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?

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 name of privilege.

Unspeakably Violent Jane enscribed a comment relating to men’s apparent right to brutalise the womenfolk, questioning the murder of a young woman by her father over a facebook relationship. Regardless of a man being of Democratic or progressive persuasion, why is the blame ascribed to a religious perspective rather than a social, even global problem? Why don’t men acknowledge that men are the problem?

Unfortunately the problem is male privilege, where men as a class are defined as being superior to women as a class. This is not only a Western phenomenon, this is a global problem as UVJane quite correctly points out. Marilyn French wrote books about this very phenomenon describing the way that men were socially defined as being superior beings to females. Pop-cultural stupidities such as “men are from mars, women are from venus” illustrate the point. Although women and men both originate from earth as descendants from a common ancestor with apes, (and the mammalian genotype was originally XX) Victorian class society would have it that male and female human beings are somehow separate entities and subject to a heirarchy artificially created and enforced by men for men.

The problem began with Greek philosophers like Galen, about 500 BCE, who thought that men were the normal outcome of a pregnancy and only if the wind was blowing the wrong way would a pregnancy result in an inferior female offspring. Early christian writers like Augustine endorsed such a perspective. Don’t even ask what notorious misogynists such as Thomas Aquinas wrote.

It wasn’t until the 17th century that microscopes and the details of sexual procreation were discovered. Even when we did become aware that semen wasn’t the be all and end all of human fertility somehow the dominant cultural influences of church and state declined to admit that they’d been wrong and further declined to admit the full and necessary female participation in human procreation. So far as they were concerned men were all that mattered and with the lingering (mis)influence of the fall of man and subordination of the female, there was not going to be any serious reconsideration of human sexuality.

Needless to say, if procreation and fertility weren’t going to be reconsidered then the equality of the human female wasn’t even going to be mentioned. As early as the third century CE women were subjugated and subordinated, and the systems of political and religious patriarchy that brought that about weren’t going to reconsider it lightly. In fact, to date they haven’t done so at all.

UVJ raises a point regarding academic men and their opinions, through which she touches on a much broader issue. The subjugation of the female of the species is not now limited to religious influences because of the scope of religious influences in the past. All the current and many of the future leaders of religion, business, politics, medicine, law and education are themselves educated in religious (private school) environments wherein they are subtly or overtly subjected to the sexist agendas of religion.

That’s about as simply as it can be stated. Although humans are well aware of the nature of sexual procreation, inheritance, DNA and the lack of any evidence suppoting male superiority, female subordination continues to be overtly and subliminally taught by means of social and cultural male superiority enforced by men over women by such means as rape and emotional and financial abuse, and the threat thereof by media stories of factual and fictitious abuse of women by men.

As Marilyn French described, in a society where men as a class are culturally held as being superior to women as a class, how can there be any equality? And after roughly 3 or 4 thousand years of male dominant society, where is there going to be anything other than male dominant social definition?

Well, that explains it…

Over Summer the ever lengthening reading list included Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Amit Goswami, Irshad Manji and Tariq Ali. The subsequent cross-breeding and strange procreation of ideas has been steadily gelling somewhere in the back of my tiny mind.

Dawkins made a point about certain behaviours or the presence of religious beliefs being a side effect of 6 million years of evolution.

It’s been dawning for a little while, that most of human behaviour that seems so stupid, confusing, self-defeating and downright lunatic is probably the by product of us being 99% similar to chimpanzees but having brought about the industrial revolution. We’re still bashing each other, pretending to be more important, dreaming up all sorts of reasons why Victorian class society should persist in cahoots with global thievery, blustering, posing, threatening, murdering and generally behaving like animals… because we are.

In the midst of ongoing battles with long term depression that can even include suicidal ideation, dealing with life in the knuckle dragging cock culture that is (only just) post-convict Australia, and wondering why the fuck anyone would want to live in the midst of a society that considers global abuses of women, children and the environment to be an acceptable or in any way appropriate way of life, this idea comes the closest to making sense of it all.

Sure we all have our own journies through life. Sure we need meaning, that’s a by product of developing a temporal lobe. Sure we need some connection to a community of other humans even if it’s only to climb over the piles of bleeding, mutilated bodies on our way to banking another billion in arms sales… But we’re animals. Only about 1% point different genetically from chimpanzees (no offence (to the chimps))

As much as the continuing abuses and lies of the Patriarchy get my fur in a bunch, realising that they’re all only apes explains it all, really. In fact it seems pretentious to want to change much, when considered from that perspective.

Embarrassingly enough, this all resonates with a comment made to me by a Krsna devotee a few years ago, that in order to avoid burning out over the stupidity and self-destruction of the human race, you need to focus on the things within your reach.

Now that I can cope with.

Doesn’t make me any happier about life in the kleptocracy, but it does explain a few things.