as well (and you can cross-post it there to get things rolling!). Will announce it shortly.

  22. Sounds Good! I am going along to my first ever writers group tomorrow so I may spend the time before that starts drafting my post!

    • Okeley dokely, I’ve got some beginnings happening. Grendel, you’ll need a account before I can add you to Distinctly Disgruntled as an author.
      Anybody else want to play over there? If you’re a special-interest blogger who’d like to have a no-fuss political/social-justice soapbox to stand up and shout from, just let me know.

  23. Done. I am ‘grendels’ since some bastard already has grendel without the s. Probably me and I have forgotten the account…

  24. Wow, that sounds like an awesome idea! Please let me join please please please?

    • Sure thing – just let me know when you’ve set up a wordpress account (and if it’s a different address than you use here, just send an email using the contact form at Distinctly Disgruntled, and then I’ll know what it is.)

  25. Oooh, I wouldn’t mind playing, tigtog! I’m jennifergearing on wordpress.
    And thanks for the link to the Lily Allen vid. That did make me smile. 🙂

    • OK, Grendel, PharoahKatt and Jennifer, you’re all added as users – you should see it in your dashboard under the My Blogs tab (at the top) next time you log into

  26. hooray it worked! thanks, tigtog! 🙂

  27. Woot it worked! 😀 thank tigtog 😀
    Now I must ask: what is the etiquette when it comes to group blogging? I’ve not done that before.

    • Different groups do it differently, PK, at least in terms of group moderation vs personal moderation policies, blogging schedules (or not) etc. I’ll set up a mailing list so we can discuss this stuff off-blog.

      • P.S. Right now (or at least in the not too distant future) some sort of introductory post from each author might be handy? Point people to your main blogs, mention specific political issues that especially engage you etc.

  28. I can also put my hand up for the group blog too?
    I loved the Lily Allen clip too, although it gave me a rather unshareable earworm for the rest of the day 🙂

  29. Tigtog – I’d love to be a part of that too. 🙂

  30. He clearly did not mean it as a rape related statement. You are just all too quick to look for something to twist.
    But of course just like when I posted “he clearly didn’t mean it” yesterday you will simply delete my comment.
    Funny how you are all against internet censorship until someone posts something on a forum that you dont like then out comes the erasor. What hypocracy.
    Maybe you are the ones who should be ashamed for using such a sensitive topic (rape) to score political points against the Liberal party.

    • Whatever his intent, using such a famous anti-rape/anti-sexual-harassment phrase in such a belittling way WAS offensive. For him not to realise that it would be taken as offensive just shows how out of touch he is.
      Yesterday you abused us when you disagreed. This blog does not post personal abuse of the bloggers or other commentors.
      Being against non-transparent government censorship is quite a different thing from exercising our rights as editors to decline to publish unacceptable content on our own private property (just like newspapers don’t publish every Letter to the Editor). There is nothing we can do to stop you publishing that exact same comment on your own blog if you set one up (there’s plenty of free platforms) – so it’s nothing like the proposed internet censorship at all, is it?
      If Tony Abbott doesn’t want people to point their fingers at him regarding his callous belittling of a “such a sensitive topic (rape)”, then perhaps he should just not belittle “such a sensitive topic (rape)” in future?

  31. Adrian, I’m a rape survivor. I’m not posting to gain points, I’m expressing my honest disgust.
    A lot more was said in deleted comments than “He clearly didn’t mean it”. None of the comments I was shown was even remotely civil.

    • BTW, Adrian/Jed/Allen, if I’d realised you’d morphed ID’s from yesterday I wouldn’t have approved the comment above, even though the temptation to demolish your weak claims was overwhelming.
      According to our comments policy, morphing IDs in an attempt to avoid moderation is a bannable offence, so have a nice life. Elsewhere.

  32. Oh, Tigtog! You and your logic!

  33. Can you even begin to imagine how you would feel if the vitriol and hatred you direct at Abbott on this blog was directed by men at a female?
    Call yourselves feminists?
    If such behaviour is indeed to be identified with your cause I know you will alienate almost as many women as men.

  34. “Adrian”, that’s your third name in as many comments, and as your opening gambit was to suggest napalmnacey commit suicide, you’re banned. Go away.

  35. Hahahahaha! Yes, I’m sure Tony Abbott is in tears by our horrible blogging. Cause we got totally personal and everything.
    Oh wait, that wasn’t us, that was him, making inappropriate innuendo about the PM of our country. We just called him on it.

  36. He told me to commit suicide? I was laughing too hard at his request that I go live in Lemon Lodge with my mythical girlfriend.

    • Oh, I’m totally sure he envisaged a great big bouncy castle at the foot of the cliff he told you to go jump off, nacey. Probably with elves on hand to offer you enticing treats after you’d had enough delightful bouncing.

  37. And I was going to be offered daquiris by various Doctor Who/Torchwood actors that I love, yes? Yes? That’s exactly what he meant!

  38. What is this Lemon Lodge of which you speak? Have y’all been holding out on me? I do like lemons. Lemon chicken, lemon meringue pie, lemon-lime brulee, gremolata, lemon butter on toast… Can we all hang out in the Lemon Lodge for a Hoyden retreat once a year? We could combine our lemony funtimes with pathetic anger bread and political correct boring tea.

  39. Holy FSM just checked my email and saw the string of comments. What a piss weak trolling attempt. Is that just someone reacting or a someone attempting to be a political operative (and failing)

  40. I am seriously considering making a sign for my door with “Lemon Lodge” written on it in painted copperplate a la “Calamity Jane”.

  41. Unfortunately, Adrian’s one of many with their fingers in their ears; thank dog for feminist sites. Come on – what is “no means no” universally understood to be referring to? And if Tony* “clearly” didn’t mean it that way, then what did he mean when he used that slogan?
    I hate willful ignorance.
    * I will be calling Tony “Tony” since he keeps calling the PM “Julia”.

  42. OK, so… all those people who think “oh no, surely Tony Abbott wouldn’t actually condone rape? Surely he wouldn’t joke about it? He’s got daughters, after all! Surely he believe in a woman’s right to bodily autonomy? Surely he believes all genital penetration should be completely consensual?” need to read and re-read this post at The Dawn Chorus.
    Last year – LAST YEAR – Tony Abbott said this:

    ” I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak”

    Read it again. Abbot believes a woman’s right to say no ”should be moderated”. He believes women do NOT have the absolute right to say no. And HE COULD BE OUR P.M.
    If you’re dismissing this, if you’re making excuses for him, if you think “oh no, he couldn’t actually be that bad”, “you’re just being oversensitive” – you’re not paying attention.

  43. It’s a staggering collection of quotes, isn’t it?

  44. If there were various Dr Who/Torchwood actors at the bottom of a cliff (with a bouncy castle at the bottom), handing out daiquiris nonetheless, I’d jump 🙂
    Love you people.
    Don’t love Mr Abbott.

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