- Date published:
5:48 pm, April 25th, 2015 - 407 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, blogs, broadcasting, corruption, discrimination, feminism, gender, john key, Left, news, patriarchy - Tags: informed consent, ponytailgate, rape
One of the most disturbing things about the ponytail pulling fiasco is the vehemence with which the young woman at the centre of this storm has been attacked, and her situation minimized. It smacks of a deep level of misogyny and misunderstanding in our culture that, despite issue after issue, never gets addressed at a fundamental level.
Our Prime Minister not only can’t see how is ‘horsing around’ was way off mark, creating a power dynamic/imbalance that was impossible for a young woman to deal with on her own, but he has allowed her complaint and the fallout of it to be minimized to protect his own reputation, while having absolutely no qualms at all about his attack dogs destroying hers. And he is not alone in this.
The gossip columnist (and, surprise, surprise, mate of the PM) who manipulated the young woman into an interview, did so in a way designed to out her, shame her and silence her. It’s totally disgusting.
Mike Hoskings absolutely vomitus response, feigning pity for the café owners, was yet another piece of sickening theatre, again finger pointing at the young woman rather than the issue or the perpetrator of this power play.
Then, to top it off, we have the Minister of Women’s Affairs (yes, the fucking Minister of Women’s Affairs, for god’s sake, people!) coming out in cover-up mode for the Prime Minister as well.
There are also the online comments, proof (as if we needed it) that there is a deep seething underbelly of misogyny out there – and that issues of appropriateness, sexual intimidation, abuse of power and minimization of women’s complaints are not only misunderstood but carry no weight at all to a significant proportion of our population.
Take the heartbreaking coroner’s inquest we’ve seen this week, into the murder of the two children down in Dunedin. That poor mother was not only ignored when she reported breaches of the protection order, but they IGNORED the fact that she had been subjected to a 5 HOUR RAPE! I watched the police officer responsible giving evidence – impassive, covering his butt, no apparent remorse for what had eventuated beyond a trite apology.
It would be less disturbing if this was a one off case, but we have just had the Roastbusters’ report pointing out equally appalling police conduct and lack of action, clearly none of those involved understanding the core dynamics and issues of rape, abuse and inappropriate behaviour. Their default response is still to blame the victims and to minimize the crime.
Meanwhile, the Man Who Must Remain Anonymous, through some ludicrous manipulation of the justice system, not only walks free and is, by all accounts in the NBR, still being offered six-figure positions of responsibility. His victims want him named. I’m sure that those in his community want him named. It’s very doubtful the rest of his family don’t want him named. But he is protected – and, as a result, very serious questions about the conduct and attitudes of our most senior politicians must go unasked. From the outside this smacks of political manipulation and corruption – and it infuriates me that, using the premise of protecting the victims (when they want nothing of this) this man, and those who have supported him long after knowing of his crimes, is still walking around free. If that’s not bloody minimization what the hell is?
A few weeks back one of our most influential and knowledgeable rape prevention spokes-people, Dr Kim McGregor, was ousted from her job at Rape Prevention Education in a blatantly political move, clearly designed to shut her up after speaking out over situations like the Roastbusters report. As a result we have now lost one of the few true champions of women’s sexual rights, and prevention and protection education– and one of the few people who was actively working to educate people, young and old, about these issues. It’s just so damn disturbing.
I think one of the really awful parts is how the PMs supporters quickly frame any criticism or discussion of this kind in a political context – this person is a leftie, therefore they have no right to be taken seriously…. But here’s the thing, and it’s a simple trick we can all use to teach our kids so they’re not as plain out fucking ignorant as it would seem are a vast number of our population right now…. in situations like this ask: what is this person’s key position? Are they wanting to support someone? To be of help? Or are they merely covering their own or someone else’s butt? Other good questions to ask include: who has the most to gain from this? Who is making all the money? Is this person acting out of care or self-interest? And, perhaps, most of all, as Martin Luther King Jnr said, ask ‘WHAT IS THE MOST LOVING THING TO DO?’
Everyone I know who is activated to speak out does so out of a deep concern for their fellow human beings – this to me is the difference between those of us who keep harping on about human rights, compassion, sharing and generosity and those, like our current PM and his buddies, who look to the greatest profit for themselves.