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News stories and NZ rape culture

Written By: - Date published: 6:30 am, January 3rd, 2018 - 137 comments
Categories: patriarchy, sexism - Tags: , , ,

A woman was at an outdoor music festival. She was topless and had her breasts and chest body-painted. A man came up behind her and groped her breast. She and her friend then approached the man, where she hit him on the head several times and her friend threw a drink at him.

That New Zealand still has men who think it is ok to grope women in public is not a surprise. After all we’ve just had nine years of a good keen bloke Prime Minister who sanctioned rape culture in quite a number of ways. But it’s utterly unacceptable that in 2018 one of our national television broadcasters is so useless at reporting on this, especially as 2017 was the year of #metoo.

That was sexual assault, and this is classic rape culture – reframe what happened and make out that it was just a bit of fun. Up your game TV3, because yesterday you were part of the problem. You had the opportunity here to normalise the narrative that women are people with rights and you blew it.

Cue comments on social media where some people are blaming the women (and people pushing back against rape culture too). Perhaps the blamers don’t realise there were also naked men at the festival who weren’t being sexually harassed. Or perhaps they don’t care, because they see women’s breasts as inherently sexual and men as incapable of controlling themselves when confronted by them, ergo women are to blame. Or maybe it’s just that women deserve what they get for not accommodating the fact that some men assault women given the chance. Rape culture, endorsed on TV.

I’m guessing there are quite a few people out there feeling challenged at the moment. There is no law against women being topless in NZ. Nudity is not that unusual at some festivals here, although I suspect that Rhythm and Vine is experiencing a bit of a clash of cultures (at a guess, piss-head vs hippy, although both those cultures contain varying levels of awareness of consent issues).

There’s something here where a perceived cultural norm is being used to justify sexual assault – women aren’t normally topless most of the time, therefore when they are, it is them that attract unwanted sexual attention. In other words, for some, women are the agents of the offence. The cultural norm of not touching women’s breasts without permission gets lost. Why is that?

For those who might be thinking that being topless is an invitation to be groped, here’s what that sounds like in other contexts,

If that seems too extreme a comparison, it’s actually not. At the core, it’s whether one understands that women are entitled to body sovereignty. Our bodies don’t exist for the sexual gratification of, or objectification by, unconsented men (or their jokes). Nor should we be expected to cover up because some men still think they have right of access if we don’t.

No-one is making men touch women without consent. Men have agency. When you remove that agency and say that women are making the men do something, that’s also apologising for rape – her skirt was too short, she was drunk, she was out late at night, it’s at least partly her fault. When you blame women for men’s actions of sexual assault you are endorsing rape culture. If you think there is a special line between groping a breast at a festival and raping someone, tell me where that line is exactly. Because otherwise they’re all part of the same culture that says that women are allowed to be abused and what women want doesn’t matter.

It wouldn’t at all surprise me if the man who did the groping did it for a laugh. That’s another clash. What’s the important thing here, how he experiences the act or how she does?

The woman who was abused in this instance, Madeline Anello-Kitzmiller, spoke to the Herald,

She said she had had her chest painted along with Ashworth’s sister, Katie, 18, at a gypsy stall at the festival.

“Within five minutes, we were being told we were disgusting, people were yelling ‘put a shirt on’. I couldn’t believe it. It was just as much girls as it was guys.”

The day before, she’d worn a sheer top which showed her nipples and also had negative reaction.

“So I had a lot of built up anger.

“I was walking to my campsite and saw this hand come up. He got a handful of my boob. I went over and hit him.

“It was quite shocking. I’m used to love and kindness, freedom of expression, equality.”

She went back to her tent with her boyfriend to talk about what had happened.

“I was going to cover up but I didn’t want to let them win. My body and Katie’s body is beautiful. It’s completely natural. We were born naked.”

She described the experience as a “culture shock” – she is originally from Portland in the US where she says people are more liberal at festivals.

Her boyfriend, who lived with her in Portland for six months last year, said people at festivals there “literally walk around completely naked without anyone noticing or caring”.

He responded to the naysayers on Facebook saying he was “the proudest boyfriend ever” and shocked at the reaction.

Also from the Herald,

The body artist who painted glitter boobs at the Rhythm and Vines festival said both men and women offered their naked bodies to be painted – but it seemed only women were harassed.

Jolene Guillam-Scott, 22, says the art form was commonplace at music festivals overseas.

Guillam-Scott specifically offered “glitter boobs” on her price list because she said they’re popular at festivals in the US and UK and said both men and women took her up on the offer at the NZ festival.

“There were guys who were like, ‘hey, can we get glitter on our balls?’

“One of our girls didn’t mind, so we charged them $20. There were guys walking around the festival with glitter on their balls.

“But the guys who got naked were treated so differently.”

Guillam-Scott said plenty of people were getting naked at the R18 festival, but it was only women who were getting harassed.

Festival organisers even shelled out $50 each for the first girl and first guy to go down the slides naked.

“It doesn’t really matter whether you think it’s okay or not for her to have her boobs out like that,” Guillam-Scott said.

“Nobody has a right to go up to you and touch you.

“If I was lying down, passed out, naked, does that give someone the right to violate me? No.”

Guillam-Scott said she was shocked when she first saw the video circulating on Facebook, but thought the ending was empowering.

She was also proud to see her body paint work viewed by hundreds of thousands of people.

“I think it’s awesome what she did.

“I was almost proud, because I think it’s empowering for a girl to come and do something like that. It takes a lot of confidence.

“There’s no difference between what she was doing and wearing a bikini top.

“I think it’s awesome that she went over there and stuck up for herself.”

Organisers of the Rhythm and Vines festival were disappointed to hear about what had happened.

“We do not condone any form of harassment and take these issues very seriously. We will continue developing our ideas on how to create a safer and more enjoyable environment for our customers.”

Front page photo: 1981 Nambassa Village Market.

Moderator note: zero tolerance for victim blaming. This post is intended to be welcoming for women and survivors of sexual assault. 

137 comments on “News stories and NZ rape culture ”

  1. Tony Veitch (not etc) 2

    I wonder if I will get banned by a vigilant Weka?

    Because there is a victim here and this victim can be blamed (or at least by inference)

    The real victim is the male who thought it acceptable to touch a woman’s breast in public and without permission.

    He is a victim of his own testosterone, which stirs up his senses at the sight of a naked breast.

    He is the victim of the advertising industry which uses sexual images of women to sell all manner of products.

    He is the victim of the print and film media, which sells sex in order to generate profits

    He is the victim of imitation, with a very past Prime Minister setting an example.

    Finally, he is a victim of a misogynistic, sexist society which persists in regarding women as second class citizens.

    Of course he should have known better – but how could he?

    Should I cover my arse by adding a /sarc?

    • Carolyn_Nth 2.1

      You make some good points about the social context, Tony.

      However, the REAL victim, as indicated by the your reference to a “misogynistic, sexist society which persists in regarding women as second class citizens,” is the woman who was assaulted – because large numbers of men benefit from rape culture, especially gropers (and their enablers) who use sexual assault to assert their power.

      And please don’t try to hide misogyny or misogyny-denial behind a sarc tag.

    • weka 2.2

      “Should I cover my arse by adding a /sarc?”

      That depends on whether you were being sarcastic or not, and what you mean by your comment (it’s unclear to me).

      There are people who run the lines you just did, and do so to minimise what happens to women. Because I think that the things you name are mostly also phenomena that exist in NZ, I think there is a need to be extra careful when talking about them i.e. do so in ways that don’t undermine women.

      • Tony Veitch (not etc) 2.2.1

        Just to make myself clear, Weka, there is absolutely no justification for what the male did.

        This world would be a damn sight better place if women were in control of everything – they are generally more compassionate, understanding equable and tolerant than men who, it has to be admitted, have made the world the complete mess it is today.

        Having made the above wild generalisation, one pauses to think (but not for long) of such women as Paula Bennett and Judith Collins!

        • Et Tu Brute 2.2.1.1

          While I note the sarcasm, I want to put forward an argument anyway. It comes down to personal responsibility. A person can be both a victim and a perpetrator. It does not excuse them. For example, bullies are more likely to have been bullied themselves, and child molesters are more like to have been molested. It doesn’t make them innocent when they do those things. A man may grow up in a toxic culture and go on to assault women and think it is okay, but just because that gives backstory, it doesn’t justify the behavior. I think today too often we confuse causal effect with a get out of jail free card.

          • weka 2.2.1.1.1

            I agree with that, except for the last sentence which I don’t understand. I don’t see child molesters getting a get out of jail free card.

            • Et Tu Brute 2.2.1.1.1.1

              I suppose I was taking a broad approach in laying down a case to illustrate how the general theory of responsibility could be applied, and not to say all cases are equal or that people are in all cases let off.

    • Xanthe 2.3

      cover yer arse with glitter perhaps?

    • Janet 2.4

      Yes it is a NZ problem. I have recently travelled some weeks in The Solomon Islands. Bare breasts are normal in traditional areas and events and no man seems to be bothered by them but bare bottoms are a totally different story!
      As for the retaliation. Short and sharp like slapping a mosquito. The man thought he had got away with it he didn,t!

    • Andre 2.5

      Given you’ve shortened the “not the partner-bashing third-rate broadcaster” bit of your handle, there’s an unfortunate juxtaposition of your handle’s namesake, sensitive subject matter, and not entirely clear wording. Especially for new readers that missed the discussions around your handle.

  2. If that seems too extreme a comparison, it’s actually not.

    Thanks for posting that Sheikh Hilali quote – it’s like he tailor-made it for the purpose of instructing fellow arseholes about rape culture. And yes it’s a very apt comparison.

  3. Antoine 4

    That Newshub headline is really shocking

    A.

  4. Philg 5

    Who was it who aplologized for being a man? And how was that handled by the MSM media… The media has increasingly become the message, and a major failure eg TVNZ.

    • Ed 5.1

      The media includes a lot of ‘lads’ who by their tone, language and behaviour condone bad treatment of women.
      Richardson
      Hosking.
      Garner
      Devlin
      Veitch.

    • cleangreen 5.2

      Brilliant Philg 100%.

  5. James 6

    What he did was wrong without a doubt. No justification for it at all. However –

    He had left “retreated” and the women were perfectly safe from any further action from him at the time. They could have gotten police or security involved – but instead went to where he was sitting and attacked him hitting him several times on the head. They were not defending themselves – they chose to go attack him.

    Should the woman not get charged AS WELL as the bloke in this situation.

    And again for clarification – not standing up for the guy in the slightest- he should be held to account for his actions. I’m just saying perhaps the women should be (for their actions afterwards) as well.

    • ann johns 6.1

      I agree with you and posted a comment similar to yours. Personally, I think it’s a bit of attention seeking to get your breasts painted but, hey, she’s an american so that takes care of that. (She has also complained about the video being taken down by facebook so that she doesn’t get her FACE out there anymore!). If she was so offended by what that idiot, groping, arsewipe did, GO AND FIND A COP. Get something real done about it but, when you go after the idiot and assault him YOURSELF, then you too are breaking the law. There were police there for just this sort of thing, so taking the law into your own hands was another stupid move. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

      • Psycho Milt 6.1.1

        Personally, I think it’s a bit of attention seeking to get your breasts painted…

        And there’s the other thing – NZ’s weird puritanism. It’s attention-seeking to do all kinds of things, including many things you and I do every day. Why do you consider her getting her tits painted somehow worse attention-seeking than you doing your hair nicely before you go out? Because rape culture.

      • Get something real done about it but, when you go after the idiot and assault him YOURSELF, then you too are breaking the law.

        Yes, she should get the police involved and get him charged.

        There is no jury in NZ that would convict her for what she did and I’m pretty sure that the police wouldn’t even consider charging even with the evidence before them. It would be seen as a reasonable response to a stressful situation.

      • Brigid 6.1.3

        Considering you claim two wrongs don’t make a right, why haven’t you suggested that the man should have gone and found a cop and made a complaint about being hit by the woman?

    • They could have gotten police or security involved – but instead went to where he was sitting and attacked him hitting him several times on the head. They were not defending themselves – they chose to go attack him.

      Natural justice. For some malicious acts you can reasonably expect your victim to smack you one in the face – he should just count himself lucky she left it a couple of cuffs to the head.

      Consider your preferred scenario: one woman keeps an eye on the perp while the other goes and gets a security guard or a cop. Assuming that the perp is happy to wait for a security official and doesn’t just bugger off at speed and ditch his shirt and hat on the way, the official turns up and gives the perp a stern warning not to do such a thing again, because there’s no way the perp’s going to be arrested for that, because rape culture. What satisfaction does either Justice or the victim get from that, exacty?

    • not standing up for the guy in the slightest

      Yeah, you actually are as you try to divert from what he did to what the women did.

      • James 6.3.1

        Bullshit o am and that’s very clear – but the fact is she DID assault him – It’s just your bias that allows you to use this to project.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.3.1.1

          Bullshit o am and that’s very clear

          It’s very clear that you are, as a matter of fact, trying to divert attention away from what he did.

          but the fact is she DID assault him

          She hit him in what would be considered by most people and the law as a justifiable reaction.

          And I’m not projecting anything. You seem to be concerned that a man got pulled up on his atrocious actions.

          • Ed 6.3.1.1.1

            I am choosing to ignore the vile nonsense James projects on this site.
            He has hit a new low.
            I recommend as many people as possible do not respond to him until he gets bored and goes away.

            • James 6.3.1.1.1.1

              Hi Ed – not bored at all – in fact this site is a lot better without you following me around with simplistic arguments and petty attempts at point scoring. So thanks for that.

    • McFlock 6.4

      Common assault, maybe just fighting in a public place, no injuries, and no aggravating factors, a reaction to sexual assault… warning at worst, if the cops can bother doing the paperwork.

      Sexual assault – ISTR similar cases in the court news. Not life imprisonment, but definitely went through the process for a crime of that level.

  6. Ad 7

    Looks like she gave it back nice and quick. Fair enough. The most useful lesson to me is that so long as you don’t go so overboard with the reaction that the Police have to get in there, you may as well fight back and publicize for the shaming.

    The photo from Nambassa 1981 is an interesting choice.

    There, a century of puritanical strictures were temporarily thrown off for male, female, young and old. It was a fully utopian moment, on a wee kiwi scale.

    Rhythm and Vines exists in a different age to Nambassa, and it’s not setting out to be anyone’s utopia. Any full nudity in New Zealand is proscribed here to very defined spaces.

    https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/100267324/happy-nude-year-new-zealand-naturists-celebrate-60-years-of-baring-it-all

    The Rhythm and Vines organizers will need really explicit health and safety, partial and full nudity, and explicit touching consent warnings and protocols at point of sale in place after this one.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1

      There was no nudity involved in this instance. Why would the RnV organisers need to remind men to keep their hands to themselves, nudity or no nudity?

      • Ad 7.1.1

        Because it’s safer.

        You aren’t gong to regulate this degree of human behavior, no matter what the law.
        You probably aren’t ever going to regulate it by simple social contract in all instances either.

        So, like Swim Between the Flags, I.D. required, No Smoking, or Cross Now, they will need little safety signs, as well as disclaimers and warnings on their tickets.

        All of those kinds of regulation looked odd at first.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.1.1

          “Rape-free zone”, that sort of thing.

          🙄

        • weka 7.1.1.2

          I’d rather they took advice from experts in the field. Personally I think what you are suggesting isn’t the most useful way to go about it, and that education and messaging are better.

          • Ad 7.1.1.2.1

            I would look at it like any other kind of social marketing campaign.
            New Zealand have been world leaders in this kind of approach.

            The drink-driving campaigns have been great for over a decade, with billboards and tv advertising. But there are still really hard-to-reach pockets.

            The safe swimming campaigns are the most coercive, since they only enable swimming between the flags and have full time volunteer staff.

            The anti-smoking campaigns have been the deepest and most effective; it entailed wholesale banning of specific kinds of advertising.

            The campaigns against domestic violence are hard to gauge, but have similar intent and very strong leaders.

            The mental health campaign in my my really kicked off with John Kirwan.

            The campaign just started by a whole bunch of actors in Hollywood against harassment is definitely one to watch in this space.

            Doesn’t have to go all Taleban-like, but if crimes like the one in the post are really that far-reaching, and that insidious, then it is time to regulate them. That would include a social marketing campaign with all the billboards and tv and Facebook slots you need.

          • Sacha 7.1.1.2.2

            Apparently the event organisers were offered relevant expertise and spurned it: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11968694

            Safer Venues spokesperson Kit Lawrence said he contacted festival founder Hamish Pinkham last year and offered him their services for free, including posters about what behaviour was appropriate, and advice about offering safe zones for women feeling harassed.

            Lawrence said that Pinkham was initially enthusiastic, saying it would be good to “rebrand” the festival. But Lawrence said that enthusiasm petered out, and he received a final message from Pinkham saying the posters would “negatively highlight a problem that doesn’t exist”.

        • bevanjs 7.1.1.3

          off topic but surely there’s no notable regulation around swim between the flags?!

    • Antoine 7.2

      > The most useful lesson to me is that so long as you don’t go so overboard with the reaction that the Police have to get in there, you may as well fight back and publicize for the shaming.

      Gotta be careful however, as when you pursue a physical confrontation, you can put yourself in danger

      A.

      • Ad 7.2.1

        True.
        In many senses Facebook is a better police than the Police themselves.

        • James 7.2.1.1

          So everyone is ok with the fact the guy was videoing the women without consent ?

          • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2.1.1.1

            Did you just compare assault with CCTV cameras?

          • Psycho Milt 7.2.1.1.2

            There is no right not to be photographed – it has the same non-existence as the right not to be offended.

            • [email protected] 7.2.1.1.2.1

              It is generally lawful to take photographs of people in public places without their consent. However, you must not film or take photos of people if they are in a place where they can expect privacy (such as a public changing area or toilet) and that person:

              is naked, in underclothes, showering, toileting etc
              is unaware of being filmed or photographed
              has not given consent to be filmed or photographed.

              You should not take photos of people if:

              they are in a place where they would expect reasonable privacy and publication would be highly offensive to an objective and reasonable person
              it has potential to stop other people’s use and enjoyment of the same place
              you have no legitimate reason for taking the film or photos.

              However, you can take and/or publish photos or film of people where there is no expectation of privacy, such as a beach, shopping mall, park or other public place.

              http://www.police.govt.nz/faq/what-are-the-rules-around-taking-photos-or-filming-in-a-public-place

  7. James 8

    “Looks like she gave it back nice and quick. Fair enough”

    So you are ok with taking the law into own hands ans the physical assault? As opposed to going to the police ?

    • red-blooded 8.1

      James, do you honestly believe going to the police would have resulted in any meaningful outcome? See PM’s comment at 6.2 for the impracticality of this.

      • Ed 8.1.1

        I am choosing to ignore the vile nonsense James projects on this site.
        He has hit a new low.
        I recommend as many people as possible do not respond to him until he gets bored and goes away.

    • Ad 8.2

      The Police don’t usually sweat the small stuff.

      Anyway, it’s better to give than to receive.

      • James 8.2.1

        Better to give than receive?

        If it’s ok for the women to think that – it’s ok for the man too as well

        (Personal I don’t think either should think like that)

        • mickysavage 8.2.1.1

          Given the scale of the assault and the circumstances I would be appalled if the police took any action at all.

        • weka 8.2.1.2

          “If it’s ok for the women to think that – it’s ok for the man too as well”

          So in your mind, a woman who reacts in the moment to being assaulted is equally unjust as the man who assaulted her? Wow.

          • Ed 8.2.1.2.1

            I am choosing to ignore the vile nonsense James projects on this site.
            He has hit a new low with his comments on this thread.
            I recommend as many people as possible do not respond to him until he gets bored and goes away.

          • James 8.2.1.2.2

            No not at all – I was making a point from a comment. That’s not my actual view.

      • Wensleydale 8.2.2

        He assaulted her. Had this been brought to the attention of a police officer, and had the woman in question made it clear she wished to press charges, I suspect the officer would have been duty-bound to haul him off. Given that I’m not nor have I ever been a police officer, I’m merely speculating, but isn’t that the way it usually works? I mean, if I wandered around Pak’N’Save groping random women, I’m sure the law would take a very dim view of that indeed.

        None of which means it wasn’t incredibly satisfying to watch that little shit get a good slap.

        • red-blooded 8.2.2.1

          So, do you really think he would have been sitting there, waiting to be handcuffed (and I’m not convinced that would have happened), when she returned who knows how much later with the police? And assuming that he was still there, would she have been able to identify him (without the silly hat) when they did? It’s not like he was looking her in the eye when he assaulted her.

          Hey, I don’t like hitting either. In this case, though, there was one clear aggressor and it wasn’t the young woman or her friend.

          • Wensleydale 8.2.2.1.1

            Given that he paid to get into the event, I suspect he wouldn’t have wandered too far. Running away after being slapped by a woman would likely offend his masculine pride and make him look like an emasculated failure. Probably had a good chuckle with his mates about it and then dismissed the entire incident.

        • Ad 8.2.2.2

          From my experience dealing with this stuff (I’m neither cop nor an assailant) if it’s a first offense the victim can choose to get the cops to either give them a warning or go through the usual first offense stuff which is usually diversion.

        • McFlock 8.2.2.3

          It can be bloody difficult picking a single person out of a crowd. And if you lost sight of them for more than a few seconds, they’d invariably claim you’d made a mistake. I even had someone pull the “identical twin brother” on me. I still kicked them out.

          Running off to look for someone is usually a waste of time in that environment, even in a small venue. Either you’re part of a trained team and don’t need to look for support, or it’s up to you.

          Good on her.

    • Pete 8.3

      And in the case of every incident we go to the police? Then people would say the police should be dealing with ‘serious stuff’. And people would say if the time the police spent dealing with ‘minor’ stuff was spent on ‘serious’ stuff the community would be better off.

      • greywarshark 8.3.1

        In the old NZ days… police might measure the width of a bikini bottom to decide what was acceptable, this on the beach.

  8. Lyn Stark 9

    Good read

  9. savenz 10

    Attacker got what he deserved. Should be completely ok to wear body paint especially at a music festival! Just makes Kiwis look repressed at all the furore.

    Breast’s are a natural part of woman’s body.

    Also can’t work out why in 21st century breastfeeding is apparently not ok for many. I think Google still classes breastfeeding and breasts as pornographic so new media still have old media hang ups.

    Typical of right wing Granny and the MSM. Great comment by mr Felix.

    “Of course @nzherald goes one further by blurring the video of the attacker’s face but not the victim’s. All class.

    — mr felix (@bsidebeats) January 2, 2018”

  10. Keepcalmcarryon 11

    We are an immature society and this assault is disgusting. To prove wekas point nzherald is now giving Gable Tostees opinion on the matter. Not providing the link because the media should take a good long look at themselves.

  11. Incognito 12

    Some men don’t know the social boundaries of what’s acceptable and permissible, especially in certain contexts such as party atmosphere and being in a group (pack) and under influence; they interpret a woman or girl’s behaviour and appearance as an open invitation and a challenge to their male identity AKA male sexuality (in a nebulous implicit way). Pregnant women also often experience this crossing of boundaries with their bellies getting touched in public (by men and women alike) as if being pregnant somehow makes this ok (I won’t mention stroking hair, etc.). In all these situations the woman (or a part of her body) is objectified and not treated as an individual who is allowed to make her own choices [clear & known] in a ‘totalitarian’ sense. I have to add that we do seem to live in a society in which consideration of other people in general is decreasing and I don’t see sexual violence of any kind disappearing any time soon, sadly.

    • JanM 12.1

      Good thinking, incognito, there’s a lot of nonsense being talked here, but I like your take on it 🙂

  12. neil 13

    Damn lucky we are not under sharia law here otherwise the woman would’ve been stoned to death for exposing her breasts

    • indiana 13.1

      That’s a lie! They would never have been stoned to death because they would never have been allowed to go to the festival in the first place!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.2

      True, but then we have to listen to morons drivelling on about Sharia law.

      • stunned mullet 13.2.1

        To be fair – in those countries with Sharia law you have to listen to morons drivelling on about Sharia law as well as suffering under it.

  13. Bill 14

    These are just loose thoughts and reflections.

    Some years back I came across an old book written by a Presbyterian minister on what the hell to do with repressed men feeling endlessly titillated at the sight of naked women and the deviant behaviours that they developed, displayed and indulged in.

    Anyway. I was quite surprised, given the reputation of Presbyterianism for being staid, that the solution he proposed was to ship men to South Sea Islands where women were habitually semi-naked with the idea being that they’d “get over themselves”.

    Hugely problematic on a number of levels I know, but there might be something to it.

    It’s really not so very long ago that western society required women to “cover up” more or less completely and disguise their bodies in bustles and what ever. Is it fair to say that all encouraged a certain fetishisation of women and their bodies? And are we really any further forward today in the way society lumps nakedness, desire and sexuality together?

    Should we throw in 1985 as the year in NZ when women’s right to their own body was finally recognised in law? Should we look further to how that ownership hasn’t translated over into popular culture as expressed by advertising, where women are routinely shown as a mere commodity, or an extension to a consumable, where the clear and repeated message is one of them seeking to “give it away” (where “it” is an already reduced and diminished idea of sexuality as merely physical and so absent of personhood)?

    Maybe we should adopt the basic idea of the Presbyterian minister from all those years ago afterall, and have mandated, regular “days of nakedness” where all the variety of the fat, short, skinny, tall, knackered and youthful can, by law, only carry an umbrella outdoors in order to provide shade from the sun. This old codger most certainly won’t be in the vanguard of those venturing out btw. Just sayin’ 🙂

    Maybe by the umpteenth one when society is such that no-one gives a flying fcuk about flesh and its particulars or peculiarities, then sure.

    • Antoine 14.1

      Not disagreeing with you, but noting; I have lived in places that are much more casual about, and accepting of, the naked or near naked body, and some of them are also much more sexist and violent than NZ.

      A.

      • Bill 14.1.1

        Oh, I imagine that some of the South Sea Islands the good minister was thinking of all those years back have huge issues with violence and sexism.

        But would we be talking the same degree of sexism and violence before colonisation as after? I’d be having my doubts on that front.

      • Psycho Milt 14.1.2

        I have lived in places that are much more casual about, and accepting of, the naked or near naked body, and some of them are also much more sexist and violent than NZ.

        It’s not a cause-and-effect relationship. When I lived in Germany it was common to see topless women sunbathing in parks or on the river bank, and nude people on beaches. They have as much of a problem with rapists as NZ does, but much less of a problem with shaming or assaulting women who aren’t fully clothed. So, cultural acceptance of nudity may not end rape culture, but would certainly be an improvement over what we have now.

    • Pete 14.2

      We’ve had Carless Days, you reckon we try Clothless Days?

    • Rosemary McDonald 14.3

      “….by law, only carry an umbrella ”

      Well, fcuk me…this is an actual thing….

      http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-the-italian-actress-cristina-fanton-does-the-strip-tease-89065496.html

      All well and good your presbyterian minister suggesting easily titlilated males be sent to the South Seas for desensitisation therapy, but he appears to have ignored context.

      I am not sure how many generations it would take for western cultures to stop seeing certain body parts as being almost exclusively sexual.

      Mr.Gropey got what he deserved…no doubt about it… and hopefully this incident will make us all stop and think yet again about boundaries and consent.

      But…the young woman claiming to be trying to normalize nudity…as if she is making some kind of political statement… loses ground when she deliberately highlights only that particular part of her anatomy with said glitter.

      Either go completely naked, or glitter everything.

      • Antoine 14.3.1

        > Either go completely naked, or glitter everything.

        She glitters what she wants, doesn’t glitter what she doesn’t want, and that is quite fine with me.

        A.

      • Bill 14.3.2

        The whole things fucked up across a number of fronts (beyond just the bullshit behaviour of some men) and impacted upon by a clatter of different factors.

        We’re all neurotic fuck ups stumbling and tripping around the reality of our bodies by way of harm to others and ourselves at a number of levels and on a number of fronts.

        I can’t see how merely saying “don’t do that” (with reference to one set of behaviours) will get us very far to be honest. I mean sure, some guy might not act out his desire to grab a strangers breast if it’s a proscribed behaviour that attracts (say) legal consequences. But the fact and the problem is that he still wants to.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 14.3.2.1

          Shades of Jimmy Carter and the adultery of the heart.

          • Bill 14.3.2.1.1

            No idea what that’s a reference to.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 14.3.2.1.1.1

              Carter told two Playboy writers (should that be “assistant pornographers”?) that

              I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times. This is something that God recognizes I will do–and I have done it–and God forgives me for it.

              It’s widely regarded as one of the worst political gaffes of all time.

              Edit: mind you, Carter also gave the Law Day Speech, so he might deserve some slack.

              • boggis the cat

                It’s widely regarded as one of the worst political gaffes of all time.

                That’s an interesting commentary on the supposed ‘Christian culture’ in the USA. Carter was referencing one of Jesus’ points about sin being what you think rather than what you do — something not recognised by the majority of self-declared Christians in the USA (because why would you know anything about the faith that you profess, when that isn’t the point).

                Bill is making the point that behaviour may be restrained by recognition that it is to be avoided, or fear of possible penalties or other negative consequences. That is a good point to make, and attaching it to a “political gaffe” says more about the cultural context than inherent problems with the observation.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  behaviour may be restrained by recognition that it is to be avoided

                  This isn’t about ‘behaviour’, it’s about what’s ‘in the heart’. Presumably the purest state would be not to have these impulses (connected to privilege and entitlement, not sexuality) at all.

                  • boggis the cat

                    Behavioural adjustment is possible in many areas that then leads to the underlying impulse declining or disappearing. Sexual interest is unlikely to be susceptible to behavioural adjustment, but the problematic expressions of it (up to and inclusive of the gamut of ‘rape culture’ / entitlement behaviours) should be.

                    The Carter context illustrates only the mismatch between the asserted culture and the actual culture (bringing up Christian principles to a ‘Christian’ audience shouldn’t be a political liability). I don’t really see any reason to bring it up, as we aren’t considering the impulse of sexual interest to be problematic — it is the aberrant / undesirable expression, behavioural in nature.

        • greywarshark 14.3.2.2

          Good on him if he still wants to. Why not as long as he just looks briefly and feels good, touches her or him with his eyes, and then goes on his way. Let’s have a continuation of interest in the opposite sex, or the same sex, and have the feelings of attraction to others of our kind. Long may it continue, but thought about not practised just when and where the thought happened, and always with a similar thought in the other’s mind in a private place where they can concentrate on a good mingling of thoughts.

        • Psycho Milt 14.3.2.3

          But the fact and the problem is that he still wants to.

          Sexual desire is anything but a problem – or at least, it isn’t as long as the expression thereof involves consent.

          • Bill 14.3.2.3.1

            Absolutely nothing wrong with sexual desire.

            Sexual desire that incorporates notions of entitlement is a different kettle of fish though.

            And merely suppressing that sense of entitlement because “the law” is still problematic.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 14.3.2.3.1.1

              It strikes me that this is a problem inherent not just in terms of male behaviour* towards women but of privilege in general.

              The sense of entitlement, that is.

              Entitlement, ownership, possession: perhaps there are existing viable approaches to these problems that might prove useful.

              Which isn’t to say we all become Franciscans.

              *yeah yeah, #notallmen

              • Bill

                Yup. Privilege and power that’s condoned by tradition or culture enables abuses at the individual level. And though some specific expressions of abuse might be more or less gender specific, and their impact greater or lesser depending on the gender of the perpetrator and the target, it’s the structural nature of it that’s the problem.

            • Psycho Milt 14.3.2.3.1.2

              I’m not sure how to interpret “sexual desire” other than as wanting to touch someone else in a sexual way. Not getting at you, just finding it interesting to unpack this given the subject of the thread.

              You wrote “But the fact and the problem is that he still wants to [grab a strangers breast].”

              I see sexually desirable people every day, and a corollary of that is that I’d like to do things to them, but obviously I don’t because an essential prerequisite for that would be some indication of reciprocal interest on their part, which is absent from most human interactions. I can’t in all honesty see that as a problem, unless we’re to interpret being a human being as a problem.

              I guess the problem being referred to in your comment isn’t so much the desire to do stuff to other people, more the situation of only not acting on the desire because the law would make trouble for you if you did act on it. That’s definitely a problem, agreed. Is that the problem we’re discussing?

              • Bill

                Maybe an easier way through it is to figure by way of doing things with someone as opposed to doing things to.

                And no, that’s not a dig at your use of language above, but you can’t do something with someone unless they’re doing it too.

                • Oh, yes, that’s interesting. I write about “doing things to” people on the basis that both parties are doing things to each other, because I take that as read – but for the reader there are very good reasons not to assume that when a man writes about sex. Male privilege at work…

                  • boggis the cat

                    That is one of the issues — inclusiveness of sexual behaviours is not a prerequisite in our culture. Hardly surprising, given that men who attempt to have sexual intercourse whenever the opportunity arises are ‘hyper-masculine’ whereas women who do the same are ‘sluts’.

                    Younger generations are somewhat better in this regard, though still not equals across the gender boundary. (My impressions from male-female relationships, as my experience of other forms is very limited.)

  14. cleangreen 15

    He came to her “for a quick touch” – mmmmmmmmmmm!

    Christ what the f…………..

    The groper was just passed a ‘wet bus pass’ with that “throw-away line” by the mind less ‘madia’ again is what we see.

    (obviously happend at the Rythym & Vines four day concert in Gisborne)

    More importantly;

    Why are men like me, allowed to go around bare chested but no woman reaches out for, or comes to me and gropes my ‘man boobs’ (as mine are prominent too) – “for a quick touch” so can you respond to this question media????

    (Chuckle) to myself, – as not to minimise the issue, – but is again as mentioned has been shown by John Key as ‘acceptable’ entertainment or self gratification and should be conflonted in a civil manner as women have equal rights too.

    grow up men!!!!!

  15. greywarshark 16

    It is wise to know what the prevalent culture is and what is, and is not, usual or acceptable. That is one point, I certainly don’t expect to see naked men or women when I got to a public place. The young people in the post image both have
    beautiful bodies but I don’t want them to display them in public as if it was everyday
    experience, forced on the general public. It is actually mischievous, and annoying and making some sort of point that is irritating though not disgusting. There are places within the culture where this is acceptable, and where it is not.

    But also why is it okay for men to be bare chested but women have to cover their breasts. Breasts are regarded as beautiful and sexually attractive on women, and men build up their abs? to have a good manly shape. But they wouldn’t appreciate strange women feeling free to touch their nipples or stroking their muscles They would expect to retain their dignity and receive the respect for the person whatever they wore.

  16. Glenn 17

    Topless bathing was common in the 80s then society became more conservative for the 90s. One beach I can think of was full of boobs in the summer my wife’s amongst them and no one cared.

    Last year at a beach close to this one a young woman discarded her bikini top and was met with a torrent of abuse from another woman who then rushed off to find a cop. There was none around so she eventually complained at the police station to be told that being topless is not an offence. At least the police showed a bit of sanity.
    It was reported in the media.

    I think our media today has a “behind the bike shed” sort of mentality.

  17. Ed 18

    From Wikipedia

    ‘As Nambassa sought to demonstrate the practical ideals of alternative lifestyle, alcohol and meat could not be purchased at any Nambassa event. ’

    If New Zealand adopted these 2 changes, we would become a much more peaceful, thoughtful and caring society.

    Make a change in 2018.

    Stop the grog.
    Start a plant based diet.

    • Glenn 18.1

      Already doing that Ed
      After an episode of Atrial Fibrillation gave up alcohol and ate plant based food. In the process in 3 weeks have lost 9 kg and normally raised blood pressure has dropped way way down to the level that I have to see the doc to cut my medication.
      Also found a very good zero alcohol beer I could sip while my friends drank up large over the holiday..
      Warsteiner.

      Never going back on the grog again.

      • Ed 18.1.1

        Really interesting article by an ex Australian rugby player, explaining the benefits for him.

        ‘Peter FitzSimons: My year of living healthily by quitting alcohol and sugar.

        ‘I read a book, David Gillespie’s Sweet Poison. There’s a bit of mumbo-jumbo in there, but the premise is very simple: sugar is killing us all.
        The more processed a food or drink product is, the more sugar they whack into it, simply so they can sell more. And the problem is not just the calories those sugary food and drinks add, but how hungry it makes you for everything else, how, after the first Tim-Tam, you’re immediately hungry for a second and third, not to mention – after that delightful afternoon snack – a much bigger dinner.
        If you only take one thing from this rant, take this, from Gillespie. The average Australian and American consumes 40 teaspoons of sugar a day, adding up to 1.2 kilograms of sugar a week, which translates into 60 freaking kilos a year! This is all the more shocking when you realise the natural intake of our ancestors – the amount our body actually needs – was 1.3 teaspoons a day, about two kilograms a year.’

        ‘Without grog in you, you are much less often a bad-tempered prick, and I really mean that. I am not a moody bastard by nature, and was lucky that when I had too much grog in me, the primary effect was to make me more inclined to laugh, or lie down for a sleep. But, there really was another side to it, looking back. I never used to think grog could affect my temper, but, on sober reflection, I now get it – it did.
        For starters when I am sober, I am no longer inclined to tell my wife, wit’ shum detail, now you lishen to me … a few things she DESPERATELY needed to be told at the time!

    • So, you’ve nothing to say on the subject at hand but it’s a handy opportunity for you to spam us with your unwanted dietary advice yet again? Disappointed but not surprised, as usual.

  18. Sacha 19

    A comment from the woman who was assaulted that I have not seen in NZ media so far:
    http://diffuser.fm/rhythm-vines-festival-groping/

    The Daily Mail’s report notes that a portion of the online commentary in response to the incident has come from those who feel the women were essentially asking to be groped by walking around in short skirts with glitter and paint covering their bare breasts.

    It’s an argument Annello-Kitzmiller has forcefully refuted, noting that there have been plenty of times she’s been similarly assaulted while wearing average everyday outfits — and in any event, she doesn’t feel nudity should be a source of shame or an excuse for invading someone else’s personal space.

    “In the end, we are all born naked, and each human is uniquely similar to the next in that we all have a naked body. You don’t look at yourself in the shower and say ‘ew, disgusting,’ right?” pointed out Annello-Kitzmiller. “So why should anybody say that to anybody else? A human’s body is their own, and nobody has a right to touch you without your consent, regardless of what they’re wearing or the lack thereof.”

    • Bill 19.1

      You don’t look at yourself in the shower and say ‘ew, disgusting,’ right?” pointed out Annello-Kitzmiller.

      Sadly, Annello-Kitzmiller is wrong. Plenty of people suffer quite marked degrees of body dysphoria. It was kind of where I was pointing in part of comment 14.3.2…all part of the wonderful world of bad shit we construct somewhere between our psychological selves and physical selves and/or others.

  19. chris73 20

    Find him and charge him with sexual assault

  20. SPC 21

    Not quite a case for Times Up as it was not workplace harassment.

    Maybe someone should ask police “how they see such incidents”?, and “whether it would be a matter for prosecution”?

    It might also be appropriate for festivals to state people will be removed from the site if they do this.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 21.1

      it was not workplace harassment

      Without tracking down the section in the relevant legislation, I suspect the law requires that the safety of all visitors to a work site (eg: a festival) is the responsibility of the hosts.

      How that covers visitor assaults visitor I have no idea 🙂

  21. ropata 22

    Not too shocked that someone was groped at a music festival filled with drunk/stoned/horny young people. This widespread opprobrium and the freedom young women enjoy to run around naked is proof that rape culture is not a thing in NZ. I don’t think women realise how much guys absolutely love them and would die for them.

    This article reads to me like a massive trolling effort and clickbait news.

  22. Sacha 23

    Short clip at bottom of this story is the woman herself and her friend who was walking with her explaining what the incident and reaction has meant to them: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11969166

  23. timeforacupoftea 24

    Jesus Christ ! back in the 60’s I was groped at a music festival, mind you total naked mud sliding, I didn’t like being grouped, because I didn’t fight back I got beat up by my boyfriend.
    It appears lessons learn’t, things have changed now women fight back.
    I guess that is equality at work.

    Guillam-Scott said“ If I was lying down, passed out, naked, does that give someone the right to violate me? No.”

    If Guillam-Scott is saying she was violated. In my opinion violated is a over rated word for an American as I remember getting a parking ticket while in the US of A on the ticket it said “I had violated” it made made me frightfully scarred.

  24. adam 25

    Reading the comments has been on the whole bloody depressing. Trolls aside. To much standing next to the elephant in this debate.

    And what’s worse, a month ago people were offered the chance to explore this issue in a reflexive manner https://thestandard.org.nz/voltairine-de-cleyre/ and 11 people did. My comment in that post was one of the worst by the way.

    Here is the link from the post again. http://praxeology.net/VC-SS.htm

    Can I suggest we take some time to do some reading some socialist voices. And women voices, because men have been in charge all this time, and quite frankly – we have done a piss poor job.

    • Ed 25.1

      Just read the passage.
      Very interesting.

    • ropata 25.2

      Links to some libertarian BS and an incredibly negative view of marriage. Hardly “socialist” voices. If you break down marriage, you end up with a society where a few dominant men have dozens of wives, or a load of impoverished solo mother households.. Not exactly emancipation for women.

  25. AB 26

    Some basic rules for guys I have tried to pass on to teenage male offspring:
    1.) Keep your hands off women unless they give clear signs they want you to do otherwise
    1.1) Signs may be verbal or non-verbal.
    1.2) You get better at detecting the latter (non-verbal) with time. Be patient.
    1.3) If in doubt, ask
    1.4) Signs must be directed at you personally – if they are generalised and apply equally to everyone, then they are not signs at all. Examples of this are: ‘she had a ponytail, short skirt, painted boobs etc.’
    1.5) You are much more likely to be the recipient of such signs if you treat women as people first. If you are kind, funny and non-controlling towards them, this helps enormously
    2.) Too much booze completely stuffs your ability to comprehend everything under no.1 above. Don’t be a dickhead and only drink moderately.
    3.) Too much money and power does much the same as booze (see no.2). If you are ever in this situation think regularly about camels and needle’s eyes

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