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She was lying there with her inbox open and her cellphone pulled up

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, June 6th, 2009 - 127 comments
Categories: feminism - Tags:

The Queen of Thorns at Ideologically Impure has a post with this wonder title about the type of victim bashing that the some of the right have indulged in this week. Notably tsmithfield from our comments page. Here are her answers – pretty good considering she had a cold.

First bold: ‘If the victim didn’t behave in exactly the manner I suggest a victim should have behaved in, she’s obviously not a real victim because she’s not fulfilling the role’.  See also the eternal if you cry you’re hysterical and unreliable, if you’re calm you clearly weren’t really raped dilemma.

Bolding the second: ‘The victim isn’t a Logical Victim of the harasser, so there must be Something Else Going On.’  Because her failure to respond to the very first ‘Hey how’s it going’ email with ‘STAY AWAY, HARASSING PIGFUCKER’ must mean she has some ulterior motive.  Normally, we’d be going for she was flattered by his attention but because this is politics so God forbid we pass up the opportunity to insinuate some nasty conspiracy.  And of course, there’s no feeding into classics like ‘women using their sex appeal to lead Good Men astray’ happening here at all.  Hell, it’s probably worse if she were doing it for political purposes rather than securing a designer-brand-furnishing sugar daddy like good strumpets do.

Bold part III, revenge of the bold: Just as we all know that being too drunk to form multisyllabic words is exactly the same as a signed affidavit affirming ‘I would like to engage in sexual intercourse with you right now’, it is also true, kiddies, that if you are polite, if you try to continue engaging on a purely professional level, if you redirect a person’s email address straight to your spam folder, if you God forbid try not to piss off someone with significant clout and thus stop short of rigging a Running Man necklace that will explode if they come within a hundred metres of you, your harasser is fully able to believe you are a willing participant.

Personally I think that the right should really look at keeping some of the female vote that they picked up prior to the election. This is the point that Anita at Kiwipolitico is pointing out in her post Key’s real attitude to women is showing.

In John Key’s world apparently: where the old boys’ club is strong and a leader sides with his men no matter what. Well at least until the political math tells him otherwise.

In case anyone’s missing the nuance: Key has told the media he believes the woman in question is a liar and has threatened to publicly humiliate her if she doesn’t back down. All without even trying to talk to her, all on the word of his good old mate Richard Worth whose unpleasant track record Key is well aware of. Nice eh?

What has interested me with this scandal is not the actual facts – the police will deal with them in their usual manner. It has been the reversion to misogynist type by some of the right (and even some of the left).

Maia at The Handmirror points out this attitude in her post A nuisance.

There’s something very born to rule about the euphemism ‘making a nuisance of himself’. Just the language, unfortunately, not the activity. Like many born to rule terms, it’s quite honest. I can imagine quite a range of activities that Key would refer to in this way: it could refer to language, either abusive or explicitly sexual, or unwanted physical contact, even protracted unwanted physical contact. These are all nuisances, women should put up with them in the same way they might a missed bus.

Of course Cactus Kate begs to differ. But she usually does. Sounds like she’d like women to revert to the early 20th century with some (like her) having more privileges than others.

I’d like to point out to Kate that if I have to get involved in ‘protecting’ the women of my family it will get dangerous for someone. I doubt if I’m more aggressive than most males, but the idea of performing the type of protective role that Kate prefers appalls me. Personally I would regard having to do it as society failing its duties and requiring me to inflict severe harm to help improve the species. I suspect that most men would tend to feel the same.

A significant reason for society operating the way it does is to separate males from opportunities to indulge in violence. Societies that require family men for the protection of women inevitably descend into some kind of purdah or “women as property” systems for that reason. It reduces violence between men. That is why the type of male protective role that entertains Kate is not a good idea for society.

But Kate probably has very similar attitudes about the role of women to John Key?

127 comments on “She was lying there with her inbox open and her cellphone pulled up”

  1. Nick 1

    Just read the latest in the Herald, very conveniently a Korean business man accuses the Korean lady in question of fingering him, and points out that she is “high cost”.

    The whole thing gets sleazier, but what we can say is:
    * Worth has not denied doing the dirty deed with the lady in question, nor addressed the prior accusations from another woman. Smoke and fire, it would appear that this is “business as usual” for Worth. Im not going to judge his morals or sexual mores. This is not a case of making excuses like “his private life is not open to public scrutiny” or “let he without sin cast the first stone”. Its more like “leopards dont change spots” so recognise their nature and respond appropriately.
    * Both Trotter and Key have shown typical old fashioned conservative sentiments, i.e she should have told him to f**** off, she is part to blame etc etc, it reaks of mysogeny, note that women, dont vote for the patriarchy next time around.

    It all sounds to me like an abuse of a power relationship (not unique ot the right) by somebody who we should be able to trust not to (as a Minister of the Crown) and a very dodgy response from Shonkey and his mates.

  2. Tom Semmens 2

    It is hard to blame the right for having an antediluvian pre-Greer view of women when many on the left have yet to come to terms with modern feminism – or indeed, any aspect of “identity politics”. I note for example that while Chris Trotter can’t see what the fuss is all about, Mathew Hooten has immediately understood the heart of the matter.

    Perhaps this issue is as revealing in it’s wider generational differences as it is in its specific detail. On one hand you have (baby boomer?) men of a certain age, the Trotters, Griffens, Prebbles, Armstrongs, Worths, an (to use Russell Brown’s phrase) old man circle jerk who see this in terms of a just a bloke hitting on a girl. For them it is the way of the world, she should tell the pest to fuck off or her husband (lucky she was married!) will deal to this threat to his property. It is a world where women are still fundamentally regarded as a passive vessel, and where a dirty old man is just an old tusker to be admired for his sexual virility.

    On the other hand, you have practically anyone born after about 1960 who are first generation to grow up with social revolution of feminism and instinctively understand the issues here, whether or not they actually agree with them. Men of this age understand that women have to be interpreted in their own terms, not just through the paradigm of a dominant male value system. For the modern man, bedding a women also requires gaining her active consent, not just a campaign to subjugate her to your will. I suspect that is an idea of sexual equality that the likes of Trotter and Griffen and Worth regard as incomprehensible, vaguely absurb and rather scary.

  3. burt 3

    lprent

    ‘I’d like to point out to Kate that if I have to get involved in ‘protecting’ the women of my family it will get dangerous for someone.

    It is funny when you say “Sounds like she’d like women to revert to the early 20th century “ and then you go on to talk like the woman in your life are some form of property you own.

    • lprent 3.1

      Bullshit. I suspect you are reading your own thinking rather than mine (as per usual). They’d have to ask having exhausted the other avenues that society offers. I made it pretty clear that I thought it must be the absolute last resort.

      What Kate seems to think is that she should move it up the list of actions. Possibly that it should be the first action taken. I got the distinct impression that she thought it would be entertaining?

      That is unacceptable to me.

      • burt 3.1.1

        “They’d have to ask having exhausted the other avenues that society offers.”

        I think you have hit the nail on the head lprent. Normally sexual harassment is something you report to the police. I guess as a politician is involved the woman thought reporting it to the police was futile. Somebody should tell her Labour are gone and the rule of law now covers parliament and MP’s again.

        FFS lprent – you appear to be saying you would beat the shit out of someone rather than call the police – are you serious ?

        • Anita 3.1.1.1

          burt writes,

          Normally sexual harassment is something you report to the police.

          No it isn’t.

          Having been a sexual harassment contact/support person within a big organisation and been in the world for a while, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that sexual harassment is almost never reported to the Police. The people being harassed do their best to have the harassment stop with the tools at their disposal: often just ignoring it and hoping that’ll put the harasser off, sometimes asking friends and family to intervene, within a work environment going to the harasser’s manager (or manager’s manager) is a normal and completely appropriate course of action.

          Getting a someone to support them while they’re taking whatever action they use is normal, asking someone to do it on their behalf is not unusual.

          With the kind of power difference that existed in this case asking a powerful acquaintance to ask the powerful harasser’s even more powerful boss to get them to stop is a Good and Proper approach, and she should be supported for having taken that step.

          • QoT 3.1.1.1.1

            Gee, Anita, I thought Cactus Kate had really put us in our place over that whole “power dynamic” thing. We are clearly silly feminists to imagine that Ministers of the Crown get treated with deference or accorded a level of influence and stature in the community which might make people uncomfortable with direct confrontation.

          • burt 3.1.1.1.2

            Even if I were to accept that she had no power in this case, I would still not agree with lprent giving Worth the bunch.

          • Anita 3.1.1.1.3

            burt,

            I was not saying lprent should go round punching people, I was saying that you were wrong when you said that the normal response to sexual harassment is to go to the Police.

            Seriously, you’re wrong  very very very very wrong.

          • burt 3.1.1.1.4

            Anita

            Clearly I have made an error with that comment. However what part of sitting on it for months only to have it blow up in the media made it preferable for Goff to personally handle it rather than more qualified and capable individuals?

            Would you, in your capacity as a sexual harassment contact/support person say this is a good outcome so far?

            Can you also enlighten me on why it is ‘almost never’ reported to police?

          • Anita 3.1.1.1.5

            burt,

            Is this a good outcome? I don’t know, you’d need to ask the woman who was harassed how she feels about it. Perhaps she’s glad it stopped and is currently feeling like she is being strong and taking a stance and feeling good about it. Perhaps she feels embarrassed and distressed. I don’t know but that, it seems to me, is the way of knowing whether it’s a good outcome.

            Why isn’t sexual harassment usually reported to the Police? An unordered list of answers:
            1) It’s often not criminal.
            2) The person being harassed is often as ashamed of their own powerlessness as they are of what’s happening, going to the Police would require facing that powerlessness.
            3) People are likely to tell a friend or family member way before they would tell the Police, and the friend or family member may well be able to provide enough help to address the issue.
            4) In most cases I doubt the Police can/would help.
            5) The Police don’t have a great rep for dealing with complaints by women about sexual harassment or sexual violence.

            I’ll try an example… an 18 year old woman earning minimum wage doing shifts at a fast food place. The 40-something manager, who gets to assign shifts, is clearly interested in her (she isn’t in him), he starts off talking about how pretty she is, how he likes her smile, then her breasts, how he’s recently single, etc. He invites her out for drinks (she says yes the first time, but leaves early and turns him down every other time), and round to his place.

            He seems to always be there when she is, and she is assigned shifts without many other people, and none of her friends. He keeps brushing up against her “by mistake”, he starts telling “jokes” about how big his penis is and how he can keep going for hours. She once told him to “piss off”, and he reduced her shifts and told everyone she’s not a “team player” and is “stand offish and arrogant”.

            Her pay review is coming up and he starts dropping hints about how maybe she should be “nice to” him if she wants a raise.

            What do you think she should do? Cos I can’t see an option in which involving the Police is going to help.

    • Zetetic 3.2

      Oh look burt the boy genius is back. Pray tell, where does Lynn refer to women in his life as chattels? I can hardly wait for some of his well-argued comments.

      I see it now ‘lynn wrote “women of my family” it means that they’re his property’. We call the moron a moron and say that a person has a family, in English it’s normal to call that family “my family”, women who are part of a family can, in this language of ours be said to be “women of the family”. Put it together, “women of my family”. Lynn conveys no ownership of these women. Just familial alligence

      Of course burt won’t let it go because he has to try to pull some little thread somewhere. He can’t actually defend Key.

      Still think that this is all a beat up burty boy?

      • lprent 3.2.1

        Z: Ah I see from your reply where you think that he is coming from.

        Of course I have allegiances and commitments to the members of my family, male, female, and children. They tend to rank pretty high on my priority list.

      • burt 3.2.2

        Nah Zetetic, it’s the idea that if the woman in his life are being harassed (by who’s standards and according to who’s word) then it is his job (duty) to beat someone up.

        Look people are not always honest about the things they do. People will say “I didn’t invite it” when they did and they will entertain this kind of thing quite willingly till the get caught by a vicious jealous partner who threatens to beat them. Some people also do their best and cannot stop unwanted advances so more formal lines of “stop” need to be used. All sorts of permeation’s occur and we do not know what is really going on – beating people who hit on your wife/girlfriend etc is a pretty misogynistic way to deal with it if you ask me.

        • Anita 3.2.2.1

          If someone I care about was being sexually harassed I would do my level best to protect them too.

          That’s not ownership or sexism, that’s about caring and being a human being.

          • burt 3.2.2.1.1

            Anita

            I have no argument with that – it’s the idea of hunting them down and beating them that I’m talking to. Such an alpha male concept.

          • lprent 3.2.2.1.2

            If society doesn’t provide a remedy – what do you suggest?

            That victims should lie back and take it without asking for help?

            That if someone asks for my help, that I should ignore them?

            That there is a well known proclivity amongst males to use violence earlier in stressed situations than females?

            That people who are defending people that they care about are far more likely to resort to violence than disinterested third parties like the police?

            It is a strange universe that you live in, burt… Are you sure that you aren’t one of those people who lives in an ivory tower and prefers to look at the fantasy world of their imagination through rose tinted glasses?

            Personally I prefer reality.

          • burt 3.2.2.1.3

            lprent

            There was no physical threat (from what we know). Society not providing a remedy rests at this time with Goff & Key – what are you suggesting?

            What was Goff doing sitting on this? Why did he take it on rather than refer the woman to the police? He could have organised a very discrete arrangement to have it dealt with immediately – as could Key once he heard about it. When you say “society” so far you are only talking about the PM and the leader of the opposition.

            Back to this beating bullshit. Perhaps I see it differently because outside of a dojo or a boxing ring I haven’t dished out a beating since I landed myself in a shit load of trouble at 18. Dishing out beatings is not something people who know how to do actually do unless they are dangerous loose cannons who we need to protect society from.

            You are 50 years old lprent – are you having another mid life crisis? Are you a dangerous thug or are you just blowing off steam?

            • lprent 3.2.2.1.3.1

              burt: WTF I never said ‘beating’. Do you consider violence to be a game? You are an idiot!

              I’m far more likely if pushed to that extreme to be permanently injuring or killing, preferably with a weapon. That way there is less of a chance of repeat offenses. I cannot remember the last time I was violent. But I learned very early that it was simpler to permanently remove a problem that affected me than to tolerate repeats.

              I’d prefer to not have to make that decision. Haven’t had to since I became an adult. I tend to help people use the options available rather than going to extremes (like helping rocky write scripts to transfer e-mails). At least for me it would be a decision. For many it would be an accident in the heat of the moment.

              • Maynard J

                lol are you trying to give burt a stroke or hernia, I’m not sure how he will handle that comment!

                Kate, you are refering to people’s physical aspects and completely ignoring what affects people more – someone’s ‘power’ and influence. Why is that?

  4. Zetetic 4

    Fran O’Sullivan’s piece is an absolute disgrace. I hope she never is the victim of such an attack and has know-it-alls turning over every detail of her actions. Saying she should have come forward earlier. She shouldn’t have had breakfast etc. Implying that it’s not real because she didn’t act according to someone else’s script (but actually behaved in a not untypical way for a victim of sexual assault).

    • gobsmacked 4.1

      I think you have misread O’Sullivan’s piece. She goes on to explain why the woman in question would have had reason to trust the Minister, and therefore why the allegations are not only about a possible crime (which may never get as far as a jury verdict), but are (allegedly) a serious abuse of power, even if no crime is ever proven in a court of law.

      The parts you refer to are best read in “quotes”, I’d suggest.

  5. burt 5

    lprent

    Personally I would regard having to do it as society failing its duties and requiring me to inflict severe harm

    Sounds like some form of lynch mob ;-)

    • lprent 5.1

      Nope. I’m not known for running in mobs or for that matter any group – I always make up my own mind.

      Now your actions last year (and others) did look like a pack response…. :twisted:

      • burt 5.1.1

        So you make up your own mind… but you seem to be saying that you don’t respect the woman in your life making up their own minds and you might need to step in and do some beating for them?

        Look if I found a guy in the act of physically harassing a woman in my life then 20 plus years of martial arts training would be unleashed on them in a split second. If it were not a “here and now physical harm occurring” situation then to inflict damage would be a lynch mob mentality. “Pre mediated” is a word that springs to mind when you talk about inflicting harm on somebody if you are not responding to a here and now threat.

        • Ari 5.1.1.1

          Burt, give it up. You seem to be trying oh so hard to see what’s not there. While I can’t say I’ve ever seen an abuse or harassment case that got better with violence added in, it’s entirely possible that the offer of some sort of physical backup would make some people feel a lot more secure. Lprent talking about violence as a last resort hardly sounds like he’s gonna be nutting anyone soon.

        • ak 5.1.1.2

          …20 plus years of martial arts training would be unleashed on them in a split second.

          “Pre mediated’ is a word that springs to mind when you talk about inflicting harm….

          Gold. Ya still got it burt.

        • rocky 5.1.1.3

          Burt you’re an idiot. You’re completely misinterpreting (no doubt intentionally) lprent’s words to hijack this thread.

          Let me state, as a woman of lprent’s family, that I have never seen him use violence towards anyone, ever. Perhaps that is due to every woman in our family being fairly strong, generally prepared to stand up for ourselves. A good example here is my reaction the past two times I’ve been sexually harassed on the street, I’ve responded by giving the perpetrator a good punch in the face. What lprent was referring to, was what his actions might be if any of us actually felt we needed his help.

          And why should women go to the police when they are sexually harassed? Until the police show they are actually capable of taking these sorts of complaints seriously, why would we? To be fair some police do deal with this sort complaint very well, but you’d be taking a gamble to just walk into your nearest police station.

          My understanding from the women I know who have had to make complaints of sexual assault or rape, is that the police tend to deal with it very well when it is a case of “stranger rape”, but often appallingly with assault by a man the woman actually knows.

          I also understand it can be quite difficult to get a female officer to take your complaint. And I know of one case where a woman went into a north shore police station to complain she had just been raped, and was sent home as it was after hours.

          Of course we know what the current government thinks of all this. They just cut the funding to Auckland Sexual Abuse Help, a wonderful organisation with a 24 hour phone line for women who have been raped or abused to call. They provide a support person to go with the woman to the police station to complain, and they offer ongoing counseling services. It looks like thanks to the funding cut, these services may not be available much longer.

  6. mike 6

    “Mr Goff said yesterday that the woman was strikingly beautiful”

    Wtf – is the labour leader saying she deserved the attention due to her looks?
    Why mention her appearance Phil??

    • Zetetic 6.1

      mike. why so obsessed with every word Goff says? Why not defend your hero Key’s actions?

      Oh, yeah, you can’t.

      • mike 6.1.1

        Because Goff was the one who politicised this and its blowing up in his face big time.

        Key – nothing to defend him for?

  7. QoT 7

    It is a mighty title and I’m glad you liked it.

    Captcha: “financial sparta” OH THE POSSIBILITIES.

    • Ari 7.1

      It was a good piece and deserved the plug. :)

    • lprent 7.2

      It sure did. It was also a really great title. You should have heard my mother chortling over it.

      Your post was very good. Got a bit wasted towards the end, but it sounded like anger combined with drugs for the cold.

      • QoT 7.2.1

        It is a problem I constantly battle with, getting progressively more wound up as a post progresses. I consider it part of my girlish charm, or something.

  8. Tim Ellis 8

    LP, I think you are spinning wildly on this.

    I haven’t criticised the woman at the center of these allegations. I’ve criticised Mr Goff for not doing more to intervene on this woman’s behalf, and for waiting five months before discussing the matter with Mr Key.

    I’ve also said that I am suspicious about some elements of the woman’s statement, including the statement that she has phone records of incoming calls. I am doubtful about whether she wrote the statement, or whether it was written by a Labour Party staffer.

    • Maynard J 8.1

      Oh that is right, you still think the curry-munchers can’t write good England.

      Because you are trying to imply that parts of it were fabricated or the truth was stretched by Labour, I suppose. Onya tim.

  9. burt 9

    lprent

    Go give Key, Goff & Worth a bashing – see how far it gets you.

  10. Ianmac 10

    Tim = Rubbishhhhhh!

  11. roger nome 11

    Burt – i’ve sorted creeps like worth out before. I won’t tolerate my loved ones being intimidated and sexually bullied by anyone – period. When society/our communities doesn’t offer a resolution what else can be done? Iprent is absolutely right.

    • Tim Ellis 11.1

      Roger, you should apply for the labour party leadership. If only Mr Goff was as interested in intervening when he was able to, rather than waiting five months before saying anything.

      • r0b 11.1.1

        Tim should apply for National party leadership, because he can spout this crap, knowing it is crap, with a “straight face”.

        Goff was unable to act until the woman wanted to act. What should Goff have done without her consent:

        Taken it to Key? That’s both patronising to the woman and useless (Key ignored the information provided with her consent, of course he would have also ignored anything less).

        Taken it to mudslinging in parliament? Of course not. That’s both a betrayal of trust and useless. After all, if you can’t defend it in court, then you shouldn’t be saying it, don’t you agree Tim?

        Goff acted with discretion and honour. Key let a known pattern of unacceptable behaviour continue until it became impossible to hide it any longer because the police got involved.

    • nomeiscarson 11.2

      Why would anyone take a queer politics student seriously

  12. So what do you actually want?

    Lefties want it both ways – I suggested an aggressive solution where women actually stand up for themselves. You don’t like that. I then suggested that the husband deal with it – somehow that was equally offensive.

    Richard Worth is a very mild form of “sex pest”. I’ve met the guy more than once and didn’t even give it a second thought that I was ever in some sort of mortal danger. If you can’t ward off his advances then I am sorry, as a woman you fail.

    If the woman is “strikingly beautiful” as Goff describes so gently I’m sure she’s well versed in all sorts of sex pests trying to get a leg over.

    This woman knew precisely what she was doing. She was manipulative and cunning. I would imagine more than capable of dealing with the situation herself let alone with the supportive husband on hand and Goff has now just made political capital out of it.

    • Zetetic 12.1

      No Cactus suggests that if you don’t ‘stand up for yourself’ at the time then it’s your fault. Not far from saying she was asking for it.

      Goff has a duty now to represent this woman’s interests fairly. If Key keeps on screwing up and that results in Goff looking good that’s hardly his fault.

      • gingercrush 12.1.1

        Goff isn’t looking good. He is looking stupid. Key might not be doing any better. In fact he’s even worse. But when the fool describes the lady as, “strikingly beautiful” that can hardly be seen as representing the woman’s interests fairly.

        Love your posts on this subject too Cactus Kate.

    • Anita 12.2

      I would love to live in a world where everyone who received unwanted sexual attention was immediately confident and able to say “no, go away” and have it work.

      I don’t.

      Many (many many many) women and men who are sexually harassed don’t know how to make it stop. One of the things that serial sexual harassers are good at is picking people who won’t know how to make it stop. Sad but true.

    • Ari 12.3

      How do you know what she knew? I didn’t know you could read thought directly from media coverage.

      I know plenty of women who were quite pretty but led very sheltered lives and had a hard time learning this type of lesson. I’d be quite surprised if they were the only ones.

      I know this is a weird concept, but not every women has the knowledge and self-confidence that you have, Kate, and sometimes they won’t do things that seem like obvious solutions to you because of that. That doesn’t make them liars and manipulators any more than Worth’s silence made him absolutely guilty. (Hell, I don’t even have the self-confidence you seem to have. :P)

      • Ag 12.3.1

        You’re wasting your time. Right wingers assume either that everyone should be like them, or is morally at fault for not being. The law has to work for regular people.

        Having said that, there is being self confident, and there is being too self confident, where it tips over into being silly and obnoxious. CK passed that threshold a long time ago.

  13. burt 13

    This slow release of details about the woman which are becoming more and more personal is indeed titillating. When do we get naked pics and stories of how she likes it.

    • Zetetic 13.1

      You’re a sick little monkey aren’t you burt?

      Stop jerking yourself for a minute and think.

      The woman never wanted this public. Key was the one who made the issue public. Which was a major breach of trust on his part.

      Goff simply confirmed that he had taken a complaint to Key on behalf of the woman. He then tabled a letter from her on her story.

      It was Key who insisted that she must go public. Goff offered a private meeting. Key agreed then chickened out.

      • nomeiscarson 13.1.1

        Are you tittilated zitty ? Time for you to go sniff the neighbours panties eh what ?

  14. Nick 14

    Lets forget the left versus right feminist versus mysoginist bit for a second….come back to trust.

    Ask yourself, can Worths wife, (the one closest and dearest), actually trust him? Obviously not.

    So why should anybody else? QED

  15. burt 15

    Nick

    Exactly. Now if his wife knows about his antics because Worth has an open marriage then should we also trust him? Worth’s wife may have helped him write some of the txt messages for all we know. Should lprent bash her as well just to be sure he gets everyone?

  16. roger nome 16

    Burt – that seems unlikely, and if she were helping him then she’s not going to be carrying it out by herself after hubby’s been seen to right?

  17. Rex Widerstrom 17

    Perhaps I have a unique perspective from others here (at least I’d hope it’s unique) having been on the receiving end of allegations that were in some ways more serious, which disrupted my life (putting it mildly!) and which were then later admitted to have been a complete fabrication.

    But to me the ambiguity that inevitably surrounds many of these types of allegations could be removed by a law which prescribes that anyone found guilty of maliciously making a false accusation against another (i.e. not cases of mistaken identity etc) be liable for the penalty that would have been incurred by the accused. And no name suppression, either, because the accused rarely gets it and thus their life is forever dogged by the “no smoke without fire” moronic chorus.

    Want to falsely accuse someone of rape? Be prepared for a lengthy jail term if you’re found to have made it all up to explain a drunken romp to your partner.

    Naturally such a charge would need to be tested in a court of law the same way anything is… I’m not advocating some sort of Star Chamber or lynch mob.

    But when an accusation can be levelled at someone (usually, though not always, a man) and the accuser, when found to have lied, is unlucky if they’re even charged with wasting police time, there’s not much a disincentive to making stuff up.

    And the corollary to that is, there’s always the ability of those who jump to the defence of someone accused of such acts to allege the complainant is making it up. Because as it stands, there’s very little to stop them doing so.

    [Note I'm commenting generally, as a response to the debate over the way some people are defending Worth and others defending the woman, but not on this case specifically].

    • rocky 17.1

      I can understand why you may think that Rex, if you have been on the receiving end of a false allegation. However, have you thought about the possibility that that sort of policy could actually deter woman from making genuine complaints?

      • Ari 17.1.1

        Don’t know about Rex, but I think that’s incredibly risky given that such a policy could backfire on genuine complaints that it’s hard to gather evidence for. How would you define “malicious” anyway?

        My inclination is that people who make complaints that don’t result in a conviction need to be counseled. (ACC is a great mechanism for this given its no-fault policy and wellness mandate) If the complaint was malicious, they may well have some attention-seeking or deeper mental health issues, and if the complaint was genuine but didn’t succeed, they’re going to need some good support to deal with that, too.

        • Rex Widerstrom 17.1.1.1

          Counselled?!!? I’m not talking about the girl who genuinely believed, but was horribly mistaken, that David Dougherty raped her. I’m talking about someone who tells a blatant lie, knowing it to be a lie, for some form of gain: political, monetary, revenge, to get themselves out of trouble, etc.

          Given the age of the complainant in my case and the fact she acted to make a complete retraction as soon as she realised the consequences (and had to fight the Police to do it – they turned around and attacked her) I was more than happy to forgive. Indeed I publicly thanked her for her courage and honesty, and did so again when she voluntarily fronted up when the noble Michael Laws tried the “where there’s smoke…” line.

          But if she’d been 20 years older at the time she told the lie, I’d expect her to be serving time. Have you any comcept of what an accusation like that does to a person, their family, their career, their business (if they have one), their life Ari? Especially when your name is made public?

          I’ll probably get hammered for this, but I’m choosing the word carefully… you feel violated.

      • Rex Widerstrom 17.1.2

        Yes, but given the falsehood must be proven beyond reasonable doubt to have been made maliciously – and not just a genuine error such as mistaken identity – then a person (it’s not always women) shouldn’t be deterred.

        Further, it also works the other way. If it was known that a person who lied about another committing a criminal act would almost certainly go to prison, then a person who claimed to have been victim of an offence would be seen to be saying “I am telling the truth, and if I am wrong I expect to pay the penalty”… much as one does when taking the oath in court. In the minds of at least some people, that’d aid their credibility, surely?

        • Anita 17.1.2.1

          Rapist: “And don’t even bother going to the Police, you have no proof, they’ll never believe you, and sluts like you go to prison for accusing men like me of rape”

          • Rex Widerstrom 17.1.2.1.1

            First, I’m talking all crimes, not just sex crimes. Outside the field of sex crimes, men falsely accuse men, they falsely accuse women, women falsely accuse women and so on. “Dobbing” is becoming a standard weapon in the arsenal of troublemakers of all stripes… encouraged by various government campaigns over the years.

            Second, even in cases of sexual crimes, it’s not always women who are the victims, as you seem to imply. In the vast majority of cases they are, I admit. But they’re not, for instance, the victims in a men’s prison – which is where innocent men are sent when falsely accused.

            Third, you’re overlooking the element of malicious falsehood needed to send a complainant to prison. I understand that a traumatised woman won’t be thinking clearly after such an event, and the price we may pay is that some assualts go unreported.

            [Though in a perfect world the government would make sure we're aware of our rights and our responsibilities well before such an event, so a victim would know her rapist was lying. And we'd have well-funded Rape Crisis Centres, legal aid centres, Innocence Projects, a Police Integrity Commission...]

            But are we to entirely fail to protect people (mostly men) from the trauma of false accusation in our endeavours to protect genuine victims (mostly women) from rape?

            I’m starting to feel like one of these “men’s rights” campaigners, but men are equally deserving of protection (as are their wives and children who also suffer greatly when they’re falsely accused, I might add).

            We don’t advance justice by sacrificing the rights of some to protect those of others.

          • Anita 17.1.2.1.2

            I totally agree that it’s not always women who are victims of sexual crimes, or men who commit sex crimes. In fact I seem to remember being shouted at for saying “women and men” earlier this year :)

            I am not overlooking the fact you’re talking about malicious falsehood, and I’m not saying that people who maliciously report crimes that didn’t happen shouldn’t be prosecuted.

            All I intended to say (and perhaps I should’ve quoted that portion of your comment) was that it is possible to use the existence of prosecutions for malicious false reporting as a deterrent to reporting real crimes.

            The Police can and do prosecute for false complaints of rape now  it’s just really important that when that does occur is it framed in a way that makes it very clear just what the reason was, and that genuine complainants have nothing to fear.

            Apologies if I was unclear through lack of quoting :)

          • Rex Widerstrom 17.1.2.1.3

            Anita (hope this appears in the right place, as we’ve run out of threading!):

            Fair enough. You’re right, the police should not only prosecute more false accusers but should trumpet their reasons for so doing. That’d have the effect both of discouraging more falsehoods and (hopefully) encouraging genuine complaints.

            On the flipside, I’d also suggest they shouldn’t be over-zealous in dealing with an accusation when it first reaches them. Investigate, and investigate fully, by all means. But delay arresting till the last possible moment – or else join the defence in applying for nsame suppression of the accused until they’re found guilty (assuming they are).

            All too often these cases are basically “he said / she said”, so police need to be scrupulous in investigating and seeking other evidence. Yet I’ve personally worked on many cases that should never have made it to court (and some that resulted in convictions based purely on who presented best on the stand)… one case where the complainant “remembered” the accused had physically threatened her only on the day of the trial, 18 months and four statements later… where she said she was “looking out the window” while lying on the floor of a van… where she said the van had to be towed out of the sand yet, despite widespread advertising, no one ever came forward to say they had done the towing… where the police ordered the sleeping bag tested for blood (which came back negative) but not other fluids… and so on.

            So I should add to the list of those who ought to be disciplined when shonky cases ruin someone’s life, the police officers and crown prosecutors who brought the case.

    • Anita 17.2

      Actually our current law allows a false complainant to be jailed for longer than the person would have been if they had been found guilty:

      s115 of the Crimes Act:

      Conspiring to bring false accusation
      Every one who conspires to prosecute any person for any alleged offence, knowing that person to be innocent thereof, is liable—
      (a) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years if that person might, on conviction of the alleged offence, be sentenced to preventive detention, or to imprisonment for a term of 3 years or more:
      (b) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years if that person might, on conviction of the alleged offence, be sentenced to imprisonment for a term less than 3 years.

      So a false accusation of rape carries a penalty of up to 14 years in prison.

      • Rex Widerstrom 17.2.1

        Yep, but I’d love to how often it’s used, and what the average penalty has been in any cases where it has. “Almost never” and “bugger all” I suspect, which is why I’d like the investigation and, if appropriate, retribution automated.

        And not just in a case of sexual violence, but in any instance where an accusation is made maliciously. It’s almost never invoked by the police for some reason, which is why all sorts of bulls**t gets flung round in the “justice” system… especially in Family Court – almost always and usually by both partners, according to a Magistrate of my acquaintance, who’d like nothing better than if the police started prosecuting false accusations so as to reduce the weight of unfounded, malicious and damaging nonsense through which he’s forced to wade.

        But at least Family Court proceedings are sealed – if you’re accused of a criminal offence you receive no such shield.

  18. roger nome 18

    “I suggested an aggressive solution where women actually stand up for themselves.”

    That’s great Cactus – i agree. Unfortunately not every woman is buffy the vampire slayer. You have to be pragmatic about these things. Women are often socialised into passivity

    • Tim Ellis 18.1

      Roger, the recent history of women in the Labour Party is not of women “socialised into passivity”.

    • Ag 18.2

      It’s actually irrelevant.

      We could and probably should all agree that people should develop the character to stand up for themselves.

      But that’s a separate issue from whether people who prey on those who don’t have such character should be liable for their actions.

      Similarly, in rape cases, it is perfectly reasonable to criticize the conduct of a victim (male or female) who engages in imprudent behaviour that puts them at risk without lessening in any degree the criminal culpability of the rapist.

      There are just different and largely incommensurable types of blameworthy behaviour.

      • Ari 18.2.1

        Similarly, in rape cases, it is perfectly reasonable to criticize the conduct of a victim (male or female) who engages in imprudent behaviour that puts them at risk without lessening in any degree the criminal culpability of the rapist.

        What exactly do you mean by this? Because I can’t think of a situation off the top of my head where I’d agree with you.

  19. roger nome 19

    lol – nice Tim, i get you. Most women have never been considered radical feminists though.

  20. Tim is correct. I have never met a Labour Party female member of the modern kind who was not more than capable of sticking up for herself and giving as good as she is receiving.

    So I don’t understand rogernomes “women are victims” comment that “women are often socialised into passivity”. Utter nonsense.

    Worth did not physically assault this Witness A (referred to by the Press as “the Indian” and now by Goff as the “strikingly beautiful”) and there is no evidence or accusation to suggest he did anything that physically threatened her.

    While I concede that men are generally larger and stronger than women I will never concede that women are not more than capable of matching men in giving men a good verbal ballocking and a “PFO”.

    • Zetetic 20.1

      Can I just say I’m enjoying having Cactus here. She’s like burt but with longer words.

      Out my way, you can tell when certain clouds gather round the hills that it will rain in two days’ time. Likewise, we know that when Farrar posts a line, the burts, cactuses, tims and smithfields will soon be here repeating it. Like the rain, they’re a mindless phenomenon.

      So, now you’ve latched on to Goff saying the woman is ‘strikingly beautiful’. How that is meant to be a bad move by Goff, no rational man can say. But after three days of continual screw ups by Key you’re desperate. Desperate for anything. So desperate that you’ll work yourselves into a tizzy because Goff called a woman beautiful.

      You’re thrashing like fish drowning in air.

      Please don’t stop. This is fun.

      • infused 20.1.1

        You’re posts Zetetic, have been some of the most bullshit I’ve ever read here. Think long and hard before rubbishing these people when you write utter shit yourself.

  21. roger nome 21

    Enough with the mis-quoting cactus. Fuck I hate arguing on blogs with lawyers/disingenuous creeps. Over and out.

    • gingercrush 21.1

      Must suck to be you roger nome and losing all the time. Go home and have a cry.

      • roger nome 21.1.1

        Yes – another abject failure. I don’t have to go home to cry however. I can pour tears of boredom on to my keyboard any time i want, just by reading one of your comments.

      • Zetetic 21.1.2

        gingercrush.

        Tell me how Key has handled Worth’s busy hands like a truely amazing PM. Go on, I love a good laugh.

        • gingercrush 21.1.2.1

          But I’m not saying that. Key’s handling has been pathetic I don’t doubt that. The left however, would love to say Goff has handled everything so impeccably well when frankly that isn’t the case.

          • Ari 21.1.2.1.1

            The only dumb move I’ve noticed is that he commented on her appearance, and given that he managed pretty well, I’d say that’s not so bad in the overall picture.

            What exactly do you object to about Goff’s handling, GC? Seems to me he was pretty fair to both Worth and the party member who confided in him.

  22. Adolf Fiinkensein 22

    You poor poor dumb bastards. You’ve actually succeeded in totally screwing yourselves.

    [lprent: trolling again? However you aren't actually banned, so I suppose I'll let it through the moderation that you've been in for the last year. It seems a bit pointless as your writing seems to have deteriorated based on this idiotic comment that doesn't even bother to explain what you're thinking.

    Based on your past comments over the last year or so I don't think that you have the wit to write anything intelligible or even interesting - certainly the case with the witless comment you just left. I'll leave the moderation on to allow me to enhance your comments]

  23. gingercrush 23

    Ari:

    That comment is obviously stupid. But its the sitting on it for months and months doing absolutely nothing. The fact he hasn’t fully checked this woman who we now know has labeled sexual harassment on others. The fact that Goff didn’t get the woman to go to the police. The fact he says it isn’t political when his interviews are strikingly political. There is also the issue of flip-flopping. First he says that Key handled the situation with the first complainant properly hen goes on to say that he didn’t. Nor did he show actual proof of the harassment for Key to act on. As far as I can see that is shoddy.

    Of course this doesn’t mean I defend Key in all this. His handling has been pathetic and he does open himself up for political attacks.But I don’t believe Goff should be given Saint-status when he hasn’t been acting Saintly.

    • Ari 23.1

      No, that was GOOD management. He has no right to do anything without the consent of the person who feels they’re harassed. It is HER call how much she feels she can cope with here, when or whether she wants to go public or make a complaint to someone in private- whatever. You don’t get to second-guess what is right for a victim of sexual harassment that way.

      He has had evidence that satisfies him it’s more than just a story, even if it may not be evidence sufficient for a criminal conviction. He’s even willing to present this evidence to Key, and offered to do so when he brought the matter to his attention first. He did not say he would use this evidence against Worth and he didn’t leak it- nothing came out until after Key confirmed there were issues of sexual impropriety. That strikes me as an ideal mix of sensitivity to a person we ought to assume is a victim, and fairness to a person we ought to assume is not a perpetrator. Once the evidence is investigated, preferably in private, then we can say something more.

      Given some conversations I’ve had with someone who works with the prime minister now and then, I’m inclined to believe that what happened is that he delegated the responsibility to investigate this and it didn’t get done properly- possibly his staff took that as an “I want to be able to say I investigated it” comment, and left it at that. Still, that’s no excuse for Key, and it shows a lot about the team we have in government, and his reactions to this have shown he doesn’t know how to deal with allegations of sexual harassment appropriately himself, what with threatening to out a potential victim.

      ETA: If you want to hear more about why I think this way GC, there’s a post from yesterday on my blog. Just follow the link in my name.

    • r0b 23.2

      The fact he hasn’t fully checked this woman who we now know has labeled sexual harassment on others.

      Ahh no GC, you’re a bit confused about the facts there. No surprise I guess, as anything goes when you’re so desperate to assemble some kind of story where Goff looks bad.

  24. Murray M 24

    Both Goff and Key have handled this situation like fuckwits. It’s a non event, surely these two useless pricks have better things to occupy their time with.

  25. I shall think like a Labour Party supporter for a second ——-

    All the comments here are from men and as they are directed against me, a woman, I deem all that disagree with me to be sexist. So there.

    What? You disagree with me? Sexist. What? You still disagree with me and you went to private school? Sexist and an elitist.

    The debate on this blog is of less rational sense than Kiwiblog.

    Again – where are the Labour Party women on this subject. The closest we have so far is Lyn, the guy with the girls name who has violent tendencies.

    • gobsmacked 25.1

      All the comments here are from men

      A sexist assumption on your part. And false.

    • OhPlease 25.2

      Cactus Kate – this is my problem with your stand . As far as I can make out – your response to a woman’s bag being snatched in Botany Town Centre car-park would be to say – why the hell did she take her bag with her. Also, I see the bag was rather big – and she is 80 FFS, surely she should know that she is target for any passing person short of cash ?

      Reductio ad absurdum? I think not.

      When the conservatives see non-sexual crime or misdemeanor, they spend little time arguing whether the victim could have taken precaution, and most of the time discussing how society has gone to the dogs, build more prisons, crush their cars, three strikes and your out … blah blah blah. The focus is on blaming the criminal (often far too much IMHO).

      In the case of a sexual harrasment the reverse is true. We has seen them spend inordinate amount of column inches arguing how, why and when the victim should have taken precautions, and little on punishment.

      Where is the appropriate punishment? I nominate crushing something..

    • lprent 25.3

      Kate: Are you referring to my partner Lyn? Or to me (Lynn) ? That mawkish taunt has been something that I’ve heard all of my life, and ignored. It is just a sign of another adult who hasn’t managed to grow up. You just descended another few pegs in my estimation.

      Sure I’ve got violent tendencies. I’ve yet to find a person who doesn’t. I suspect that mine are rather more pronounced because I’m male than the women in my family. Certainly Lyn and the other women in my family and circle of friends don’t have them to the same degree that I do.

      I sublimate them into code which I’ve been battering into usefulness most of my life. Those monomaniac tendencies you see in most men arise from the same cause.

      The anger I regularly feel finds a very convenient outlet in programming. I’ve never had to use the skills at mayhem I’ve accumulated over the years from the army and other training. Hopefully I never do. However those tendencies are still there and with my known habit of seeking permanent solutions would make using someone like me for intimidation in the way that you describe in your post as being bloody dangerous, and outright stupid.

      Your solution is a typical extension of some bloody thoughtless ideas from the right. It is why we have social institutions like the police to prevent that type of stupidity.

      I’d suggest thinking before you write something so damn thoughtless in the future.

  26. Maynard J.

    Worth never suggested she would be sacked for not having a relationship with him.

    He found her “strikingly beautiful” and offered her two positions she wasn’t qualified for in the first place. This is not uncommon in Wellington. I referred to “Charlie Wilson’s war room” in my post.

    Apart from her own pride, this woman hasn’t lost any opportunity due to Worth’s power or influence…which I am sad to say in the National Party has never been that high anyway.

  27. Gobsmacked

    As are all the assumptions made about my original post on the basis of my political preferences.

    And when the left cry “sexist” or “elitist”, I’d throw in race there but I am handicapped by being 100% European.

  28. tsmithfield 28

    Ari:

    No, that was GOOD management. He has no right to do anything without the consent of the person who feels they’re harassed.

    To determine whether this was the appropriate strategy, Ari, you need to ask yourself, “how would Goff have looked if this situation had turned into something more serious?” What sort of questions would then have been asked of Goff if it was discovered he had been sitting on this for six months?

    There are times when pre-emptive action is necessary, even if the victim doesn’t agree with it. In this case, Goff could easily take this action without having to identify the woman or breach her confidence. As I said earlier a simple “I know a woman who is being harrassed by Richard Worth. She doesn’t want to be identified. But could you have a word to him and tell him to stop” would have done it.

    Goff didn’t take this sort of rudimentary action and so has failed in his management of the situation. He has dithered and demonstrated he lacks moral spine IMO.

    • Anita 28.1

      tsmithfield,

      Are you arguing that Goff did what he could to keep the harassed woman safe, by protecting her privacy and following her wishes, even tho it may have not been the most politically expedient strategy for him?

      Because, if so, I think he has done exactly the right thing and demonstrated exactly the kind of moral and human leadership we need.

    • gobsmacked 28.2

      But could you have a word to him and tell him to stop’ would have done it.

      Which rather overlooks the vital point here.

      When Key was told about the situation by Goff, he didn’t have a word with Worth at all.

    • Ari 28.3

      Goff doesn’t get to make the call on what’s going to prevent the victim from the most harm. That’s the victim’s call to make, even if they get it wrong. Do you understand what I’m saying here? You put the person who has been affected by it firmly in the drivers’ seat, and if they don’t manage it as well as you’d like- tough break, they’re probably not unaffected by events.

      As I said earlier a simple “I know a woman who is being harrassed by Richard Worth. She doesn’t want to be identified. But could you have a word to him and tell him to stop’ would have done it.

      What are you talking about? You’ve just paraphrased the private conversation he had with Key a month or so ago. Unless you’re suggesting he say that to Worth- which I think is unwise as direct confrontation in these matters can be problematic.

  29. The Baron 29

    Sigh, this is what happens when the Standard writers leave for half a day – way, WAY to much discussion on something that can be summed up pretty easily:

    KEY: Fucked up, wasn’t decisive enough, sat on info for too long to try give Worth an out. Has also said some stupid things since then which has only confused the situation. Why on earth he would try to defend Worth, I dunno – cut and run would be my move.

    GOFF: Not sure he fucked up, maybe sat on the info for too long, certainly appears now to be “milking this for all its worth” rather than actually looking out for the women concerned. I say this because I suspect there are labour hands in the mix here – why did a woman who previously desired secrecy change her mind and start laying formal complaints and issuing statements to the media? The first I can understand and commend her for – the second seems like Labour having a stir.

    THE WOMEN: I agree they are the victims here, and for once cannot agree with Cactus. There is a racial element here too – in my experience (which is not large), women from these cultures are less likely to tell someone like this to FO.

    WORTH: Should shut up and quit. Criminal offense or no, he has crossed a moral line.

    I’m sure that unless another post comes from the authors too, that the ideologues on both sides will have something to piss on about on how their side is holier than thou.

    I’m afraid noone is in anyway commendable with regard to this story. A pretty sad day in politics.

    • gobsmacked 29.1

      Baron

      “why did a woman who previously desired secrecy change her mind and start laying formal complaints and issuing statements to the media?”

      Point of information: the woman’s situation was made public to the media by John Key, Wednesday afternoon. Not by her, or by Goff.

      It’s not clear why he did this – let’s be generous and say it wasn’t political manoevring, he just let it slip. But the story started there. The media (inevitably) followed it up.

    • lprent 29.2

      …Standard writers leave for half a day

      Hey, we have lives as well that don’t involve the blog or politics.

      Actually I don’t really right now. I’m hammering code and data for the by-election next weekend. It is going to be kind of scary for the Nats about how organized the systems will be for using the volunteers most efficiently. The skills of the operations management major of my MBA fit perfectly into building big people handling code.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 29.3

      It was Key who bought the first complaint up, Goff was then put on the spot. It would have been better if Key had kept it private like Goff had suggested.
      Then to top it all off Key started questioning her credibility.

  30. Anita

    No, Goff kept Witness A’s complaint silent, from John Key and in the meantime there is now a Witness B who has a criminal allegation against Worth from an alleged incident in March.

    If Worth was told off at the point Goff found out in 2008, he may not have been even in the position to perform the far more serious criminal allegations against Witness B.

    This is another reason why Goff’s actions are intolerable if he really wanted to protect the women involved.

    • Anita 30.1

      Yeah, that’s one of the trickiest bits of negotiating the mire that is sexual harassment and sexual assault. Should a victim be forced to come forward against their wishes to potentially save others? I hate the idea that one might revictimise someone by exposing their worst experiences without their consent, on the other hand I hate the idea of allowing more people to be victimised by allowing the behaviour to continue.

      It’s a really hard balancing act.

      One of the policies in the organisation I was involved in this process in was that if the organisation became aware of a number of similar pattern allegations against one person the organisation itself would take the issue forward even if none of the victims were willing to do some. The idea was that at some point where the pattern showed there was real risk of recurrence then preventing the creation of more victims became the primary motive.

      If we extend those rules, if Goff was aware of only one incident then protecting the victim was the primary goal. If he was aware of another few then he should’ve done something about it even if she didn’t want him to do anything.

      Of course the same applies to Key, even more so in fact because he gave Worth the position of power he was misusing and he had the ability to take it away (and protect other women) far more directly than anyone else. It’s clear Key did know about more than just this allegation, shouldn’t he have acted sooner?

  31. tsmithfield 31

    Moved

  32. tsmithfield 32

    Anita
    Are you arguing that Goff did what he could to keep the harassed woman safe, by protecting her privacy and following her wishes, even tho it may have not been the most politically expedient strategy for him?

    No. Exactly the wrong thing to do. There are times when it is necessary to stand up and do what is right, even when victims may not want the help.

    Consider the example of a child being bullied at school. The child does not want parents to intervene because they are afraid the bullying will get worse. However, for the parent just to sit on their hands and do nothing is totally unacceptable. The parent might be able to do something such as approach the teacher to see if the bully could be spoken to about bullying in general, and warned that he is being watched. Thus something is done without breaching the confidence of the child. Imagine how the parents would feel if they did nothing and their child was severely hurt.

    This was exactly the situation Goff was in. He could have done something to stop the abuse but did nothing for six months. He was allowing this woman to be continually harassed and left open the possibility of the verbal abuse perhaps becoming physical abuse.

    He was being limp-wristed and spineless in my estimation.

    • Anita 32.1

      A child is different from an adult. With a child we believe they are incapable of informed consent about most things, and allow adults to decide what is best for them.

      That is not true of adults, even victims of sexual harassment or crime. We should respect their informed consent and allow them to make their own decisions. Otherwise we simply victimise them ourselves.

      • tsmithfield 32.1.1

        Anita
        That is not true of adults, even victims of sexual harassment or crime. We should respect their informed consent and allow them to make their own decisions. Otherwise we simply victimise them ourselves.

        I can’t believe that you actually think this.

        So, according to your values, you would be prepared to see someone murdered so long as you had protected their confidentiality?

        • Anita 32.1.1.1

          *sigh* That’s not what I said.

          We are talking about a case in which a man behaved revoltingly toward a woman, where he misused his authority, and where he behaved unethically and far below the standards we can expect from a Minister. He did not, however, in any way threaten her life.

          Somewhere else on this thread I talk about the greyness around when to override someone’s wishes, and when to respect them. But your analogy with children is bogus; our understanding of a child’s consent, and adults’ responsibility to protect them, is completely different from our understanding of an adult’s consent.

          Goff, in the face of an adult woman who had been treated extremely poorly by Worth, treated her like a competent complete adult with boundaries, an intact sense of self, and a right to choose whether or not to consent. That IMHO was a good thing to do.

          • tsmithfield 32.1.1.1.1

            Anita *sigh* That’s not what I said.

            So, if you are not talking about principle, then you’re talking about where to draw the line. That then becomes a subjective thing.

            The sort of intervention I suggested was based on the assumption that the perpetrator might be harassing other woman in a similar way, so I suggested a very general intervention without specifying the woman concerned.

            What is wrong with this? If Worth had been harassing other women as well, he probably would have stopped harassing all of them, including the known victim, once he was aware that Key had his eye on him. This would have been a good thing.

            Goff could have done this without breaching the womans confidence in the slightest.

          • Anita 32.1.1.1.2

            tsmithfield,

            1) If I had been in Goff’s shoes (someone I knew talked to me about being sexually harassed by someone over whom I had no direct authority but some indirect ability to influence by raising it with someone else, and the person being harassed was in no danger) I would have said “What I would like to do is give Key a call and say that someone has spoken to me about being sexually harassed by Richard Worth and that it might be a good idea for him to raise the issue generally with Worth. I wouldn’t mention your name or give any details which would identify you, but I really think it is worth making sure Key knows and can do something. Are you ok with me doing that?”.

            See what I did there? I made sure that the power and decision was with the woman who was harassed, and that I was being totally open, honest and trustworthy, and that I am respecting her confidence, and I acknowledge that the story is hers not mine.. If she said “No”, I wouldn’t do it.

            2) As far as I can tell at least 1/2 of everyone around Parliament knew the kinds of things Worth did, not to mention a wide variety of people not in parliament. Key knew (and had for some time), Goff knew (ditto). Surely Key would’ve already had a responsibility to make sure Worth knew he was keeping an eye on him? In fact, surely Key should have been keeping an eye on him?

            Key’s responsibilities are both as an ethical human being and as a semi-competent Prime Minister who understood what the fallout of Worth’s behaviour would be.

  33. yawn 33

    Oh my god, you people should get out more. I suppose once you get to a certain age mobility becomes a problem.

  34. Anita

    I understand the difficulties in dealing with women who feel harassed but this woman DID speak up – to Phil Goff and we know now in November 2008.

    Goff is more powerful and influential than Worth in so far that he is the Leader of the Opposition (Worth isn’t even in Cabinet) and capable of making a complaint to John Key or dealing with Worth himself as a colleague in the House. He chose not to. Goff remember could have approached Worth himself MP to MP at any time. He chose not to.

    The woman was NOT alone, Goff was on her side all through the period she was subjected to the alleged abuse as was her husband. She cannot be painted as a weak victim as she was supported through a period she was subject to the alleged harassment and they let it continue. She went to Goff as an “elder” and someone she trusted as they share the same political allegiance.

    Key didn’t know about the allegation from her until May. Even The Standard’s own timeline in the post below states that. Rumours fly around all the time about politicians. If Key or indeed any other Leader of a political party was forced to follow them up they would have no time to run the country or their party’s.

    Worth is a plonker and as I have stated, should have been sacked for his shady business dealings and judgment. Most National Party members believe he should be sacked as well. These sexual allegations are just a political sideshow that Goff is exploiting for his own means not against Worth but John Key.

    • Anita 34.1

      Did I paint her as a weak victim?

      I think what I said was that she was a woman who chose what she was ok with Goff telling whom and when. I think that is a good thing, and I think it was right that Goff honoured her wishes.

      FWIW I am also uncomfortable about the way Goff has behaved about her story in the last few days. Perhaps she is genuinely ok with what he is saying, perhaps she isn’t  either way it feels a little bit more about politics for Goff than about dealing with a case of sexual harassment.

      So, in summary, I think it is great that she decided who she sought help from and when she sought help. I also think it’s great that they did help her. I think it is great that the people she sought help from respected her wishes and boundaries about what they did with what she told them. Those are Good Things.

      That her story, and details of her personal life are now spread unnecessarily all over the media without a lot of care for her or her family? Not such a good thing.

      • tsmithfield 34.1.1

        Anita
        See what I did there? I made sure that the power and decision was with the woman who was harassed, and that I was being totally open, honest and trustworthy, and that I am respecting her confidence, and I acknowledge that the story is hers not mine.. If she said “No’, I wouldn’t do it.

        The problem I have here, Anita, is that the behaviour of the perpetrator is not addressed. The perpetrator could be carrying on affecting other people as well as the victim.

        I would explain that to the victim that the perpetrator had to be stopped from affecting others, as well as the victim. I would then agree with the victim on a way the perpetrator could be challenged that the victim felt comfortable with.

        BTW, we have no way of knowing whether Goff had even gone as far as the steps you have recommended.

        • Anita 34.1.1.1

          tsmithfield writes,

          I would then agree with the victim on a way the perpetrator could be challenged that the victim felt comfortable with.

          What say the victim doesn’t feel comfortable with anything you think should be done?

          There is grey here, an awful lot rests on the gravity of the situation, the continuing risk to the victim and others, the impact of your intended action on the victim, and an assessment of the victim’s competence. In the case I outlined I would allow the victim the final say.

          To take two analogies:

          1) I see someone trip and fall on the street, she scuffs her knee in a way that I think deserves anti-septic and a plaster. I offer her both (from my handbag-of-many-things), she turns them down and says she believes in the power of fresh air and a strong immune system.

          Should I over-rule her and enforce graze cleaning and plastering?

          2) I see someone trip and fall on the street, she hits her head hard and is bleeding all over the place. I help her get up from the ground, try to sit her down and say I’ll call an ambulance. She is clearly dazed and gets up to walk off slurring “no no, don’t call an ambulance, I have to be there when the coffee guy arrives”, she gets up, falls, and gets up again wobbling but determined although she’s getting greyer from shock or blood loss.

          Should I over-rule her and call an ambulance and make sure she keeps safe until they arrive?

          I think these cases are black and white, but there is grey in the middle.

  35. ak 35

    Tory Sleazebag Exposed: Goff at fault say PR puppets

    Hilarious.

    As a victim of proximity over more years than I care to remember to far, far, too many morono-tory, puffed-suit, self-inflated, dead-eyed and ubermasturbated, annoying, cloying, soul-destroying fools, tools, gropers, strokers, try-hard jokers; greasy grippers and touchy tie-tugging inbred faux-intellectuals with minds in the gutter, I just hope the current case encourages more strong women to come forward and relegate more of these cretinous creeps to the public ridicule and opprobrium they deserve.

    meanwhile, back at the OrGran….

    Woman in Worth case accused me too, says man

    and….

    Sharples speaks to National Conference…….After a few Billy T James-style Maori fella jokes, Sharples spoke seriously about the relationship with National.

    Maori-fella jokes.

    Seriously.

    Up against it, brothers and sisters.

    On the other hand, desperation indicates cognizance of a tightening noose: the olde worlde of inherited privilege is unravelling before their eyes, and the larger world will no longer accept Third. No wonder the sunny grins are waning.

    Read ‘em and weep, doughboys and cactuslags: the world is turning at long, long last; love is in the air, there really is a brighter future and yes oh yes, we can. And will.

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/141275-decline-of-the-u-s-dollar-asian-initiative-to-create-commodity-based-currency

  36. Cactus Juice Kateylalaland:
    While I concede that men are generally larger and stronger than women I will never concede that women are not more than capable of matching men in giving men a good verbal ballocking and a “PFO’.

    holycrappingbabyjesus, there are timid women there are bolshy women there are women in between there are so many different types of women cactus kate, and not nearly enough of them able tend off a rich white drunk or not lawyertorygit. awrite ?

  37. BDB 37

    Mr Wall Street does look like he has swine flue, Mr Goff does look like HC (without tits and testes).
    HC was good & deserved her doctorate for supreme Queen Pyschopath.
    But this blog has turned a dirty old mp man into a hard on sex scandal.
    AS your dictator says- move on, remember the budget?
    FTA , more public funded private ventures.
    Has anyone informed council flat residents of the correct procedure for funding needed projects = they need the Media and the tagged word ASBESTOS in red sprayed on a inside white wall this seems to provide a $40million “makeover’ in a recession , but no they cannot have the Shanghai visitor center either.

    Can you move on, or are you stuck in the phallic stage.

  38. Ianmac 38

    Trying to remember the detail of the case against Benson-Pope????

  39. DeepRed 39

    Two words seem to sum up the whole affair – “uncovered meat”.

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