Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Rape and unreason

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  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Steve Parks,

    To be fair, the silliness in that exchange started with Bob’s analogy with the DMC.

    And while I was making a serious point, I was operating on the presumption that it went without saying that no rational or decent person would suggest the victims of terrorist attacks on public transport bear at least some responsibility for their fates. But it seems to be perfectly OK - nay! simple common sense - to pull this shit on abused women every damn day. Oh, and young black men committing the unspeakable sin of wearing hoodies in the eye lines of paranoid, unstable armed white men. And every butch dyke, swishy queen or transperson who had ever got the shit kicked out of them for daring to exist at all.

    I'm happy to have the conversation about "civil" discourse, but some folks better suck it up and get used to being told a lot of things they don't want to hear.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I was operating on the presumption that it went without saying that no rational or decent person would suggest the victims of terrorist attacks on public transport bear at least some responsibility for their fates.

    My reading of the jury decision that the original post is about is that the jury saw no responsibility on the part of the victims for the aggravated robbery – but that at least some of jurors applied a different standard to the indecent assault that took place at the same time as the robbery. That the victims naturally bore no blame for the robbery – but somehow did for the indecent assault. Which is ghastly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Dean Papa,

    Thanks for the friendly words Russell, as an insensitive clod I had no idea I was being insensitive. Funny that!

    And Craig, could you kindly quote back to me where I said that victims of rape were responsible for their fates, because I am struggling to see where I said anything of the sort. It sounds a horrible thing to say. Maybe I really am a horrible person?

    If I tell you not to walk alone at night it is because I am worried about you. Is that wrong? Perhaps it would be better if I offer you no advice? Because, in worst case scenario that something bad does happen, it would be terrible for you to somehow construe that I blamed you for what happened, no matter how many times I tell you that it is not your fault. It is not your fault. It is not your fault. It is not your fault....

    but you just won't listen. Maybe you do want it to be your fault? Maybe you do want to put some blame onto yourself? You can if you want, but don't expect me to agree. Don't get angry at me. My intentions are good, and we can only do what we think is best.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2011 • 31 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    Do you have any other suggestions on how to reduce sexual violence? Any suggestions that are directed at your sons or other men?

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah,

    I'm more concerned about my children hurting others than being hurt themselves. There's been no sexual abuse, to the best of my knowledge, but there was some pretty nasty text bullying by 'friends' a few years ago, and one of the things I came away with was, my child isn't a bully. Bullying isn't my child's responsibility.

    Weirdly, I didn't think to explain that she shouldn't give her phone number out, or that she shouldn't have a phone, or shouldn't have friends - though any of those options would have prevented the abuse.

    I know that my children are less at risk from strangers than from people they trust - partners, friends, and - statistically speaking - me. And the only way to protect them from that is to teach them love and respect and decency and hope they end up attracting and being attracted to the same.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Dean Papa,

    Don’t get angry at me.

    It's a bit late for that. Your whiny self-obsession in a thread where people have really put themselves and their experiences on the line has made me angry.

    A quick look at your short commenting history suggests you're more bother to keep around than it's worth. So you are banned. Please don't attempt to come back.

    I'm also going to close the thread at least for the time being. Thank you to everyone who who has contributed to it in good faith. It's been very important, but I'm not sure if there's much more to be gained at this point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Okay. I wasn't entirely happy with this thread concluding with exchanges with someone who had so little empathy with its themes. And a reader has sent me this, because she'd prefer it appeared anonymously. I think it's worth re-opening for.

    ---

    "While I'm saddened and disheartened by the judges comments referred to in the original post, I'm not at all surprised. Which probably saddens me most of all.

    My biggest regret in my life is making the mistake of pressing charges against someone years ago and agreeing to go through the court process. While I was warned by the cop in charge that there would likely be a fair amount of blame-throwing and “what were you wearing and how were you acting?” I was nowhere near prepared to sit on a stand for a day and a half with the guy in question shooting eye daggers at me while his lawyer bought up every possible scenario he could think of that made me look like a bit of a slut. And I wasn't even legal age at the time of the incident in question.

    Other (older) girls got involved and the victim-blaming at their trials were even worse. “What were you wearing?”, flirty letter exchanges were brought up, “But you went to his house and drank wine with him, did you not?”, etc etc etc.
    And after a few years of this, with multiple complainants laying multiple charges, the guy is still walking the streets every day.

    It's the very reason that there wasn't a question in my mind, when I was later raped in my bed by someone that my flatmate had let sleep on the couch, that there would be no way in hell I'd ever make a complaint.

    I'd been drinking. We'd flirted earlier. Despite the fact that he woke me up to hold me down, cover my mouth and rape me through my tears and attempts to get him off me, I'd invited it on myself. And that's what everyone would think as well.

    How could they not when the system that's supposed to protect and serve justice believes that?

    I don't know what it is. Whether it's a result of too many false rape complaints. Or simply an old school way of thinking that rules the courts. Or whether it's just what people think.

    Like, you can't rape a prostitute, right?

    Fuck that.

    The thing I find the hardest about what I've seen first-hand is that if I ever have a child that has a similar thing happen, there's no doubt in my mind that I would forbid them from ever taking the matter to court.

    Apparently things have changed since I was there, but from what I can tell, not too much. I'd say that while the particular scenario that started this thread was highly public, there's a whole lot of people within the court system that think exactly the same. And a whole lot of complaints that are rationalised with that kind of thinking. Until that changes, I don't see that any wider public thought is going to change. And even if it does, will it make any difference?

    There's no worse feeling than being told, over and over, what you already feel might be the case anyway.

    Yes, I think women do need to be careful.

    Because I've seen what happens when we don't.

    As have far too many others.

    But I also know that after years of living in fear, I'm not going to live half a life because some bastard dictates what I should and shouldn't do to keep the “bad men” off me. I run when it's not quite light because I love running when it's not quite light. Sometimes I wear tight jeans because I like knowing my butt looks good.

    Us women tend to be pretty good at knowing what we want. And trust me, if we want to have sex with you, we'll let you know.

    It's just a damn shame that far too many people seem to think that anything less than that is inviting danger."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Thank you, both, for this. It's very close to my own experience, and my own reactions to it. And no, I wouldn't encourage my daughter to press charges either. I might have written a novel largely about this...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    The law is clear and does not need changing.

    The only thing a jury has to decide is did it happen, or didn't it?

    We don't need a law change, we need a culture change. And everyone needs to work together to achieve this. A defendant is tried by a jury of his peers. This means ordinary people like me or you. Changing rape culture doesn't just mean changing the mind of a potential rapist, it means changing the minds of everyone who might end up on a jury one day.

    United Kingdom • Since Oct 2013 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    What Emma said. And, yeah, that sound an awful lot like why I didn’t tell anyone what happened to me for almost twenty years. Press charges, are you cray-cray?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Russell Brown,

    To your reader, I would say: thank you for telling your story. Your voice is heard, and appreciated. Never let the bastards win.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Christ, contender for most depressing thread ever :(

    Does anyone have any good news about how this is getting better before I leap out the window? Or how to make it better? As the father of a soon to be seven year old girl...

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    Was out yesterday, and while having a restorative beverage was eavesdropping on the (mixed) party of teenagers at the next table. Some guy started in on the slut-shaming trash talk, and got promptly shut down -- by the other men as well. A small thing? Yes, but that's where jamming rape culture starts.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Ah, Craig, that *does* make me feel better.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Yeah, this is the thing about it having to be a culture change is that can seem huge and intimidating and make you feel really helpless. But it means that all of us can do little things that make a small difference, and it adds up. It's the only way this kind of change happens, in more and more of us saying No.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Sarah,

    The law is clear and does not need changing.

    I think some of the responses here strongly indicate the law does need changing. If anyone in this society feels the cost of bringing a criminal to justice to too great personally to bother with then the law has failed in it's purpose.

    It might be possible to change things without changing the law by changing proceedures in court but given the attitude of lawyers I doubt it. It seems clear, to me at least, that changing the law is now required to achieve the goal of protecting society and particularly rape victims. Because frankly the way some lawyers have used the law to protect rapists and abuse rape victims is dispicable.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    Or how to make it better?

    This thread is part of making it better. Yes depressing as all hell. But really read some of the stuff here and most folks want something better for the next generation, we don't know how to get there but we want it ... that's a start.

    And as Craig noted some of this next generation gets this shit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Thank you for reopening the thread.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Franks incenses...

    we don’t know how to get there but we want it … that’s a start

    Another start would be not enabling or condoning the thuggish behaviour exhibited by Ben Franks, in that adrenalised game against the Boks yesterday.
    Hansen has just passed it off as dumb, and I am just appalled by that - what signal does it send the people of New Zealand, that you can live in a Jack Reacher novel, that bullying and violent over-reactions are okay.
    Franks is a complete dick and should be off the team and sent for re-education.
    The team that represents me/NZ does not behave that way - sorry!
    Sure it is a violent game (def not t/winks) but it has rules, just like life, and no one should be able to think they can get away with that crap - Hell he must have known there were millions of eyes on him - what goes through his head.
    Start the change at the top, and emphasise it all the way down...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7948 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    But the only dud note in a remarkable game (except maybe for the team list typo?)

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2560 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Another start would be not enabling or condoning the thuggish behaviour exhibited by Ben Franks, in that adrenalised game against the Boks yesterday.

    I was happy that he came out full on and called it dumb which I viewed as an improvement. I've seen a lot worse from All Blacks and other sports teams. The politics around protecting Tana Umaga after Brian O'Driscoll was injured in the 2005 Lions tour for example.

    I had the pleasure of refereeing an ice hockey game this year where the captain of one team poked his stick in the face of an opposing player from behind. When he went down to the ice another member of the offending team skated up to him and yelled out "get up you French faggot!". Sports has a long way to go.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    Or how to make it better?

    A lot of work was done in this area by the Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence, which formulated a report for government between 2007 and 2009. They had input from a number of people, who worked tirelessly at the time, trying to make a difference at policy level, and through organisations, with a focus on victim support.

    You can read a summary here, including the government response, such that it was. I get the impression this, like many things, his fallen under a bus, while other priorities get funding.

    While it was never going to be a solution on its own, the group did connect with communities, and made a determined effort to make the report meaningful and contribute to the discussion. I don’t know what’s happening with it now, or the recommendations.

    Disclaimer: someone dear to me worked on this report. They also had great hopes of a better world. As do I for our three girls.

    Thank you to all who have contributed positively here. It’s been bloody hard to read, but so important. Arohanui.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2450 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    what signal does it send the people of New Zealand

    That is part of the problem people seem to think they can take a lead from sports people. Who never have been and never will be great role models.
    That includes RM, OK maybe Stanley Matthews. Well should I say, few and far between.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to andin,

    what signal does it send the people of New Zealand

    That is part of the problem people seem to think they can take a lead from sports people. Who never have been and never will be great role models.

    I actually think the All Blacks are okay male role models, if we’re to have them. Dumbass acts like Franks’s are rare. They’re about blending commitment and a collective ethic with individual creativity. You take young guys like Stephen Luatua (who I follow on Twitter) – unflinching on the field, but serious and humble off it. Part of it is that many of the PI players are Christians. Some don’t drink.

    Go back a generation and, yeah, quite a few All Blacks were drunken bozos – some Super rugby players still are. But the All Blacks now? Not so much.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    Or how to make it better?

    If I could make a plea for people to submit to this, again.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

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