Written By: - Date published: 12:03 pm, December 28th, 2015 - 278 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, discrimination, gender, john key, patriarchy, sexism - Tags: abuse, john key, Korero Pono, white ribbon
The focus of the 2015 White Ribbon Campaign is “respectful relationships”, what does that mean when you are the Prime Minister? In light of recent and historical events surrounding John Key, White Ribbon need to take a long hard look at whether he is still suitable to be an ambassador for the organisation.
The ponytail saga shows that John Key “behaved like a bully” toward waitress, Amanda Bailey, pulling her “tantalising” ponytail repeatedly when he visited her work place ,and continued this behaviour for months, even after he was asked to stop. Key described the situation as “just horsing around” – ironically horse tails look like pony tails. I wonder if there is another ‘tale’ to tell here? It later transpired that Key’s creepy ponytail adventures also involved children.
His involvement in the “prison rape” stunt was brushed off, firstly as being in the “spirit of Christmas” and secondly that he was “unaware of the joke’s meaning”. Anyone with half a brain would pick up on the ‘joke’ as it was developing, and I doubt Key is that naive.
The prison rape ‘joke’ comes only weeks after John Key accuses the opposition of “backing the rapists” in a political stunt designed to justify the treatment of New Zealanders in Australian detention centres. In this context he is using ‘rape’ to gain support for not intervening when New Zealanders are being treated like second class citizens. Not one of the New Zealanders being held are rapists but that didn’t stop Key from labelling them thus
Then there was the refusal to apologise over the handling of the Malaysian Diplomat who followed Tania Billingsly home, defecated in her garden and then walked into her house pant-less to then indecently assault her . Mr Key did not believe the incident was serious enough to warrant an apology from his office.
The Mike Sabin debacle is also worth a mention in this situation. He was under investigation for offences of a ‘violent’ nature, resulting in speculation about how much the Prime Minister knew and when. If Key knew about the nature of the investigation it appears he may have kept quiet and did nothing, which are surely not actions becoming of a White Ribbon Ambassador.
We also shouldn’t forget lack of action on the ‘roast busters’ case, cutting back on services for victims of sexual violence and the list goes on. This demonstrates what Metiria Turei calls a “pattern of behaviour”. He is a Prime Minister with “no moral compass”.
While this is just a small example of Key’s overt behaviour , it indicates something is sadly amiss with this man, each incident, each action, shows a wider “pattern of behaviour” that should have White Ribbon squirming about Key’s involvement as an ambassador.
As an ‘ambassador’ for the White Ribbon Campaign, he is supposed to be a role model. One has to wonder what he is modelling to men in New Zealand? That rape is a joke, that it is okay to victimise women and children, it is okay to refuse to apologise when your inaction distresses victims of violence?
Of course there are the more insidious forms of violence and oppression that John Key and his Government perpetuate on a regular basis.One of the more recent examples of the systemic violence promulgated against citizens (particularly women and children) is the accusation that poor people are poor because they take drugs. We already know that this is just another spin to taint the minds of kiwis and further alienate those affected by poverty http://www.nbr.co.nz/opinion/four-mistakes-prove-key-clueless-about-poverty . Any excuse not addressing poverty, and every excuse to blame the poor.
Whether some like to believe it or not, this type of spin is abusive. It is designed to oppress people, it is designed to have others believe things about a particular group in order to justify that oppression (a bit like the Nazis did and what Donald Trump is doing now). This type of oppression is psychological abuse http://whiteribbon.org.nz/about/key-messages/. Just like victims of violence and abuse it causes victims to have “low self-esteem, loss of personal identity, fear, powerlessness, suppression of anger, alienation and isolation, and guilt or ambivalence” (Geraldine Moane, 1999).
This raises a dilemma for White Ribbon who utilise the Duluth Power and Control Wheel to identify abusive behaviour , at what point will they recognise that one of their ambassadors is complicit in the institutional violence and abuse of thousands of New Zealanders. While the abuse may not be occurring in the context of a domestic relationship, the abuse is more insidious because the Prime Minister is using his power and influence to abuse multiple victims and garner support for this systemic abuse and oppression by misinforming the wider public about the reasons behind the increased levels of poverty in New Zealand.
In my opinion, John Key’s known actions tick just about every type of abuse on the Power and Control wheel. Not only are his overt behaviours questionable, his covert methods identify him as someone who uses his position to disseminate misinformation in order to vilify a select group of people. In my book those are the actions of an abuser.