Rape culture alive and well in Australia

This one has been stewing in the back of my mind for a few days now. The other night I was up late and happened to be watching the ABC late news. Karen Middleton, their erstwhile political reporter, came on screen and told us about the Parliamentary Midwinter ball, at which one Tony Scrinis had wandered around sexually harrassing women. Karen looked quite non-plussed, the first time I’ve seen such a thing from her. Since then, I haven’t seen her at all… Instead there’s some other bloke who hasn’t been on before… No doubt there’s a reasonable explanation for that.

But I digress. What really gave my obstreperal lobe a case of acute feminitis was the fact that the boss of this staffer, Sophie Mirabella, immediately denied that he would have done it.

Now this, girls and boys, is one of the primary problems with rape culture. Denial of the abuse of women by men. The idea that men have a right to help themselves to women’s bodies and if women don’t like it, they’re called liars or beaten up for their trouble.

Note also the article’s focus on whether Sophie Mirabella is suitable for her portfolio and criticisms by Tania Plibersek that she isn’t… Omission of any criticism of the activities of the man in question.

Opposition frontbencher Tony Smith has told Channel Ten says that is ridiculous.

“Yesterday I saw you calling for action on the staffer, the staffer is no longer employed,” he said.

“He behaved appallingly, everyone acknowledges that, and within the day, he had ceased employment.”

In otherwords he lost his job for getting caught. Where’s the indictment? Where’s the police investigation? Where’s the judgment and rejection other than a piss-weak “it was appalling”?

It’s like something out of one of those hideous crime shows where any woman who claims rape and is still alive is portrayed as a liar, and the only genuine victims are those who show up dead and hideously mutilated. Imagine the subtle effect this would have on jurors, police and judges if they watched a couple of hours of this crap every week before having to be involved in a rape case.

“He wouldn’t have done that.” = “Those lying bitches deserve to be treated like meat.”

It also serves to keep other women quiet about abuses they’ve suffered at the hands of men. Not to mention the psychological damage it does to men, to preserve the destructive gender roles that support rape culture.

Such denial is commonplace in Australian culture as well as the global fungus we import from the US. Shortly after Ms Mirabella’s staff member decided to drunkenly grope a number of women at a Parliamentary ball, a woman in South Australia won a sexual harrassment case.

Ms Poniatowska was awarded $466,000 plus costs, which her lawyer believes is the highest awarded for such a case in Australia.

“I am very happy, not only for myself but for all people who are being harassed at workplaces,” Ms Poniatowska said outside court.

“I would strongly recommend not being afraid to stand up for their rights.

Is it my imagination or does the description of the compensation as “huge” imply that it is undeserved?

Notice the conclusion, however. The last word…

The company said in a statement it contested the claim because “to take any other course of action would have been wrong”.

It says it will lodge an appeal against the decision.

Ah huh. She should shut up like a good little cunt and put up with abuse at work by *four* men… Didn’t she get the memo that the sex class are expected to say nothing and look pretty?

How is it wrong to admit to something you’ve stuffed up over? How is it wrong to admit that you’ve been a complete misogynist pig and need counselling probably for fucking years? Someone should give these Hickinbotham creeps a memo of their own: It’s the 21st century and regardless of ten years of Howard’s conservative christian patriarchal abuses, women are in fact human.

Jesus tapdancing Christ, are we ever going to get out of this goddamned locker room?

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Australia’s shame. Rudd’s neglect.

Further in my series of discontent. This morning I happened across an article in The Australian about a family in crisis. Well, not only is the family in crisis, the State’s child welfare system is an appalling mess.

…eight children living in a three-bedroom house with mice and rubbish in every room.

Four had disabilities: some couldn’t hear properly; some couldn’t walk properly; all were malnourished and had head lice. Several had broken bones, and none could use a knife and fork.

Their mother, a young Sunni Muslim woman, veiled from head to toe, found caring for the children impossible, especially as the older ones grew wilder, and then violent. Her husband, an Iraqi, is believed to have at least two other women he refers to as his “wives” and they, too, have children.

He moves between their different houses. None had paid work.

The NSW Department of Community Services has known of the situation for years; and has surely also known that it was a disaster waiting to happen.

And if you think it’s only the NSW system that’s a disaster, Victoria’s was found to be introducing pre-teen children to drugs and prostitution.

Let’s ignore for a moment the implicit criticism of the mother for being a veiled Muslim, particularly since the article goes on to comment on one foster mother who came to the rescue who took veils off the young girls… Who gives a rats what they wear on their heads if we’re talking about a situation of domestic disaster? Is it only Muslims who have trouble raising kids? It would be interesting to see the comparative stats on white, Christian families who are in crisis. Considering the Government is funding religious schools who train children in the psychopathology of conservative christianism, there’s probably shit loads.

The point is this. The Rudd Government actively discriminates against women and children seeking to leave situations like this. Kevin Rudd denies adequate support for women who are single mothers trying their hardest to provide for their children. He has maintained the bias against women of the Howard Liberal Government and is apparently in denial that he hates women.

Surely if you were in a position to do something about a situation like this, about many, many other people in similar circumstances in Australia right now, you would do something constructive. If you were in a situation to address terrible injustices that had been done previously and make things easier for people to keep their heads above water, you would do so. Yet our Prime Minister, who has been on occasion found drunk in a stripper bar and reprimanded for manhandling the dancers, is too busy criticising a celebrity chef over his abuse of a TV host, to bother addressing one of the worst, most hideous cases of discrimination against women and children in the developed world.

And to make matters worse, not only does Kevin Rudd actively discriminate against women and children who’ve had to leave violent, dangerous, demeaning or otherwise unnaceptable domestic circumstances, he neglects to support families struggling to support children through high school. While having made apparently non-core promises about improving education and enabling children to further their education, support of families ends when a child turns 16, just when they hit the hardest, most expensive school years. He’s also planning to make further changes to welfare law to make it harder for children without jobs to claim any form of welfare. Why on earth, in times when jobs are supposed to be getting harder to come by, would you put pressure on children to leave school and look for work, to compete for jobs with other employees when they could be staying in school and improving their education? And why, if we’re having so much trouble looking after the children who are here, would you be paying a baby bonus to encourage people to have more? (Not to mention there’s already 6 billion people on the planet!)

The fact that the State Governments are responsible for foster care systems does not distract from the Federal Government’s discrimination against single parents. While the children referred to in that article have been living in such dreadful suffering, what has the State Government been doing? Pointing the finger at bikers in an attempt to get re-elected on a law and order platform. Scapegoating bastards.

These are only two of the current hypocrisies of the Rudd Government. And if you think the Liberals would be any better, consider that they created this disgusting, exploitative situation in which we now find ourselves. Why on earth can we not vote for someone who doesn’t hate the poor? Why do the two major parties continue to use people who’ve fallen on hard times and those who are struggling as political footballs to earn themselves points for re-election?

How did Australians become such bastards?

We hate you too, Kevin

I’ve posted this on my bike blog as it follows on from my previous annoyance with our Prime Minister. Because it’s about women I’ve cross posted it here.

The other day in conversation, the subject of pension changes came up. We were a little confused as to why the Government would increase aged pensions, disability pensions and just about everything else, but not single parent pensions. How does it make sense in a climate where more and more people are expected to compete for less and less jobs if a depression takes hold, and also force single parents to continue to compete for those jobs?

It was bad enough when Howard brought in his hell-spawn misconception of “mutual obligation” and forced heavier unecessary burdens on single parents and unemployed people… It was really crappy when the laws regarding single parents working were changed and put pressure on people just when they really don’t need it.

For a supposed Labor Government to not only keep these discriminatory changes but exacerbate things by singling out single parents for further mistreatment is absolutely disgusting. Not only is it petty and mean spirited, it makes no sense while the economy is under suspicion.

The conclusion we came to is that being another Sydney Anglican, Kevin Rudd must have a similar religious agenda to that of the maggot Howard. Only if someone was deliberately trying to keep women dependent upon men and punish separated and divorced women, and over 90% of single parents are women, would this make any kind of twisted sense.

It’s exactly the sort of thing we’ve come to expect from those slimy, underhanded control freaks attempting to import US style extremism to Australia. Bastards. Women have it hard enough in cock culture as it is without their added hatred and pathology.

You know, after the second world war Menzies went on a bit of a campaign building infrastructure like the Snowy River project to attempt to provide us with reliable utilities. It was seen as a pretty good thing that every Australian had a piece of this improvement to the nation’s infrastructure. With stable power supplies we could build a secure community and businesses. Somehow in the 90’s we were convinced that selling off all that stuff was necessary because otherwise we’d be communists. Only communists or socialists would deny the free market the chance to compete to provide Australians with utilities they already had.

It seems pretty ironic to me that the kind of thinking that implies that Menzies was a communist is behind the current financial terror.

What pisses me off is that this, in connection with equally ridiculously right-wing religion is an influence in a country that is supposedly a democracy. Why should 1% of the population have such influence to penalise and discriminate against other Australians who are down on their luck… What sort of stuck up bastard uses mediaeval morality to judge who is worthy of assistance when life has taken a turn for the worse?

The other thing is that this is contradictory even within their own belief system. Jesus specifically forbade Theocratic style Government. “The rulers of the gentiles lord it over them but it shall not be so among you.” The New Testament was supposed to be about individuals relating to god, not a forced national morality drive. Add to that the fact that the very people this religion is supposed to be caring for are the poor, widows, orphans and strangers in the land… Geez, it looks like one big cock up all round really.

From those of us who have had enough of locker-room male supremacy in Australia and would rather live as full human beings without the Government under-handedly penalising us for our gender, we hate you too, Kevin.

The joys of misogyny in Australia.

Not only have we set world standards in woman hating with our statistics for domestic violence and rape, not to mention the walking public debacle that is Sam Newman… We’re now setting the pace for paedophilia. And in the oh so tastefully titled Victorian man arrested in childporn dragnet, for a moment there I got the impression we were supposed to be sympathetic for the bloke who was caught drooling over images of abused children, not the children who have been raped and photographed for the viewing pleasure of men all over the planet.

Sometimes I console myself with the reminder that humans are, afterall, only animals. But animals don’t do this. Is there such a thing as devolution? Oh yeah, it’s called the Patriarchy.

And so it goes.

Well, the subject of adoption and birth came up again for me recently. On several occasions I’ve tried to contact either of my birth parents, each time without luck. This time I’m requesting some info from the hospital where I was born. Hopefully along with my time of birth, which I need for a horoscope, they’ll be able to tell me more about my birth mother’s aboriginality. My maternal Grandmother was living at an aboriginal community at that time, and I have some mention of that on my mother’s birth certificate, but it would be nice to have more info.

That’s one of the big problems dealing with adoption, you feel like you’re kinda floating in nowhere. There’s no roots or sense of connection to the people around you.

Having my own children helped that a little, moreso since they’re both now living with me. However I had been sucked in to a Pentecostal cult when I was in my late teens and my marriage and childbirth experience were horribly damaged by the cult teachings that went on. I have a lot of sympathy for any married woman who hates the idea of sex with her husband because of my own hideous experiences. And they actively taught emotional abuse of women and children under the guise of so called “godly marriages”. Dogs.

I guess it’s all kind of come to a head after the anniversary of my first daughter’s birth recently. The doctor put me back on mood stabilisers as he reckoned my lows were becoming dangerously low and he feared for my safety. I didn’t disagree and have been taking the bloody things. At least they help me sleep with much less nightmares or intrusive memories. It’s nice to be able to get to sleep at night.

For a while now I’ve been feeling a lot of the cultural diminishment of women. Because I’m over the hill now as part of an older, middle aged demographic, I’ve been used up in terms of sex or child bearing despite the fact that I have probably ten years to go in that regard. When you’re not a sex toy teenager or a chained to the kitchen sink mother, you’re either a hooker or may as well be dead to society. I notice a lot of women my age now trying out different roles for themselves. There are many who opt for the desperate housewife look, glamming themselves up and having a go. There’s also lots who buy corpulent four wheel drives that look like the results of liposuction and pretend to be men in order to have some sense of purpose and humanity. Because everyone knows that in Australia’s cock culture you have to be a butch man in order to have any real worth to society. It’s not even about work in that issue as women who work are paid less and promoted less. It’s all about the dick. And men who are emotionally sensitive or artistic or thoughtful are often sidelined by those militaristic standards as well. No one wins except the board members of disgusting corporations and the ever present media and advertisers. Bastards.

So here am I with two children to raise feeling like society could well do without me now. I’m over the hill and was never a man in any case, so why do I bother hanging on? There’s a few of us who feel this way and encourage each other with the saying “Stay here just to spite the bastards.” With pills in hand and distractions aplenty, I will. But what a way to live.

Despite what Mars proponents and concocted and contradictory evolutionary psychology might say, humans are really only animals, not the be all and end all of evolution. Certainly not the ultimate peak of life on planet earth. Manifest destiny as a theory went out on the Nineteenth century and only has a toe hold now amongst Pentecostals and Brethren who still live in the dark ages. Humans created this society as it is and we are at liberty to re create it anyway we like. We don’t even have to believe that the earth needs to be destroyed before Christ will return and sweep us all away like angels into everlasting heaven… And who’d want to spend eternity with a god who expects you to treat other people horribly and entrench world starvation and poverty in order to show yourself approved? Approved of what, being an arsehole?

Me I’ll hang on here quietly in my little spot by the creek and wait to see if the next generation is going to wake up to the bullshit and make some necessary and constructive changes.

Blessed be.

Male privilege circumvented by teh ‘nets and geek grrrls.

Hoyden has founded the Australian chapter of Hollaback. Hollaback Aus is a blog where you can post pics of men who have been harrassing you, should you record them on your mobile or digital camera.

* A note to harassers: All emails containing threats, bluster, abuse, insults, rudeness, and general douchehoundery may be published, here or elsewhere, and/or appropriate action taken. Harassers and their apologists have no expectation of privacy on this blog.

H/T to Twisty for this one.

Yay. That’s it. Fortunately I don’t have a use for it presently, unless I scope back through my past and take pics of various church ministers, adoptive father and other assorted retrograde semi-human evolutionary anomalies…. But what a freaking great idea! Out the bastards. And mucho kudos for any woman who makes use of it.

Happy May Day!

Well, it’s that time of year again. While students in Korea and employees in Russia might be celebrating with a vodka or a riot, things will probably be quieter in the land down under. We may still be waiting for a revolution. You know, realising that people are human beings and not units of labour. Remembering that we’re part of the life of the planet and not merely consumers. Connecting with some sort of idea that humans created what we think of as the economy or culture and that if we made this one, we can just as easily make it into something else. Something more practical, more inclusive and less damaging.

In Australia women are particularly still waiting for a revolution. In recent days we’ve been vilified, stabbed, shot and raped… Not to mention the legislation of financial abuse that hasn’t been altered or even addressed by the current Government.

In spite of all this, Happy May Day. Because we can change it if we want to. It’s a waning moon at the moment, a good time for banishing and letting go. A good time for rituals that release all the stuff in the past that’s unhelpful and poisonous. Time to clear the decks in order to move forward.

Not that it would be beneficial to repress the past and forget it’s lessons. Simply that forever focussing on the evils in the world, all the horrible things that men do to each other and to women, can be so dreadfully depressing and seemingly hopeless. We continue on, often in spite of the carnage going on around us. We persevere hoping that in the midst of the abuse, we can create something for ourselves and experience life, love and laughter with friends.

And in spite of all the bullshit in the media and corporate construct, we can still spend some time in the bush reconnecting with the sacred natural.

Blessed be.