Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Rape and unreason

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    That people were tweeting at the Herald, when the person who really makes the decisions will not be the one reading all the tweets, every single last one, but an employee who is paid to do that, and how distressing and demoralising they may have found that.

    That's the social media editor and it's their job to field that stuff and pass it on and up. If you want the paper to register your complaint, including the newspaper's twitter handle is how you do it.

    I think I was the first to tweet the link to the Jones column, because I was up so early yesterday morning. My message was concise and blunt: "Dear Bob Jones. Fuck off."

    I don't regret the language at all (even after spending half the day debating it with that weirdo ex-cop). But I do wish I'd included some indication of the content of the column, because that tweet got RTd 20+ times, and that's a lot of people potentially reading something that will upset them, including friends of mine like Megan. I'm not a big fan of the phrase "trigger warning", because not everyone knows what it means and because it's bound up in a bunch of social signalling I'm not part of. But next time something's about rape, I'll try and make that clear.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bob Dobelina,

    If my daughter came home and said she’d been wandering around in a park at night I’d tell her it’s a dumb thing to do and it’s unfortunate that’s the reality of it. If something happened to her, I wouldn’t tell her she asked for it but I would suggest that she regulate her behaviour to align with reality.

    Isn’t that fair? Isn’t that what Jones is trying to say through his hyperbole. Isn’t that all Priestly was saying?

    Oh, good lord. That's extremely disingenuous. Priestley offered "the foolishness of your two victims, venturing out alone at night in a park in a strange city, dressed as they were" as a potential basis for the acquittal.

    I'm sorry, but the victims being "dressed as they were" is a basis for acquittal? Are we living in Saudi fucking Arabia?

    And is an indecent assault not really an indecent assault if two visitors to a city choose the "wrong" path home to put themselves in the way of it?

    Also, I'm a bit over the idea that Albert Park is some kind of dark place where no one should go. It is lit, it's in the centre of the city and it's fucking thoroughfare for young people. The idea that two young tourists contributed to a traumatic and demeaning assault by walking that way not only misses the fucking point, it's offensive.

    Grrr. Hulk smash.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I'm not a big fan of the phrase "trigger warning", because not everyone knows what it means and because it's bound up in a bunch of social signalling I'm not part of. But next time something's about rape, I'll try and make that clear.

    I think the thing is with "trigger warning" is that people who are likely to need them are familiar with the term. Anyone who has been on the internet and read some of that stuff gets what it means. If I had my way, we'd put them on news articles. (Online. I don't read the print newspaper.)

    I clicked on your tweet expecting some sort of Jonesian "poor people suck" rant, that would make me angry, but not be upsetting. I read the headline, and burst into tears. (Which is another thing for the Herald editorial staff to consider.)

    The world doesn't owe me safe spaces, nor do I expect it to. But in the same way that I'd get a warning if a massive bump in the road was coming, it helps if I can prepare myself for those things.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Oh, good lord. That’s extremely disingenuous. Priestley offered “the foolishness of your two victims, venturing out alone at night in a park in a strange city, dressed as they were” as a potential basis for the acquittal.

    Indeed. It's not uncommon to have one's car stolen from remote locations, but that doesn't mean that stealing a car is magically not a crime just because the owner dared to park their car somewhere perfectly legal. Also, dairies get robbed all the time. Is someone who gets assaulted in their dairy to blame for provoking the robber by having cash in their till? Is the robber to get off scot free because the provocation is so obvious to any red-blooded male?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    I complained to the Herald, and I hope others do too.
    She seemed to feel that the louder voices, were being heard, though, and not the quieter ones.
    , I appreciate the loud voices.

    I am wondering if it was loud voices that caused the swing with the verdict?
    As Dylan noted above, his situation had indecision amongst his jury.
    I have a loud voice. It has helped me to avert unwanted attention, that, and physical ability to protect myself in that incident . It was another incident where I wasn't fortunate that gave me the very valuable lesson to shout and relay the experience immediately.I believe that helps mentally as well.
    We need to teach all kids from a very young age, preschool, then repeat in school school. that sexual connection is by mutual agreement only. Then all indecent assault will be easy for a jury to understand. Guilty.
    Bob 2 not Sir Bob, Could you start by telling your kids that. It is natural that parents try to explain to their children how to be safe and I suspect it frightens parents at the thought of them not preparing these kids for venturing out into the unknown. Noone deserves ill treatment on any street ,park, party wotever. Clothes, places, do not make for the bad situations we end up in, it's people and bad people.Prepare your kids for this but if your kids are good kids, it wont be their fault.

    Would the Herald be standing by "freedom of expression" Lets face it, journos and opinionators there have me screaming all the time, then they had the audacity to send me a letter offering a free sub for 5 weeks, into the bin that went.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to BenWilson,

    Also?

    Women =/= cars/tills/any other property.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    The thing about the phrase "trigger warning" is that you don't have to be a "fan" of it to recognise that it's useful for a lot of people. Even if they aren't, y'know, you. I personally don't have any need for the phrase but I can see why other people would.

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

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Bob Dobelina,

    If my daughter came home and said she’d been wandering around in a park at night I’d tell her it’s a dumb thing to do and it’s unfortunate that’s the reality of it. If something happened to her, I wouldn’t tell her she asked for it but I would suggest that she regulate her behaviour to align with reality.

    Dude, the moment you criticise her behaviour in those circumstances – when she’s just experienced the most traumatic thing possible – you are telling her it’s her fault. I hope to every god you actually wouldn’t do that, because it’s repulsive. Have a proper think about lecturing a rape victim.

    You are not Just Being Sensible until you ground your views in the reality that the most dangerous place for a woman to be is AT HOME. Accept that as reality, because it is, and then ask yourself, how does someone “align their behaviour” with actual reality, not the incredibly dangerous fairy-tale you’re perpetuating?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Also, I’m a bit over the idea that Albert Park is some kind of dark place where no one should go. It is lit, it’s in the centre of the city and it’s fucking thoroughfare for young people.

    Yes – and how would Jones feel if he went to Berlin and he got handed a leaflet at the airport warning him to avoid the Tiergarten at any time of day because… you know… old dude. Or was advised by the desk clerk at his hotel to avoid being “provocative” by wearing a watch, jewellery or carrying cash while wearing expensive clothes?

    Of course, it would never happen because elderly affluent men are never told to "adjust to reality" and stop provoking crimes against their person or property. Never.

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

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danielle,

    The thing about the phrase “trigger warning” is that you don’t have to be a “fan” of it to recognise that it’s useful for a lot of people. Even if they aren’t, y’know, you. I personally don’t have any need for the phrase but I can see why other people would.

    Of course. I'm still not entirely sure that the majority of people who'd benefit from such a warning are actually familiar with the phrase. They won't have read it in the paper or heard it on TV or radio, and probably haven't even encountered it on the internet. But that's fine: whatever the words, it's the principle of a warning that matters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I... given that the phrase has a fair amount of currency (I have seen it used more than you, obviously), and may actually cross into mainstream use in future because language evolves, I'm not going to presume to speak for those who might benefit from it.

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

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’m still not entirely sure that the majority of people who’d benefit from such a warning are actually familiar with the phrase.

    I dont know it. But I wouldn’t need warning. I decide that at any time.If that’s what it intends.Now though I'm kinda intrigued...

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Of course. I’m still not entirely sure that the majority of people who’d benefit from such a warning are actually familiar with the phrase.

    Especially on Twitter, where brevity isn’t only a virtue but a necessity, what’s the alternative? #NSFW really doesn’t cover all the bases. With context in the body of the Tweet, “triggering” does the job, at least for me. But, regardless, it really is important to remember that you just don't know who out there might find having explicit rape apologetics sprung on them unaware seriously distressing.

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

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danielle,

    I’m not going to presume to speak for those who might benefit from it.

    No, me neither.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’m not going to presume to speak for those who might benefit from it.

    No, me neither.

    I will. I'm massively triggered by depictions of domestic violence. Other things are distressing, but domestic abuse is triggering. The "It's Not Okay" ads were the first domestic violence ads I could actually watch. Like Megan said, the warning is a chance to brace for it, or to make an informed choice about whether, at this particular time, I can handle it. It costs nobody anything, and it's a morning I don't spend hiding under my desk crying.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Emma Hart,

    And anyone who has spent any time in trauma counselling (which is not to say every victim of violence does - the vast majority don't, and again, I would beg people to submit to the select committee I linked to a page back) knows what a trigger is.

    I didn't. I used to put trigger warnings on things, because I understood that that was what one did when one was writing about violence or hatred. I didn't understand why.

    And then stuff happened, and one day I was flicking through tumblr, and an image that would have seemed relatively innocuous, if a bit porny, to most people, made me Lose My Shit.

    That was my first panic attack, and I wouldn't wish those on anyone. I can't control for everything in my life, but I can, where it's available, make a decision about whether I have the energy to stop myself freaking the fuck out.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    It was interesting having her perspective - I too am a shouter, as you know, so it was just a different point of view. And thanks for the link to the submissions page!

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

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Hi Soph xxx I think the point she was making that for women with PTSD, their voices weren't necessarily being heard above the more popular bloggers/tweeters/commenters. Not that the noise was an issue, just that sometimes, in the quiet, someone says something, and we might miss it.

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

  • Lilith __,

    No one has suggested men be prohibited from parks or streets at night. Wouldn't that also be effective?

    There's Golda Meir's famous observation:

    When Israel was experiencing an epidemic of violent rapes and someone at a cabinet meeting suggested women be put under curfew until the rapists were caught, Meir shot back, “Men are committing the rapes. Let them be put under curfew.”

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    The usual suspects always seem to focus on "her dress sense was asking for it". By contrast, those who are "young, dumb, and full of cum" seem to be let off as men being men. And the Sensibles have been strangely silent on all this.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Lilith __,

    No one has suggested men be prohibited from parks or streets at night. Wouldn’t that also be effective?

    For those men who invoke their daughters when advocating restrictions on female behaviour, I'm rather partial to the idea that they be blindfolded in public and led around by said daughters.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    Hi Soph xxx I think the point she was making that for women with PTSD, their voices weren’t necessarily being heard above the more popular bloggers/tweeters/commenters. Not that the noise was an issue, just that sometimes, in the quiet, someone says something, and we might miss it.

    It's a very important point. We all leap in and start firing things around and forget that that might not be so great for some of us.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Russell Brown,

    We all leap in and start firing things around and forget that that might not be so great for some of us.

    Alot ;) Also the old jumping to conclusions can be easily misconstrued because someone forgets a winky eye . I just heard a woman called Denise Ritchie (I think)on bfm discussing exactly this. I only heard the last few minutes but she said she would like to engage in talks with Jones without jumping down his throat because she thought it beneficial to addressing the problems in NZ. She had lots of fact and figures and mentioned “Stop demand” so I guessed she may have something to do with that.
    My point on shouting earlier was to inform that in the 2 cases I experienced, the shouting about it helped me healing and protecting myself.But I do agree the “leaping in and Firing” on the blogs or the tweets can be quite upsetting for others.
    ETA My shouting was to everyone at the party and pointed him out immediately, and Physical defence as I ran telling others of the man around the corner. I was young and figuring life out and computers were sooo young back then so shouting was all I had.the Police back then didn't like us punk rockers much then either.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    But I do agree the “leaping in and Firing” on the blogs or the tweets can be quite upsetting for others.

    I have, very recently started to see this another way. I have stayed quiet about being assaulted for years. I avoided Twitter for most of the day yesterday because I was finding it really upsetting, and I didn’t have the energy. (Plus, I was real busy.)

    But I popped in for a while at lunchtime and tweeted about the things people said to me after I was assaulted last year. Things like “you shouldn’t have let him in the house”. (As though I had a choice in the matter.)

    I did that because people need to know that a) every time they say stuff like that, they contribute to the culture that Jones is the figurehead of, b) that when people say the things he said it hurts victims, and c) because I am pretty done shutting up about it. I was assaulted, and nothing I did in the hours and days and months leading up to that was wrong, and nothing I did contributed to it, and nothing I did was bad, except that I made the acquaintance of a bad person.

    I don’t tell my stories often because they hurt to tell. I’d like never to have to tell them. I’d like no other survivor to ever have to talk about things they don’t want to. But I want to live in a world where victims of violent crime can talk about what happened to them, without worrying about whether the person they’re talking to is wondering how short their skirt was.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    except that I made the acquaintance of a bad person.

    Exactly. Hold your head high Megan. Have a great day. I'm over and out :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

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