I went over to Perth to spend some time with my family over there, and I was invited to speak at SlutWalk Perth while I was there. Hopefully there is video to follow, as I did see someone recording all the speeches! Below the jump is my speech in full—minus any cracks I may have made at the start regarding the 37 degree weather!!
Tag Archives: the ‘justice’ system
Trigger warning for rape/sexual assault/paedophilia
This is a blog post for all the rapists and paedophiles out there. Next time you are planning on sexually assaulting a four-year-old child—even if you plead guilty—there is a surefire way to make sure you are discharged without conviction.
See, according to Judge Philippa Cunningham, you just need to be “a talented New Zealander” who “makes people laugh”. Because “laughter’s an incredible medicine that we all need a lot of.”
We need laughter more than we need to protect our children from being sexually abused, apparently.
Here we have a man who pleaded guilty to performing an indecent act on a child (after originally being charged with unlawful sexual connection with a person aged under 12). Here we also have a judge who, despite this plea, has discharged him without conviction—which means, despite pleading guilty, this will not appear on his criminal record—because the consequences of a conviction would outweigh the gravity of the offence.
Take note, abusers. If you’re famous and funny and talented, it’s totally okay to sexually abuse your child. Because we need more laughter in the world, and that’s more important than convicting people who sexually assault children.
Also just a housekeeping note, because this has already cropped up on the SlutWalk Aotearoa Facebook page: while this case and everything surrounding it makes me fucking furious, the permanent name suppression does stand and as such, comments that name the comedian in question (rightly or wrongly) will not make it through moderation.
Trigger warning for domestic violence
As an Angry Queer Feminist Blogger, there are a lot of things that make me ranty-pants. My poor flatmates put up with a lot of shouting and rage from me over various things—and one of my surefire buttons is the use of scare quotes in the media. To that end, the flatmates (well, the awake one, who is currently baking me cookies, bless his soul) have just been treated to a lot of flailing about an article on Stuff today: Family violence ‘victim’ breaks policewoman’s jaw. My rage hasn’t really dissipated upon actually reading the article—first of all, because it’s quite clear from the first three paragraphs that the police officers were not dealing with a ‘victim’, but a victim. And yes, that distinction—the use of scare quotes, versus not—is bloody important.
The female victim tried to physically intervene as the two male officers attempted to arrest the male, Taupo police area commander, inspector Steve Bullock said.
“The female officer was verbally and physically assaulted as she attempted to hold her back, receiving a kick to her face in the process.”
And of course, rounding out the article is a healthy dose of solid victim blaming:
“Unfortunately this is a sad example of a case where police are called to help a victim and end up becoming a victim instead.”
Police attend a number of family violence callouts each night, usually where alcohol is a factor, Bullock said.
“Sadly, despite being a victim in a violent situation, many choose not to take further action or attempt to prevent Police from doing their job, as happened in this case.”
Oh, just… I’m sorry that not every victim of domestic violence reacts the way that would make your job easiest. Am I the only one that is getting really sick of reading police whining in the news about how victims are reluctant to press charges against their husbands, their boyfriends, the father of their children, as though this is somehow goddamn shocking. I get that you want to help*. Trust me, I understand that it must be really bloody frustrating to see a situation where someone is clearly suffering and have that person refuse to let you help them. But by failing to understand the very complicated relationships that victims of domestic violence have with their abusers, by refusing to acknowledge the emotional manipulations that many abusers use against their victims to keep them emotionally separated from their family and friends or convince them that they’re not worth anything better or no one will believe them if they come forward, or by flat-out ignoring the fact that many people have very solid reasons to believe that they cannot trust the police, you cannot hope to gain even the slightest headway on a systematic problem.
At least the police aren’t using scare quotes, I suppose. Once again: fuck your scare quotes, Stuff.
*Except when the abuser is white, upper-middle class, and/or an all-round Good GuyTM. Then it’s far more likely that the victim will be encouraged to not press charges at all.
On June 25th from 2pm, people from all walks of life will be banding together in Wellington and Auckland for one simple reason – we have had enough. Enough of being angry. Enough of wanting better education, awareness and treatment around sexual assault and seeing nothing. Enough of being accused of ‘oversensitivity’ and ‘political correctness gone mad’ when we object to rape jokes. Enough of the pervasive and continuing myths and stereotypes about who is sexually assaulted and why.
For those who don’t know the origins of SlutWalk, it started in Toronto, Canada when a police officer stood up at a safety talk at York University and stated, “I’ve been told not to say this… but women should avoid dressing like sluts if they don’t want to be victimised.” SlutWalk Toronto was held on April 3rd and attracted over 4,000 participants after just six weeks of organisation. Women and men of all ages marched together – most carrying placards, ranging from the humorous: “Sluts say yes!” to the heartbreaking: “I was 10 years old and he was my father. Does it really matter what I was wearing?” Some were dressed in stereotypical ‘slutty’ clothing, while others dressed for a, still fairly cold, Canadian spring afternoon.
SlutWalk is about unity. We are fighting the myths around the types of people who are sexually assaulted, who is responsible, and why they occur. We are rallying to place the blame for sexual assault where it belongs: on the perpetrators. We are promoting the idea that women should be able to dress however they like without having to wonder if they will be blamed if they are attacked – and that ‘slut’ should not be seen as an inherently bad thing. We aim to put an end to victims’ sexual history being brought up at trial as a weapon for the defence, and we wish to get the message out there: no means no, yes means yes, and only our words can consent for us – not our bodies or our clothes. We also firmly stand behind the truth that sexual assault is not only something done by men to women, and that not all sexual assault is rape.
Sluts and allies of Aotearoa, please consider joining us on June 25th for the simultaneous marches in our two largest cities. Full details, including event pages for both events, can be found on our website, on our Facebook page, and updates can also be found on Twitter: @SlutWalkNZ. You can also email the organisers at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
And of course, we are constantly on the lookout for volunteers in both cities, so if you think you can help out, please send an email our way with your contact details!
Slutwalk Aotearoa protest, Auckland Chapter: More info.
Slutwalk Aotearoa protest, Wellington Chapter: More info.
This was originally a guest post at The Stroppery, a short-lived but awesome-while-it-lasted NZ feminist collective blog. As they’re now shutting up shop, I’ll repost this here to make sure the blog is preserved!
In the course of organising SlutWalk Aotearoa, I am getting a lot of feedback – positive, negative, and downright trolling – regarding the purpose of the SlutWalk. One comment I’m getting a lot (mostly, though not always, from men) is the idea that victim blaming is “something ‘we feminists’ spout about even though it has no basis in reality”, or “a vague phantom idea no one really believes”.