Talking about sexual assault

Written By: - Date published: 6:49 am, March 13th, 2018 - 235 comments
Categories: labour - Tags: , ,

Newsroom is reporting on the sexual assault of four teens at a Labour Party Summer School last month. Please read the article if you want to comment on that.

It’s likely that there are issues with how Labour have handled this, at the time and since. I hope they will review both how their summer camps are run, and how they deal with sexual assault within the organisation. They need to prioritise the wellbeing of the people that were assaulted. It looks like they also need to review their internal processes (the Prime Minister didn’t know about the assaults until a few days ago).

It’s also likely that we don’t as yet have a good understanding of what happened, both with the assaults and with Labour’s handling of the situation. So instead of reacting and rushing to judge, how about we take this time to look at sexual assault gets talked about.

What interests me right now is what Labour do next. There will be intense pressure from both the MSM and from the right (I expect the Dirty Politics crews to be in full swing). There will also be scrutiny from the progressive left including from feminists and others involved in addressing rape culture. I’m sure the anti-solidarity politics part of the left will have their reckons too, and Labour have their own internal culture that will range from clueless to progressive. There will be tensions between all those groups. I really hope that Labour gets this right, both acknowledging where they have messed up, and making clear, unequivocal, on to it  statements about what will be happening next.

New Zealand is still very bad at addressing sexual assault or knowing how to talk about it, although some spaces are better than others. Yesterday a flame war started up on The Standard in discussing the sexual assaults. I came in late and saw a bunch of left and right wing men having a fight about it. Not surprised but still disappointed. So I want us to talk about how to talk about sexual assault, and I want to give a general heads up for moderation going forward.

What is not ok is to make discussions about sexual assault hostile. Women in particular want safer spaces to discuss rape culture and the politics around sexual assault, and when discussions are made hostile many women will simply not take part. Which then leaves the kōrero with men, including men who are either uneducated about sexual assault and the politics around that, or who have an agenda that doesn’t include preventing rape or making spaces safer.

My position last night was that men generally need to sit down and shut up and start listening to what women have to say. This is coming after a week of watching the backlash against Alison Mau and Paula Penfold since they started the #metoonz investigation at Stuff. That backlash has been driven mostly by older white men within journalism, but the discussion around it on twitter was also full of progressive, well meaning men, many of whom were saying good things.

The main problem with telling men to sit down and shut up is that it’s the progressive and compassionate men that will do so, and they are the ones who are usually more informed and more willing to push back against rape culture. So let me rephrase this. I wrote a post recently about #mettonz and why gender equity matters, and it applies here. If we want to solve the problems that lead to rape and rape culture, then we need to amplify the voices of the people that understand what is going on and how to address it. Women have been at the forefront of pushing back against rape culture for decades. There are many women who have important things to say, and if the space is yet again taken up by men, those voices get lost.

My request then is this. If you want to understand what is going on, then ask. If you have a good handle on what is going on, then please share from a place of informed opinion, but also please amplify the voices of women, and pay particular attention to making the space attractive for women to take part.

Apparently because it needs saying, it’s not ok to use the sexual assault of people to score political points. Yes, Labour have made some mistakes here, and they need to be held to account. But if you are a right wing man who has been hating on Labour for some time, and even more so since the election, consider it might not be your place to make accusations against Labour now.

And make no mistake, feminists know full well that the left is not free of rape culture or sexual assault. So the point here isn’t to bash Labour, it’s to point out that rape culture transcends the conventional left/right divide and all men need to take note of that. Left wing men need to get better at addressing this within their own cultures, and right wing men need to resist the temptation to have a go.

There are already more aspects to this story that are unfolding. I chose to not go into the story itself very much, partly because I just didn’t know enough yet, but also because it seems more important to talk about how we talk about sexual assault first. I’m asking here that as a community the commentariat makes an effort to up our game.

Moderator note: the usual boundaries – no rape apology, don’t politicise rape. The priority of this thread is to provide a good space for women and survivors of sexual assault to discuss politics. Others are welcome to post considered comments. 

235 comments on “Talking about sexual assault”

  1. I’d suggest that commenters stick to the topics raised by the author and that appear as part of the discussion.

    Because I think this is a great opportunity for me to exercise my troll suppressing skills as I ban and flick to OpenMike. So to the trolls, it is your choice – discuss the topic or lose the ability to comment. As we know – you are all about choice – right?

    Moved this comment up to the top, so readers have the transparency to choose.

    BTW: I have already exercised my moderator choice a couple of times here. I choose to have a rational discussion on this topic and that I don’t like dimwitted trolls.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    Funny how Tim Murphy has suddenly become a fearless champion of holding the government to account now National isn’t in power. He is busy on RNZ right now spraying all over Labour and Susie Ferguson is using the term “cover up”.

    Anyone who has been to one of these Labour party camps would know this sort of train wreck was always possible. A lot of irresponsible drinking by young people goes on.

    Apart from anything else, this camp “scandal” business highlights some really, really bad political management from Labour. What on earth was Andrew Kirton thinking when he chose not to inform the PM? Any half-wit should have been able to work out it isn’t a good look for the PM to hear about such things through the news media. And apparently a cabinet minister was told, and that minister didn’t think it important enough to tell the PM either.

    Prediction: Andrew Kirton will be sacked/resign over this. A sacrifice will have to be made.

    On the same day you have Jenny Salesa’s office giving a different line to the media on her travel expenses to the PM’s comments at Jacinda’s post cabinet news conference. I guess she’ll be pleased Andrew Kirton has been even sloppier than her, and the heat is now off.

    Both these stories are grist for the mill for our lazy, underfunded, gotcha! MSM.

    The only blessing is neither Clare Curran or Poto Williams said something idiotic on the same day.

    Labour needs to tighten the messaging discipline big time.

    • Michelle 2.1

      I agree with Sanctuary and its funny how our media are holding the labour party minister to account re- their spending after 9 years of wasting our taxes by the gnats and them not being held to the same level of accountability.

      • tracey 2.1.1

        It is not like this is a surpris3 is it? Labour NZF and Greens must have some knowledge of prior behaviour vis a vis a Labour led govt.

        Hollow Men and Dirty Politics showw us the media and financial reach of Nats ans ACT so nothinf stays under the rug.

        Kirton could have announced the advice he received, asked the media to honour the privacy of the victims and the media would have looked like arseholes doorstepping any victim.

        Nonetheless the point remains how men think they are allowed to behave toward the bodies of others.e toward women and

    • the pigman 2.2

      Sanctuary I think you’re forgetting that it was Newsroom that properly investigated both Todd Barclay and Jian Yang in lieu of the NZ Police and NZ security apparatus. The effect of those stories was only to preach to the converted, because other news agencies failed to pick them up properly and ask the hard questions.

      Tim Murphy got off to a very bad start with the new government the day it was formed and Winston named him in his civil proceedings re: privacy breach. That was an own goal and the vendetta, if Murphy’s twitter feed is anything to go by, will be long and enduring.

  3. Ovid 3

    My position last night was that men generally need to sit down and shut up and start listening to what women have to say.

    Does that position change in this instance now that we’ve learned that two of the victims were male? I don’t want to diminish the experience of women and girls, but male on male and female on male abuse and assaults should be part of the discussion too.

    • weka 3.1

      It doesn’t.

      The point is that women have been addressing rape culture for decades, and men have largely been the ones making that harder. Irrespective of the genders of the people being assaulted. There is certainly an important conversation to be had about the impact of sexual assault on boys and men. I just don’t see the men generally in this commentariat having been capable of that either. That’s the problem I am pointing to today. Left to its own devices, this community is hostile to anyone wanting to talk meaningfully about sexual violence and it is actively exclusive (which to my reading is against the Policy).

      There are some men here who are good on this stuff, and I encourage them to speak up, and if you see some good commentary by men from offsite, then please feel free to quote and link. I’m hoping that you also amplify the voices of women who know what they are talking about, and generally make this a good space for women. When this is a good space for women, it will be more likely to become a good space for other genders as well.

      Discussions about violence towards all genders is welcome, so long as it doesn’t go down a ‘what about the men’ track. That’s a political position which I can clarify if anyone doesn’t understand.

      Thanks for asking Ovid.

      • weka 3.1.1

        and just to be clear, I did qualify that sit down and shut up statement with an explanation in the post, which was aimed at opening the conversation up so long as it is done in a way that makes this a better place to have the conversations in the first place.

  4. Ffloyd 4

    How fortunate for these young people who were involved in this incident ate now front page news! This is probably one reason why they did not want it to get into public domain. The beat up by the media who obviously do not yet have all the facts is more likely than not to have emotionally detrimental repercussions than anything else. Susie this morning like a rat up a downpipe trying to get Murphy to spill facts that he knew. Ok listening to Campbell noe getting graphic about the alleged actions in the incident. These kids need protection from the media.

    • infused 4.1

      It should have been reported to the police straight away. No two ways about it.

      • Carolyn_Nth 4.1.1

        This is where the discussion started to go off the rails last night on TS.

        The police don’t have such a great record of dealing with sexual harassment or rape cases. It should be totally up to the survivors as to whether the police are notified.

        • Matthew Whitehead 4.1.1.1

          Absolutely. The police process is a harrowing one here, justice- or even support, is no guarantee.

          I’d go further and say it’s a little distressing that this story was published early before even putting the individuals involved on notice and giving them a chance to tell their families etc… (because it seems the reason for the secrecy is “that’s what they had requested,” which is a vastly different situation than some sort of conspiracy) I can understand why they felt like they had to go ahead regardless of the wishes of the survivors given how the story reflects on the Labour Party’s duty of care to young people getting involved with it politically, but they still could have had the courtesy to contact them in advance of running of story.

      • tracey 4.1.2

        Re read weka’s post infused. Where you had trouble understanding it ask us for clarification. Your first thought was the police? Are you aware of tge problems with conviction rates for complaints of sexual assault and rape in NZ? Perhaps you coukd do some reading on that first?

        • chuk 4.1.2.1

          Much better idea to just cover it up and hope it will go away I guess.

          [neither post nor tracey are advocating covering anything up. 2 month ban for trolling and ignoring the post – weka]

          • tracey 4.1.2.1.1

            Ah. For you it is about politics not sexual assault issues. Nuff said.

            If you read you will see Ithink Kirton should have published the advice he received and tgat it happenrd so you miss. Many times.

            Good try at diversion.

      • mpledger 4.1.3

        IMO

        If the people who were assaulted were over 18 then it was up to them to decide, not the Labour Party, whether to report it to police. The LP should have been supportive of what ever choice they made.

        If the people were under 18 then the LP should have brought to the attention of the teens’ parents (unless the young person was strongly opposed) and it should have been a joint decision between the parents and the young person about whether to go to the police.

        • Tuppence Shrewsbury 4.1.3.1

          This is a very tough issue that blurs the line between age of consent and guardianship and surrogate responsibility. I guess the parallel you could draw was what would a teacher or headmaster have to do if this had happened on a school camp where students had been entrusted to care.

          It’s a grey area though as it’s not school, it’s extra curricular and I don’t know if there was guardianship of the minors at this camp. I think Andrew Kirton has not handled it well, but no matter he did there would be criticism of his approach.

      • Johnr 4.1.4

        @ infused, 4.1
        I disagree, unless the victims are fully informed, before, of the likely consequences. The police leak like a sieve information wise. A front page add springs to mind.

        I’ve got a situation now because of that.
        A lady friend in another town hears domestic violence occurring near her. I suggested she reports it. She said that the police are so thick they’re likely to drive up in a squad car knock on her door have a talk then stroll over the road to the offender. I then suggested she rings me, and I from another town report it, which she agreed to. So I rang the police station in her town to say what I could do.

        Result. No won’t deal through a third party

        What do you do?

        • tracey 4.1.4.1

          It also presupposes that being in the justice system as a sexual assault victim is a smooth path. It isnt and our media make that clear by how and what they report.

      • lprent 4.1.5

        …reported to the police straight away. No two ways about it.

        *sigh* There are more than two ways (or one waY)about it. In case you hadn’t ever noticed there are a pile of legal restrictions that get removed or apply at age 16. You can marry with parental consent. You can join the army in specified types of roles. You may indulge in sex and sexual behaviour legally.

        One of them is that adults may not lay a complaint on behalf of a young adult with the police without their consent. They have to lay the complaint themselves.

        So if you were the interfering old dimwit that you appear to be, exactly what complaint were you going to lay without the 16yo’s permission? That it wasn’t done that way when you were 16? Because it was – you ignorant ageist dumbarse.

        • JohnSelway 4.1.5.1

          Yeah but you don’t need to complain on behalf of the victims – you should tell the police because maybe the person involved has a history of this and it might be helpful for the future.

          “Person X was accused by 4 people at our gathering of performing sexual assault. We’ll leave it to the victims to come forward themselves but we thought you should know that Person X behaved in this fashion”

          Seems fairly straightforward to me

          • Draco T Bastard 4.1.5.1.1

            That would be guilt by accusation.

            Something that we’ve spent centuries getting rid of.

          • lprent 4.1.5.1.2

            As I understand it, you weren’t there? So instead you prefer to report a factless rumour that the police aren’t actually allowed to pursue because they don’t have a complainant?

            Sure it might be useful as background intelligence from someone who was there – but that is about the limit of what the police could do about any such report. That is the kind of the bottom of the cliff response favoured by idiots more interested in being ineffectual gossips than being useful. Of more use would probably be encourage the (drunken?) fool to seek some real help to prevent future incidents.

            Apart from the issues about the police investigating actual complaints (eg roastbusters), I seem to remember that there are actual laws about malicious reports to the police and wasting their tieme.

            It is kind of pathetic looking at just how stupid even adults like you are about the limits to what the police are allowed to do.

          • The Fairy Godmother 4.1.5.1.3

            Ridiculous idea. I have a friend who told a group of us many years ago how at 16 she was raped by her minister. She never complained to the police and dealt with it in her own way. He remained a church minister. I felt really worried that he was probably continuing with this behaviour but I certainly was in no position to complain about it on her behalf. The problem is that complaining makes it worse for victims as has happened to the victims in this case.

        • Keepcalmcarryon 4.1.5.2

          Lprent that simple fact ( 16 yr olds having to give consent to complain) should be present in media headlines but strangely isn’t. A fair amount of outrage probably stems from the whole minor, not notifying parents perception.
          A couple of other points I’d like to make: let’s see the perpetrator identified and vilified instead of giving more information about the victims, who is the creep?
          I’ve said on another thread I have seen the harassment/assault complaint system at work and it was a miserable failure on behalf of the female alleged victim, too scared and stressed at being vilified to push charges and go through the grinder. The system seems to protect everyone except the victim.

          • Anne 4.1.5.2.1

            … I have seen the harassment/assault complaint system at work and it was a miserable failure on behalf of the female alleged victim, too scared and stressed at being vilified to push charges and go through the grinder. The system seems to protect everyone except the victim.

            So very true. It happened to me and to plenty of others. And it doesn’t just apply to the police. In my case it included my public sector employers and a few other individuals of influence. The victim is seen as an inconvenient nuisance.

        • infused 4.1.5.3

          lprent, even you must admit the parents should have been told.

          It was my parents who convinced me to lay charges against police who set a dog on me when I was 16-17. The person in question was found to have not acted accordingly and was dismissed from the police force. You can look it up. It was a Porirua dog handler.

          I didn’t want to press this at the time, but looking back, I’m glad I did, as it was found he’d done this to many others.

          • lprent 4.1.5.3.1

            No I don’t. Unfortunately for you, you can’t just invent laws for the convenience of your sense of what ‘right and ‘proper’. That is the legislators job. And the job of legislators and judges to fix in the future as part of the continuing churn of society moving.

            Personally I would advise anyone under the age of about 25 and above 15 to talk to a trusted adult for most confusing social, legal or economic situations. Frequently, as I can attest as an ‘uncle’ of excessively bright kids, they really have no interest in talking to parents as adolescents.

            But in the end young adults can’t be protected from society forever. Indeed as they age, they often need to be protected from over protective parents.

            But at some point the choices become theirs. In our legal system that starts at 15 and increases as they age.

      • Cinny 4.1.6

        Infused, sexual abuse support organisations have agreed that Labour did the right thing by not telling parents/police.

        ” the head of the sexual abuse survivor support organisation Help said Labour followed the correct process in dealing with alleged sexual assault at its summer camp. It was up to the victims to tell police or parents.”

        “Sexual Abuse Prevention Network general manager Fiona McNamara said she had not provided advice to Labour, but like Help agreed with the decision not to inform police or parents on behalf of the four victims.”

        https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/102216913/sexual-abuse-support-organisation-says-labour-right-not-to-tell-parents

  5. Sanctuary 5

    “…These kids need protection from the media…”

    Godd luck with that sentiment, more likely they’ll be trampled in the stampede to get ever more salacious click bait.

    • Michelle 5.1

      Are they kids @ 16yrs of age I don’t think they would like to be called kids. I was working fulltime @ 16yrs I wouldn’t say I was kid more a young adolescent. But our media are so desperate to get dirt on the Labour party they kept calling them kids so it makes the storyline more juicy.
      RNZ pissed me of spending so much of our news time on this incidence it seems like a witch hunt. I turned over to 3 and I cant stand this channel either. So can we have some balance please the biggest stories are exploiting Chinese building labour which I said would happen last year and its worst than we think and the recent police pursuit with 3 dying unnecessary. Now here is a story who signed of all this cheap labour it wasn’t labour

      • patricia bremner 5.1.1

        This is what Dirty Politics does. Find a distraction. “Look over here”
        It appears to be working.

        • tracey 5.1.1.1

          Yup.

        • Michelle 5.1.1.2

          I see they ( the gnats) have it in for Megan woods cause she is showing up all their shortcomings yes I can see now whats up I smell a big fat gnat rat. seems they haven’t learnt from the Winstone debacle. Your right Patricia its dirty politics that Is why the rats are so quiet they are content it just had big fat feed dirty rats.

        • Jonty 5.1.1.3

          What on earth are you talking about Patricia?
          Labour’s own people must have given this story to Murphy.
          All the sights were on law firms and Labour have performed their own dirty politics if you call this a “distraction”.

        • Tuppence Shrewsbury 5.1.1.4

          This only merits being called a distraction?

      • tracey 5.1.2

        The sexual assault of 4 people is a story but it is a deeper story than our media and, seemingly, many of us, want explored.for me that is a far more society impacting story than police chases.

        Sexual assault affects many victims for LIFE.

  6. Anon 6

    Short of the those who are genuinely out to terrorise and control others for their own pleasure, the problem is immature selfishness and a complete disregard for others. This attitude can be amplified by alcohol, crosses the gender divide, and reaches into all corners of society – not just rape culture. Our society is sick with selfishness and entitlement, rape culture’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    I don’t have any answers to how we talk about it, but ignoring the wider issue and telling men to keep out isn’t helping – we just end up with women disregarding men which isn’t healthy either. Sadly anyone you refuse to talk to is going to walk away thinking they’re right, they have a different worldview and to them by disregarding them you prove their point – however vague, angry, and petty that point might be.

    • Molly 6.1

      “telling men to keep out isn’t helping”
      You read that wrong.

      Its pretty clear: “If you want to understand what is going on, then ask. If you have a good handle on what is going on, then please share from a place of informed opinion, but also please amplify the voices of women, and pay particular attention to making the space attractive for women to take part.”

      Weka is asking men contributors to listen first, and see whether their input is 1. required at all, 2. knowledgeable about rape culture and 3. helpful.

      If not, then they don’t have to enter the discussion, although they can ask thoughtful questions. It leaves the space open for progressive voices.

      For example, if this post was about another subject – V8 cars. The discussion would go along much better if those posting had comprehensive knowledge of the subject. The flow would be interrupted by those saying “Engines go vroom, vroom”, and “What is the difference between V6 and V8? I want to know”.

      Trite example and sans the emotional impact of the current discussion. The constant interruptions make the space unwelcome.

      • Tracey 6.1.1

        ” The flow would be interrupted by those saying “Engines go vroom, vroom”, and “What is the difference between V6 and V8? I want to know”. ”
        Great analogy Molly.

        We see it here in discussions around science

    • Tracey 6.2

      Did you actually understand weka’s post. She specifically addressed the very thing you open up on, in your second paragraph. Women have actually been listening to men’s views on sexual assault and rape for thousands of years, leaving it to them to sort out, and guess what? Children and women are being sexually assaulted and raped in appalling numbers today.

      So, time to do something different Anon. Asking men to sit and listen isnt, on the face of it, such a big ask.

      Women have actually proven to be pretty good at supporting male victims, compared to the support those victims get from men.

    • Michelle 6.3

      This country was founded on alcohol drunk debauchery men

      • tracey 6.3.1

        Michelle

        What do you actually mean by that???

        • Michelle 6.3.1.1

          Many of our ancestors were raped by men that now have scholarship in their name they were held up as being exemplary yet they did some very dirty deeds.
          What has this got to do with what happened its an ingrained part of our NZ culture as is alcohol use and abuse add sports stars who get away with their unacceptable behaviors.

          • tracey 6.3.1.1.1

            Hmm. All but 2 of the people I know who were sexually assaulted or raped before they were 16, the perpetrators were stone cold sober.

            Why dont drunken women rape and assault in similar numbers? Why dont all men rape and asault when drunk?

    • Matthew Whitehead 6.4

      There was no “men, get out” statement. There was notice as to how you were to behave and that you were supposed to listen to the voices of women. As the person writing that was a woman, you appear to have failed the second part pretty spectacularly. 😉

    • tracey 6.5

      Are you a man Anon? If yes, you may not have the answers but have you any questions and have you read up on some who have some answers?

  7. Ffloyd 7

    How fortunate for these young people who were involved in this incident are now front page news! This is probably one reason why they did not want it to get into public domain. The beat up by the media who obviously do not yet have all the facts is more likely than not to have emotionally detrimental repercussions than anything else. Susie this morning like a rat up a downpipe trying to get Murphy to spill facts that he knew. Ok listening to Campbell now getting graphic about the alleged actions in the incident. These kids need protection from the media. Still hearing the hands down the pants thing. How do you think these young ones feel every time they hear this on radio/tv? They are still being groped again and again by the media. This is not acceptable.

    • soddenleaf 7.1

      I believe that sexual incidents are more likely to occur, and come to the attention of the public, when women are present and more progressive politics are represented. Trying not to politicize, but Key did call progressive party’s defenders of rapists in parliament, pulled hair, etc. The people I support don’t use rape to push their politics, or are unaccountable to the rank and file. Just saying. As for boys acting out perceived role models, maybe we need better role models, you know like the Nationals standing up and exposing their own dirt, and distancing themselves from Keys legacy

      • red-blooded 7.1.1

        So what do you want women to do, soddenleaf? Stay at home and leave the politics to men?

        • soddenleaf 7.1.1.2

          Shrill nonsense, we obviously all come out different, so it’s nonsense to believe there is a fix to natural impulses. Tolerance, compassion, start there.

          Seperate sexual ‘crimes’ from violence ones. Attack religion that uses prudishness to push its agenda? Turnoff media that uses private sexual conduct to sell and entertain.

          But never stay home.

  8. JustPassingThrough 8

    This isn’t an example of rape culture. It’s an example of what happens when you have a bunch of young people and far too much alcohol.

    • Carolyn_Nth 8.1

      It’s about alcohol, too.

      But saying it isn’t about rape culture is denying the obvious. It’s amazing how some people would rather talk about anything else but rape culture.

      Alcohol is part of the enabling context, but there are other enabling factors, too. For instance, what were the other attendees doing when the assault happened? If no one could see it was happening, why didn’t the survivors go directly to the organisers, or enlist support of other participants in the camp? Was it actually not a very supportive environment?

      If the survivors did go and tell someone immediately, why was it handled so badly?

      • patricia bremner 8.1.1

        Tracey, I would surmise there was no clear kaupapa for the people in charge to follow.
        One good thing could come out of this, and I’m sure Jacinda will ask some of the following questions, as they apply to all venues where people gather, especially to socialise.

        What would your workplace,society, church,meeting, marae or camp do if this happened to someone while a group was there? Some considerations.

        Who would be the Lead person? What outside agency could assist? Who would they report to? How can organisers keep people safe at functions? What are the legal requirements? What behaviour rules were published beforehand? How will organisers prevent dangers? Has a haszards list been made up? (for that venue.) What will help the injured party most? What should happen to the said perpetrator?

        Perhaps groups will consider some of these and other ideas as an outcome of this incident, and be better prepared.
        Remember, at 16 years of age the party may state “no police” hard as that seems. They can also say “no parents” Privacy Law.

    • Tracey 8.2

      JustPassingThrough

      When women drink, do men get raped or sexually assaulted?

      • JustPassingThrough 8.2.1

        Well they get groped which is what we’re talking about. In any case being intoxicated is no excuse for sticking your hand down someone else’s pants. I just don’t see it as rape culture unless either the 20 year old perpetrator wasn’t drunk or would have still done what he did even if he was sober, and that he believed he had the right to do it.

        • tracey 8.2.1.1

          “groped” is sexual assault.

          How do you react when a woman sexually assaults you? How does she respond when you tell her you are not interested? Do you feel unsafe in these situations?

          • Anon 8.2.1.1.1

            A) Shocked that they don’t understand consent, usually followed by an attempt to return the favor to highlight the issue. B) Usually it isn’t an attempt at sexual advance, but a form of harassment/assault. Still, sexual assault isn’t the same thing as sexual advance, so interest is irrelevant. C) I definitely would if I were alone, generally however it happens in bars. I don’t go to bars anymore, so there’s that.

      • Infused 8.2.2

        Yes. What a stupid question

        • tracey 8.2.2.1

          The stupidity and banality is all yours Infused. Can you post your evidence relating to the numbers of women who sexually assault or rape men when those women are drunk? TIA

          Try to engage sensibly or trot off to Open Mike

          • infused 8.2.2.1.1

            it is currently treated the same way mental health issues were 10 years ago. Men feeling ashamed to come forward.

            You’re not going to get any concrete stats on it.

            • Lara 8.2.2.1.1.1

              FFS what bollocks.

              I see this as just another attempt at what about the menz. Another women do it too argument.

              Women are afraid to come forward when they’re sexually assaulted. Everyone, women, children, men and trans gender people are all afraid to come forward when they’re sexually assaulted.

              Entering a discussion of sexual assault, where the perpetrator was yet again a male, with “but women do it too” is an excellent example of the OP.

              This is one of the most problematic aspects IMO of how we discuss sexual assault.

              I’ve carefully considered this problem, because it’s impossible to get accurate stats on male on female or female on male violence. Particularly sexual violence. And so my conclusion has been we should just count the dead bodies. Dead bodies are pretty hard to hide, they tend to get found eventually. And police usually make a reasonable attempt to find out who was responsible.

              And the number of women in NZ found dead at the hands of intimate partners far far outweighs the number of men killed by women.

              Male violence is a bloody problem in NZ. Male violence towards all genders and adults as well as children.

              Trying to frame this large problem as “but women do it too” is not okay. and one reason why discussions about sexual violence are so often derailed and victims of it are pushed out of the discussion.

              • weka

                Yes, and it was hard to tell if that’s where Infused was going. I found their approach here problematic and they copped a ban for it (mostly because they appeared to decide that the point of the post was irrelevant and t thought it appropriate to attack a woman author/commenter). I do think that we need to be able to talk about violence against men. I agree with you that ‘what about the menz’ strategies just cause problems (esp where those are actually MRA lines). But that’s not the only way to approach this. What happened yesterday told me a lot about what men generally are willing to do and not do in this particular space, esp where women’s needs are brought to the fore. I hope that men will continue to see that there is space here to talk about violence against men, and there are boundaries on how that can be done.

                • Lara

                  I think you may be putting the issues of male violence and violence against men together?

                  What I’m trying to get at is I’d like to see them separated.

                  Most violence in NZ, particularly domestic and sexual violence, is perpetrated by men. But trying to point that out usually gets a strong backlash by men.

                  Most violence against men… is perpetrated by men.

                  And for any man about to comment with a typical backlash, just so you know, I am aware that most is not the same as all. I choose my words carefully.

                  And I completely agree Weka, there is also space to discuss violence against men. As long as those spaces are not taken up with “but women are violent too”.

                  Because IMO if we can’t discuss the problem of male violence, we’ll not be looking for solutions.

  9. Carolyn_Nth 9

    From what I’ve seen so far, Kirton and the Labour youth camp organisers seem to have managed this poorly.

    I don’t know why they didn’t inform the PM straight away – especially given how much #metoo has been front and centre lately – if not focused directly on NZ at the time, then internationally.

    I think it’s indicative of how poorly NZ organisations, including political organisations deal with sexual assault, harassment and rape.

    This is about power, but it is experienced at a very personal, intimate, physical level.

    At this stage, the survivors should be the main focus of all concerned.

    Then there needs to be change in how Labour youth camps are organised.

    I have no idea how prevalent sexual assault abuse, harassment and rape are within other political parties. However, I would think now is a good time for all to reflect on how they deal with this and, as weka says, how they talk about it.

    Because the evidence so far is that NZ generally has things to learn here.

  10. dv 10

    From Stuff interview with Kirton
    The focus seemed to be on protection for the victims.

    Andrew Kirton, the Labour Party’s general secretary, said he stood by the way the party had handled the situation, which he said was done with a “victim-led” focus on the back of advice from a Wellington sexual violence charity.

    He said he wasn’t aware of any of the victims taking their complaint to the police, although both he and Labour Party president Nigel Haworth had offered their support to the victims if they chose to do so.

    “We didn’t want to assume the young people involved had told their parents. They’re 16 so that had an impact on that decision and that was the advice we got.”

    The Prime Minister was also kept out of the loop because

    Kirton said the advice he received was that it could cause more damage to the victims if they were “under the impression or feeling or knowledge that a widening circle of people were being told”.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/102201208/prime-minister-unaware-of-sexual-misconduct-allegations-at-labour-camp-last-month

    • Tracey 10.1

      Publish that advice Mr Kirton.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 10.1.1

        It looks like he only received it on the 5th of March?

        • tracey 10.1.1.1

          And yesterday was the 12th March. Anytime before the media broke the story the way they have would have been good.

    • Matthew Whitehead 10.2

      Yeah, 100% that advice should be published.

      I can understand protecting the agency of the survivors, sure, and not telling other people without warning or consulting them. But it would have been very easy to say “look, to properly prevent this sort of thing from happening again, we really need to inform our Party leader- just of the general nature of what happened,” and ask their permission.

      There surely needs to be a reasonable balance between preventing this from happening again and sensitivity to the people it happened to in the first place.

      • tracey 10.2.1

        Agree. The advice is unlikely to have named the victims.

        Then ask the media to honour the victims privacy and it is the media who would look like tossers if theytried to doorstep victims.

        • Matthew Whitehead 10.2.1.1

          Apparently the advice was subsequent to action being taken anyway, so it was just them checking if they had screwed up. *insert eyeroll here* In which case, there was every reason to upline this, without any identifying details, to the PM.

      • mickysavage 10.2.2

        Yeah, 100% that advice should be published.

        No way. Why should it be published?

        If we were dealing with the actions of an elected representative sure thing. But why otherwise?

  11. Ffloyd 11

    Guyon seems to be taking a salacious delight in the fact there were ‘hands down the pants’ as he seems to be repeating it quite a bit. Bit disturbing really. It’s not a fact that needs constantly alluding to. Think of the young ones involved in this Guyon!

    • Matthew Whitehead 11.1

      Possibly, although I think he may also be trying to get through how serious the allegations are. Guyon is hard on everyone, but also lets his interviewee tell the context of the story to a degree, both of which are good traits.

    • Michelle 11.2

      We called it being felt up and if we arrested everyone that has done this or doing this we might as well build 2 more prisons.
      ps. I am not minimizing this it is disgusting but I bet its more common than people think. Also we still live in a country where girls/women get called sluts and men are studs double standards prevail.

  12. Whispering Kate 12

    One thing that keeps coming back to me on this unfortunate incident at the summer camp. The young man who is the culprit has parents, who are these people. Young people who attend political camps usually have parents who are politically inclined, how else do these young people get so engaged at this young age in politics.

    Who is covering up who – it seems quite unusual for this to have been swept under the carpet, who is protecting who – these young people who were abused or the perpetrator. It won’t be the first time, kids of influencial people have had their problems swept away. I may be completely wrong in this but I have a feeling I may not be.

    • Ross 12.1

      I am not sure how knowing the identity of the parents of the alleged offeder is relevant. They may be unaware of the allegations against him.

    • ianmac 12.2

      The perpetrator was not a member of the Labour Party but was there with one who is a member.

  13. Delia 13

    I suppose the first thing that occurred to me is the media having a big feast on this without any concern for the privacy of the young people abused. Just a big media hey day and if this was National I would say the same.

    • Carolyn_Nth 13.1

      It will be interesting to compare specific journalists response to this and their response to Mau’s #metoonz investigation.

      • tracey 13.1.1

        OoooOOOoooo would make a good, but work intensive , post

      • Matthew Whitehead 13.1.2

        Yeah, the social media figures involved has been very enlightening. Many of the prominent concern trolls about Mau’s investigation were cheerleading the attack on this, making it clear their only concern was political points and who gets to be in charge of various institutions.

        (There were a couple notable exceptions on the right that got it- one notable troll who was constantly attacking Metiria was persuaded that the nature of defamation law giving automatic consequences to journalists who name names without good evidence was adequate protection. If even ACT-supporting bene-bashers can get that sexual assault is serious and the reporting around it has been responsible, there’s hope yet)

    • Ffloyd 13.2

      I absolutely agree.

  14. ianmac 14

    I wonder why no one has asked Murphy why he published his story? In whose interest is his writing?

    • Sam C 14.1

      Well, given the constant reference to #metoo, I would have thought it is in everyone’s interest that this sort of activity is published.

      • Matthew Whitehead 14.1.1

        #MeToo is about survivors choosing to talk about their stories as they feel comfortable and empowered to do so, and supporting each other.

        See: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/15/me-too-founder-tarana-burke-women-sexual-assault

        This is the opposite of that- the media has decided that this story has to be published to punish anyone involved in it. That is not reporting from a place of empathy and compassion, it’s disempowering, and it in fact re-traumatizes survivors, taking control out of their hands. I understand why the media thinks there’s a larger story that takes the choice out of their hands of whether to publish, but they still could have done so in a way that was empathetic at the least. This has been sensationalized gutter journalism- perhaps there is some degree of public interest motivation, but public interest isn’t the same thing as care for the individuals involved. You can absolutely sacrifice the people who were genuinely hurt on the altar of the public interest and stopping it from happening again, which is not acceptable behaviour of a responsible journalist. You have to care about all the angles.

    • Carolyn_Nth 14.2

      At this stage, it can’t be assumed there was any other agenda than they published a story that came their way.

      it’s more important to look at HOW the media write and talk about the issue – and that is in keeping with the topic of weka’s post.

    • lprent 14.3

      His own. As far as I can tell that is usually his sole interest.

  15. Adrian Thornton 15

    That the first thought that entered Kirton’s brain wasn’t , ‘what will be the first thing the media will ask me, or any of my colleges, and what will their answer be, and then quickly put a plan of action in place that answered that question in the least damaging way possible (considering the circumstances)…shows he is obviously completely useless at his job.

    • Anne 15.1

      … shows he is obviously completely useless at his job.

      Wrong!!! He’s regarded as one of the best Gen. Secretaries Labour has had.

      As to the question why was Jacinda not informed sooner… well, the incident
      occurred 4 weeks ago, and she’s been out of the country a fair bit in recent weeks. I guess Andrew didn’t want to bother her while she had important matters of state to attend to elsewhere. Lets bear in mind it is a matter for the general party hierarchy to resolve, not the parliamentary wing of the party.

      I noted that the victims were contacted within days by email offering Labour’s support and asking what actions they would like to see taken. Two responded and it doesn’t sound like they were all that clear-cut about what they wanted. The other two never responded.

      It needs to be said these victims were 16 year old teenagers. In my book they are not adults – no matter how much most teenagers like to think they are – and that might have had a bearing on the slower lack of action taken by the hierarchy. It also sounds like they might have been receiving conflicting advice.

      Whatever… the big lesson for Labour:

      Don’t hold ‘Young Labour’ camps without ensuring there are adults present who will keep a benevolent eye on proceedings at all times.

      • Anne 15.1.1

        In case anyone interprets my comment above as being unsympathetic to the victims that is certainly not the case. I’m sure they have been very upset about what happened but in the first instance didn’t know how to handle it.

        • tracey 15.1.1.1

          I didnt see it as having no victim sympathy Anne. Quite the opposite.

          However if Kirton thought Ardern had more important things to know about than 4 sexual assaults at a young labour camp, I hope she will have made it very clear how wrong he was.

          • Anne 15.1.1.1.1

            Agreed. Jacinda should have been told sooner. I’m just guessing the fact she has been out of the country this past fortnight or so was the reason it didn’t happen. It will never happen again. 🙂

          • patricia bremner 15.1.1.1.2

            Agreed. When I commented that Jacinda being blindsided was worse, than not managing the function or the drinking, some chose to believe I meant worse than the incident. Goodness no, I meant a further omission of responsibility.

      • Michelle 15.1.2

        Well he cant be that uselesss anne he managed to get a million dollars of donations from working people like myself with some on low incomes. Unlike the last government they don’t have the filthy rich to write out many cheques with strings attached.

        • Anne 15.1.2.1

          Exactly.

          I was writing out cheques like there was no tomorrow in the last few weeks of the campaign. 😈

          • Michelle 15.1.2.1.1

            So your have dirty hands anne a bit like the idiot that put his hands down those 16 year old pants.

            • Anne 15.1.2.1.1.1

              Don’t understand your response Michelle. Suggesting my hands are dirty in a similar respect is far from acceptable to me even if said in jest.

              In case you misunderstood my initial comment… it was not me suggesting Andrew Kirton was useless. I was replying to the person who did. That was why the comment was in italics. Andrew certainly had me generously donating to Labour – what’s dirty about that?

        • patricia bremner 15.1.2.2

          1000% I gave as much as I could afford… but because of Andrew Little.
          I find Jude’s comments on TV repulsive. She is friendly with the Whale and Slater.
          To be questioning the progress of this is farcical.

          She knows 16 year olds can make the decision they did in law. There are 4000 in Waihi and 2000 at the Beach, perhaps they did not want small town gossip? I was born there, so have a little knowledge here.

      • tracey 15.1.3

        It is not like this is a surpris3 is it? Labour NZF and Greens must have some knowledge of prior behaviour vis a vis a Labour led govt.

        Hollow Men and Dirty Politics showw us the media and financial reach of Nats ans ACT so nothinf stays under the rug.

        Kirton could have announced the advice he received, asked the media to honour the privacy of the victims and the media would have looked like arseholes doorstepping any victim.

        Nonetheless the point remains how men think they are allowed to behave toward the bodies of others.e toward women and

        And dont think this stuff wont get back to the media/National

    • McFlock 15.2

      I dunno.
      It seems his first thought was “this is a serious matter, how can we respond to this in the best way for the complainants”.

      I’d say that part of his job is to be a decent human being.

  16. Antoine 16

    I think next year’s event should be alcohol free.

    A.

    • tracey 16.1

      Women drink. They dont then sexually assault men ( yes, “some” do – god I get sick of feeling I need to write that). Banning alcohol is not the answer.

      • mauī 16.1.1

        As a man I think you’re most likely to be touched in an inappropriate way by a woman at a bar. Alcohol is the reason for that, maybe as well as the setting. Of course a woman is more likely to touched at a bar by a man and this is probably much more common.

        If we’re talking about this incident specifically, I think we can’t exclude talking about alcohol because one of the few facts we know is that the young people were having a big party and alcohol was prevalent during the incident.

        • tracey 16.1.1.1

          Isnt there a more general discussion though? In my experiences and observations of experiences of others, including some male victims, most sexual assault is alcohol and drug free.

          Do men report it? If not why not? How do women react when men make it clear it was inappropriate?

      • Infused 16.1.2

        You’re an idiot Tracey. This happens a lot to men which is not reported.

        Like my mate who woke from his drunken slumber with some one on riding him. It was embarrassing for him. Same happen to bam

        • tracey 16.1.2.1

          Can you define alot? What happen when he pushed him/her away? Did it continue? Why didnt he tell the police as you think Labour shoukd have?
          No, I am not an idiot Infused, that you have taken to prefacing comments to me with your puerile epithets speaks volumes about you and your ability to engage in a mature manner.

          Re read weka’s post. If you need more guidance on what parameters she has set, let me clarify that calling me stupid and an idiot is not within those parameters.

          • infused 16.1.2.1.1

            You completely dismissing that this happens to men shows how much of a fuckwit you are.

            The circumstances don’t matter, quit trying to justify it.

            [you either didn’t read the post, or don’t care about the post. 3 month ban for ignoring the post and moderation. If you want to talk about the sexual assault of men, see my comment on this elsewhere in the thread – weka]

            [additional moderation note now that I’ve had time to catch up. When I say I want this space to be good for women to comment in, abusing women commenters goes against that. I will be using this thread as a reference for future conversations, so I suggest people start paying attention to where the boundaries are on behaviour that is acceptable. – weka]

            • tracey 16.1.2.1.1.1

              Are you just getting in the jabs until you are banned?

              I didnt dismiss it I asked you very specific questions about it.

              • infused

                I thought that was about as good as your argument would get.

                • tracey

                  How clever you are Infused? Feeling smug?

                  That I dont put

                  #notallmen and
                  #somewomendoittoo

                  In every comment you feel justified ignoring weka’s parameters and attacking me personally.

                  I note you ignore the genuinely asked questions to the men here that might help us find a way forward.

      • Anon 16.1.3

        Well don’t be sexist then and then you wouldn’t need to correct yourself.

    • Michelle 16.2

      Not just alcohol free, supervision. When I went to college in the early 70s we had a teacher that use to touchy the girls mainly the 7th formers many knew yet little was done about it. When we use to go on camp this was rife boys putting their hands down girls pants and I hate to say it but some actually liked it and encouraged it.

    • Matthew Whitehead 16.3

      Alcohol free events just encourages people to skip the official events- even Labour’s official stance of wanting to be sure the law isn’t broken around under-age drinking is arguably risky in that regard, but I understand why they have to have it. Better to supervise the social events appropriately to ensure people are safe, and to prioritize harm reduction over preventing under-age drinking.

      • Anon 16.3.1

        Alcohol is alcohol. Politics is politics. If you need alcohol to encourage people to a political event then is it really about politics? – and if you’re attracting minors to a political event because of alcohol that’s surely de facto being irresponsible with alcohol.

  17. Carolyn_Nth 17

    Well, so far, a lot of people (mostly guys) wanting to talk about anything else but this from weka in the post:

    So instead of reacting and rushing to judge, how about we take this time to look at sexual assault gets talked about.

    So maybe some people need to reflect on why they have difficulty focusing on and commenting on that?

    And then weka wrote that, in light of the current situation in which we don’t yet have all the facts,

    What interests me right now is what Labour do next.

    • Antoine 17.1

      Well, here’s one aspect of how sexual assault gets talked about: When it involves political people, it gets intensely politicised.

      If it had been a Young Nats party, half the Standard would be in here yelling about what a pack of sh@tbags the Nats are. As it was Labour, however, we are instead having a genteel conversation about how sexual assault gets talked about.

      A.

      [I specifically said don’t politicise this. I suggested people ask questions rather than jump in with reckons and judgements, and I did that for very good reasons that I explained in the post. I’ve also made it clear that I will clarify where the boundaries are if people ask. 1 month ban. Yes, I am utterly serious about changing how discussions about sexual assault happen on TS, now you know, and it has nothing to do with Labour and everything to do with too many of the men on this site – weka]

      • tracey 17.1.1

        So you didnt understand weka’s post then? Go to open mike and discuss what you want to Antoine. When an Author puts parameters…

        How much msm did the Dirty Politics story about a young Nats Party get? See how we can all take this off weka’s track?

      • Richard McGrath 17.1.2

        Any particular reason for not politicising this episode of harassment/assault?

  18. Tracey 18

    If this were National we would be incandescent. But as weka says let us not make this political per se and stick to the culture we live in that

    So the questions are not really

    Why Tim?
    Guyon and RNZ this…

    It is also about HOW they and we talk about it. I agree that hands down pants is unnecessary.

    Why do young men behave this way? Because they have seen and heard it in others, usually older men?

    Boys will be boys.

    If you speak against behaviour on this spectrum.you are labelled

    Snowflake
    Soft cock
    PC
    Feminazi
    Man hater

    Then we get the whole conversation moved to

    But women abuse boys and men
    Not all me
    But she he was drunk
    Women send mixed mesages
    She didnt scream

    Here is the thing. If we address the basic premises of respect and value. That our bodies are our own property not to be trespassed without our permission watch the rates plummet. But we dont do that. For some reason men are ok with the notion that they are all basically 3 year olds with no ability to control their impulses. Why are not more men outraged by this.

    I have a question for men, and please delete if it will cause moderation hardship:

    What do you do when a man in your family, work, friends group speak derogatively about or toward women?

    If you do nothing, why?

    If men do not speak against this for some of the reasons I suspect might come up, why do we expect victims to?

    • Antoine 18.1

      > For some reason men are ok with the notion that they are all basically 3 year olds with no ability to control their impulses.

      You what?!

      I’m not ok with that notion. I dont know anyone who is.

      A.

      • Stunned Mullet 18.1.1

        Nor I.

      • tracey 18.1.2

        Are you a man? I am confused.

        You never heard a man question what a woman wears? How much she drank? That she was alone on the street? Skirt too short? Looks like a slut? Is a “cock tease”? Suggest to mate a girl is “gagging for it”. Call a girl ugly etc?

        • Stunned Mullet 18.1.2.1

          Are you a man? I am confused.
          Yes

          You never heard a man question what a woman wears?
          Yes, both Men and Woman

          How much she drank?
          Yes, both Men and Woman

          That she was alone on the street?
          No

          Skirt too short?
          No

          Looks like a slut?
          No

          Is a “cock tease”?
          No

          Suggest to mate a girl is “gagging for it”.
          No

          Call a girl ugly etc?
          No

          • tracey 18.1.2.1.1

            That is great but I would suggest, not the norm. I have 2 brothers and a father and a son. I have heard all of the above over the years from them and other teenage boys and men.

          • reason 18.1.2.1.2

            I think your being dishonest stunned mullet ….

            I seem to have a hazey recollection of abusing you ….. regarding the dirty politics and rape culture attack visited upon David Cunliffe, then Labour leader.

            Cunliffe was attacked, dirty politics style …for saying he was ashamed to be a New Zealand man, in relation to the high rates of abuse we dish out.

            Ignoring the ugly truth and confirming a sickness in our culture that infects all social strata of men …. Cunliffe was attacked for not being manly or a ‘real man’…..

            John Key specifically wore a “proud to be a man” tee-shirt.

            Presumably Farrar ‘polled’ the Nats cynical out of context attack .. and our media joined in the ‘derail’.

            The whole thing stands as yet another sorry testament as to how far we have yet to travel … and the obstacles opposing …. a safe respectful society.

            My personal view as a male regarding other males is ….Self respect seems very important in treating others respectfully … and as parents we can generally teach that….

            But as a society we need our Governments, of whatever stripes,.. to treat us respectfully …

            There’s a bit of sickness …. and lack of good role models …. from the top down.

      • tracey 18.1.3

        John Key described Roast Busters as “boys being boys”. That absolutely suggested you cannot expect males to have impulse control.

        Meanwhile I await male commenters to answer my final positted questions.

        • Chris T 18.1.3.1

          If Key did (Which I personally don’t remember him doing), he is an idiot.

          With your question about what some “people” ask about the victims. (I purposefully use people as women do as well)

          Yes I have, but you seem to imply all men in your post

          • tracey 18.1.3.1.1

            #notallmen

            Feel better now Chris T?

            Imagine what it is like when you have been sexually assaulted and your society suggests you are a liar because you are a child.

            My questions were

            What do you do when a man in your family, work, friends group speak derogatively about or toward women?

            If you do nothing, why?

          • tracey 18.1.3.1.2

            http://thehandmirror.blogspot.co.nz/2013/11/growing-boys-not-roast-busters.html

            John key’s statement was that the boys needed to grow up. That suggests that once boys are adult men they won’t rape or sexually assault?

            The article above quotes him as part of the very good read.

            I note that is the same Prime Minister who felt it is ok to pull a woman’s hair, incuding after she has said no. There was a lot of dismissing of that incident, and those who think our young men and women do not take on board how that was treated are deluding themselves.

            • Anon 18.1.3.1.2.1

              Yeah, that was disgusting and that the police officers in his domestic protection detail watched him do it and did nothing speaks volumes.

    • Cinny 18.2

      Tracey, this bit… “If men do not speak against this for some of the reasons I suspect might come up, why do we expect victims to?”

      WELL SAID

    • mac1 18.3

      Here goes, Tracey. I taught ‘Relationships’ as a male Health teacher who along with a female health educator from Family Planning took over an existing course in the 90s. Targeted at year 10 boys, the course was 14 periods long and the educators had specific training.

      The course started at’ how to ask a girl out’ and covered courtship, negotiating mutual behaviour, respect, homosexuality, alcohol issues such as impaired decision-making and permission-giving, condom usage, pregnancy and STDs.

      High on the list was “3 Nos and Go”, “What Do You Not Understand about No” and always talking about what behaviour is OK, asking permission.

      Then in Year 12 the topics were covered again in a three day course with the sister Girls College participating. They too had had a similar course at year 10.

      For its time, the courses were very progressive. The rates of STD transmission and pregnancy stayed level when NZwide rates increased. We were a provincial town and these could be measured.

      But we never covered “rape culture” as it is being discussed now. Certainly as I’ve outlined above much attention was given to respect, permission and negotiation.

      Maybe at the Girls College they discussed this behaviour but the Family Planning educators that I worked with who also did the same courses there never talked about what seems to be ‘rape culture’.

      The behaviour of ‘roast busters’ was unheard of. Were we naive? Was small town NZ different? Did this ‘rape culture’ behaviour manifest later?

      But the question of a young man pushing himself upon another as seems happened at this young folks gathering certainly was addressed then.

      I have been out of teaching (and of this subject even longer) for some years so I can’t comment on what is being taught post ‘roast busters’ and wide spread social media. I can remember discussing the mis-use of social media to end a relationship as part of the course.

      I’d say that more needs to be done at the level of young men’s education, formally in schools, but also by older men as mentors, addressing the issues of how men react to sexist, misogynistic and disrespectful behaviour.

      The increased liberalism of parents towards allowing teens only parties, with alcohol, unsupervised is not helpful. At such social events the moderating effect of adults of mixed generations is always useful. How to socialise, and how to learn appropriate behaviour, is a communal exercise. Male mentoring, women mentoring young men as well as to how to behave, expectations and standards set are all so important.

      And fathers! We also can have a significant effect by our teaching and example, which we may not even know about, when a child is confronted with a situation that might lead to bad behaviour and in the child’s mind is the question “What would dad say about that?”

      In the circles I move in now, in my late sixties, there is little behaviour that I hear to be checked. My personal standard is that if someone says to me in conversation something that is wrong then I will challenge that belief because I believe that not to do so would be to give my permission to hold that belief to be correct by my default.

      When I worked as a teacher in a secondary school behaviour management role, I was checking wrong behaviour all the time, encouraging boys to think about their behaviour and whereabouts they went wrong, and also how they would “rewrite the script” to get a satisfactory outcome. “What could you do better next time?”

      The next time is now.

      • tracey 18.3.1

        We need that in all schools, including private and charter. For both sexes. Great work you did.

        Parents and home lives need to reinforce thhose lessons. Too many homes, including white and monied think “joking” with their girls and boys about womens work… women drivers etc etc doesnt shape their attitudes toward each other and themselves. It does. Children are very literal and less adept at nuances.

        Sadly for many parents this means a harder road to travel because they have to cobsciously censor themselves. Frankly some cannot be bothered.

      • Macro 18.3.2

        There is an excellent programme available to all High school students called “Mates and Dates” and sponsored by ACC as a means to address the high incidence of sexual violence in NZ.
        https://www.acc.co.nz/preventing-injury/sexual-violence/?smooth-scroll=content-after-navs
        My daughter was a facilitator in this programme for over a year, and it addresses all of the issues that are being addressed here today – and more. Particularly those issues of identity and the difficulties for rainbow youth.
        Had the young people who were assaulted been had occasion to attend one of these “Mates and Dates” courses they would be aware of their rights wrt whether or not they wished to make a complaint etc. as these matters are discussed within the framework of the course.
        Older NZer’s as a whole are not well educated on these matters and we have an abysmal record on violence towards our young people. There was a report in the Guardian last week (which unfortunately I can no longer find) where NZ was regretfully ranked among the worst in this respect in the developed world!

        • Macro 18.3.2.1

          The link I have been searching for that was in the Guardian last week is here:
          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/08/study-one-in-four-new-zealand-children-reported-welfare-agencies

          Nearly a quarter of New Zealand children born in 1998 ended up being reported to the country’s child welfare agencies, a new report has found.

          The study by the Auckland University of Technology tracked 55,443 children born in 1998 until the end of 2015.
          …..

          The report found it was more common for the cohort of children studied to be reported to child services than have asthma, and by age 17, 3.2% of girls and 0.8% of boys had experienced sexual abuse.

        • tracey 18.3.2.2

          Thanks for this. RPE have awesome programmes too. For some reason the last government did not think teaching all our children about respectful relationships was worth full funding or even inclusion n ALL curriculums (private and charter).

          I worry this one won’t either.

          To learn more about RPE’s youth programmes, xxxxxxxxxx:

          BodySafe
          Sex ‘n’ Respect Parties
          Sex ‘n’ Respect Alternative Education
          Sex ‘n’ Respect Young Parent Programme
          Sex ‘n Respect website and booklet

          For any questions, queries or requests please contact:

          Yvette Spencer-Dunn
          Youth Programmes Coordinator
          Yvette@rapecrisis.org.nz
          Phone (09) 361 27277

      • Anon 18.3.3

        Men AND women need this education, and earlier than year 10. In my experience we didn’t get taught much in high school in the 2000s, from what you describe it sounds like we went backwards. And the girls were just as bad for sexual assault as the boys, and frankly that’s still what I see to this day with the way high school children treat each other on the bus – girls act entitled like they can get away with doing whatever they want, boys not so much.

    • Matthew Whitehead 18.4

      I’ll answer Tracey’s questions, seeing other people are reluctant.

      1) It took me a few years of figuring out things and finding courage to talk about it, but yes, I speak up now. I wasn’t a very good guy as a teenager in this respect, so it took me into my twenties to start.

      2) As per earlier, as a teenager I was the creepy boy who didn’t get out enough to know the social rules because I’d been isolated enough earlier that I just thought I was different. A lot of this was just being too intimidated to learn at first. I definitely crossed at least one person’s boundaries in ways I shouldn’t as a teenager, but because I only really wanted to be friends with her, I was smart enough to actually listen to what she said, and give her some emotional distance even though I struggled with it. (yeah I’m clingy with even my friends sometimes. :p I’ve relaxed over time and as I’ve learned some emotional lessons)

      I started off doing nothing because I didn’t know better.

      I got very vocal once I started piecing together all the dynamics and figuring out how this shit worked. No doubt most other guys I talk to account this as me Taking Everything Seriously, but I know there will be guys listening to that sort of talk who are survivors and are simply being re-traumatised each time it comes up.

      I had something of a grey experience in this area as a teenager- someone who had sexual contact with me when I couldn’t really consent for a couple of reasons. I don’t really talk about it anymore because I’ve processed what I need to from it, and it’s relatively far down the seriousness scale in my opinion, (I actually did send mixed messages, which should be taken as “no,” but both of us were too stupid to get that) to the extent that most women probably have comparable stories about things they regret in hindsight but didn’t feel were problematic at the time, but it helped me figure this shit out in retrospect years later, and I’m glad for that at least. Failing to unpack that all earlier is probably part of why it took me so long to start speaking up.

      3) Yeah, that’s why I actually started blogging. I felt like talking about feminism and why it helps us prevent situations like this is important and it shouldn’t all be on women to explain it to other men. Some of that early stuff was bad. Some of it was surprisingly good. Hopefully me speaking has helped other people feel comfortable speaking, and has prevented situations even worse than my own fumbling misexperiences as a teenager.

      I hope that inspires some of the reluctant people to talk a bit, although I expect I hit “maximum sharing” there.

      • tracey 18.4.1

        I hope it does too Matthew. Thanks for answering them.

        I get that addressing these questions isnt easy but unless we hear the different answers how can we improve anything?

        I note those who are finding it easier to post #notallmen. #womendoittoo. But sadly that shuts down inward and outward retrospection. I get that some ( not all men) are scared to look deeper and then write. Some of those men cannot understand why women and girls do not repirt.

        • Matthew Whitehead 18.4.1.1

          Oh, for sure, that’s why I answered even though I know you weren’t really asking for people like me who are onboard as allies already- I figure setting a good example and over-sharing a bit will help.

          And yeah, I agree and don’t want to hear any of that “but not all men” or “what about the mens” crap. The experience for men as survivors is different than for women and it’s valid to bring the topic of male survivors into the discussion, but IMO that’s a digression and deserves to be covered in its own sub-thread, not in each and every reply.

          When we talk about men committing sexual assault, we are saying men because it’s us as a gender that commit the overwhelming majority of these crimes, and that disparity is something we have to take a degree of collective responsibility for if we’re going to prevent it. If you’ve not assaulted someone, or not implied it’s okay to, we’re not talking about you, relax, we’re just saying there are people who look like or sound like you that we can’t automatically tell you apart from. Act like a good guy and it’s not a problem. Hell, act like a bad guy in the past, but own it, tell your story, and give a genuine apology, and arguably after that, you’re part of the solution, too.

          IMO, as a suggestion to commenters: start a new thread on this post with a fresh number if you want to talk about either men as survivors or the vanishingly few assaults committed by women, and quarantine that discussion there. It doesn’t need to come up in response to the stuff that is about women as survivors or assaults committed by men.

    • You_Fool 18.5

      My response is a bit off-topic, but I (as a man) wanted to respond to Tracey’s questions, as they cut deep to my own burning rage at some others who call themselves men (but are really just boys).

      When others speak like that against a female, I feel rage and hurt. I also feel like they are trying to cover for their own inadequacies. DO I speak up, sometimes, but not always (I am not perfect), the times I do is when I feel empowered myself, and when I don’t is when I feel weak, either by being intimidated by those making the comment (as I am rather small) or because there is a power imbalance (previous boss as an example), so I assume same reasons as why females also keep quiet sometimes.

      Doesn’t stop me feeling the rage, nor stop me thinking about my own actions, esp. around my young (4 & 1) sons. I want them to grow up with respect for everyone, regardless of skin colour, nation of birth, sexual orientation or gender (nor assume any of those are in anyway set in stone as to what values they can take).

      I also feel the rage at the comments where people talk about women who lead men on. Yes, there are a very very few number of girls (and they are that) who have discovered that they can use their body to get something (I have seen that many a teenage girl goes through this stage, it is hilarious), but that doesn’t mean she has to “pay out” or that she can’t change her mind. There was a post last week, I think, that got me thinking about this, and stoked my rage. It may have been on the #metoo “witch hunts” or something; where there was discussion around people getting upset that women were going to set them up. This burns deep within myself, because I am a man and I have manly urges, but I can manage to keep them under control. A pretty girl flirts with me, yay! She then makes it obvious it isn’t going anywhere, well boo, but that doesn’t diminish her or our interaction in anyway. I don’t think I am deserved anything, or owed anything, or that she has been a tease, or a bitch, or any other derogatory term.

      Boys need to grow up and not let the ‘boys will be boys’ attitude prevail. I am a grown man, not some 14 year old who has just discovered girls. Also, as a grown man, I have a responsibility to explain to that 14 year old who thinks it is ok to act like that that it is not ok; just like as a father I am responsible for helping my children to understand what is ok and what is not ok.

      I also dislike the #notallmen, because it is all men, as the rest of us need to show that that behaviour is not ok

      • tracey 18.5.1

        Thanks for your honesty. I also do not always speak up. For many reasons you give here. Not being a man I could not speak for why men might not, no matter my suspicions but understanding why they do not must help us find a way forward?

        RPE have excellent programmes to help young men and women navigate a complex world. Getting these kinds of programmes into all our schools from as young as possible might be a start and break the cycle.

        • You_Fool 18.5.1.1

          I agree, getting some good programs fully funded and working to ensure consent and respect is taught and understood to young people. It was sort of taught when I was at school, although it was more sex education and the mechanics, and less the feelings and emotions behind it all (although there was the slogan “no means no”). Teenagers being teenagers, peer pressure had a lot to say about how everyone acted in respect to sex and the like; guys who slept with girls were studs and respected whilst the girls who those guys slept with (often at parties where there was lots of alcohol to help inhibit good decision making) were labelled sluts. It wasn’t until I made it to uni that I gained the strength to speak out against such behaviour (even though I always knew it was wrong/unbalanced). Part of that was having more stable friendships, especially with independent females. I feel there is a lot to be said for having a wide range of very good friends to help with all sorts of anti-social behaviours. (Not to be that guy but) I have a really good friend who is Bengali (dark skinned and muslim), a very good friend who is female (who loves me because, quote, I don’t stare at her tits”) and have known several gay guys as good friends. All during my time at uni, all of which helped me to become a better person and more able to understand the issues that people different to me have in a world designed to fit people just like me (white males from a semi-wealthy land-owning farming background).

          I can’t remember who said it here, QoT ages ago, you or Weka at some other point in time, but there was something on TS about consent as an ongoing thing, not just a yes/no gate like the law requires. This made me rethink a lot of things around my own thoughts on consent. It really aligned a lot with how I actually felt, even if I didn’t really understand it before really thinking about it. But it seems the best way to teach things. Having consent as an ongoing thing, means you need to really understand someone to really know if the yes means yes. Any intimate contact should be desired, and continued to be desired even after desire for the specific person has died.

    • Anon 18.6

      “For some reason men are ok with the notion that they are all basically 3 year olds with no ability to control their impulses.” – Wow. Most of the not all men backlash is specificly because men aren’t ok with this blatant sexism.

      “What do you do when a man in your family, work, friends group speak derogatively about or toward women?” – A specific woman, or women in general? Honestly I’m all for the odd bit of shit talk or dark humor, very rarely have I met any man who holds genuine misogyny. When it’s there it’s generally pretty hard to confront, if they can’t see almost straight away that they’re shits then it’s honestly just safer to ignore them and move on – I’m no hero.

      “If men do not speak against this for some of the reasons I suspect might come up, why do we expect victims to?” – Who expects victims to speak up?

    • McFlock 18.7

      heh. Just thinking about it, these days my peer group has men very much in the minority both socially and professionally. And most of them are upper middle class mothers and professionals.

      But in a previous career when I was surrounded by Manly Men, it was a pretty sophisticated dance to try and moderate their behaviour around me, but not make such a big deal about stuff that it became a weapon against me.

      I recall one colleague who was always coming out with subtly racist statements, until I eventually threatened to make a formal complaint against him. A couple of days later, I was with my supervisor and he came out with a pretty objectionable comment, which I didn’t oppose but made clear I was unimpressed with it. I suspect it was a test because colleague had decided to pre-empt the possibility of a formal complaint by saying I was hypersensitive or something. But the supervisor was a pretty canny guy, and just wanted to see whether I went off the chain at the slightest pc transgression.

      That’s racism not sexism, but it was a similar sort of dynamic. Not that I’m any sort of pc hero, I objectify attractive women to this day. But sometimes the manly men let it affect their work, or get a bit carried away in conversations.

  19. Chris T 19

    Thought a point from Trotter and Garner was interesting this morning

    They basically said under Clarke alcohol was a no no at all these sort of things, or you basically felt her wraith

    I’m not saying that Ardern is in anyway culpable, as she didn’t know about it, but it does make me wonder what has changed with the party head offices culture

    Could just be new people I suppose

    • tracey 19.1

      Alcohol is a red herring. Re read Weka’s post. Most who sexually abuse or rape our children are stone cold sober

    • weka 19.2

      the alcohol issue is a problem in its own right (Labour shouldn’t be allowing piss ups for young teens at their events). However the post was about sexual assault, which has little to do with the alcohol issue.

    • Matthew Whitehead 19.3

      If abusers need to wait until people are drunk to make their move, having events without alcohol will just make them wait until there is another opportunity. It’s not only unrelated, as Tracey said, I actually suspect that this view of alcohol as causing these issues feeds into the problem. It gives abusers a self-justification, it moves abuse away from events where there is adequate supervision and it can be prevented, and it stops organizations from having good policies on sexual violence because they blame it on alcohol instead.

      I would quite frankly be amazed if nobody actually was sexually harassed, assaulted, or abused somewhere in the Labour Party under Clark. I expect it happened, but we didn’t hear about it. (and by “we,” I mean her as well, because I expect she would have taken it seriously, and kicked arses as appropriate) I expect it has happened a lot in other political parties, too. It shouldn’t be a partisan issue, at least not until it’s clear that the duty of care of employers, or adults supervising teenagers, or so on, hasn’t been taken seriously, in which case it’s partisan in the sense that that party’s organization has some reform to do, and we shouldn’t have confidence in them until it’s done, but using it as a political attack is cold as ice when this is a problem basically everywhere.

      • Anne 19.3.1

        I expect it has happened a lot in other political parties, too.

        One thing for sure… it will have happened in the Young Nats and the powers that be in the National Party kept it under wraps. That is not to say the guilty parties were not summarily dismissed but the incidents were never publicised. Many in the MSM have two rules of engagement – one for National and another for Labour and indeed the Greens. We have seen it time and time again and it stinks.

        • tracey 19.3.1.1

          Slater and Lusk planned for it to happen at a Farrar party.

        • Matthew Whitehead 19.3.1.2

          Yeah, I deliberately didn’t name names to try and avoid it being about point-scoring, but I agree you’re right about the double-standard that certain cheerleaders for National are taking on this issue after being worried that the #MeToo investigation was targeting them. (I haven’t looked into specific media figures, but I wouldn’t be bloody surprised if you’re right on that)

          But yes, it could have happened in ANY political party IMO. If it’s happened in the Greens, you can bet the members will be clamouring for reforms to stop it in the future, and fortunately, our party structure should make that sort of grass-roots change easier. I hope it hasn’t, but I know there are lots of us in my party who won’t shy away from hard truths if we have to hear them.

          • Anne 19.3.1.2.1

            With regard to the Greens, I was thinking more in terms of what they did to Metiria Turei but the principle re- reporting these incidents are exactly the same.

            • Matthew Whitehead 19.3.1.2.1.1

              If by “they” you mean the media, I think the double-standard there isn’t so much political as it is demographic- you get yourself any other woman of colour talking about the struggles of being a beneficiary who admits even the slightest hint of legal “wrongdoing” and she’ll probably be treated the same, unfortunately.

              The media does treat the Greens differently on party political issues, but I don’t actually think it was a political hitjob in that case, it was more an indignancy at the Greens’ initial polling bump and a self-righteous determination that The Law Shall Not Be Mocked, and “how dare you profit politically by admitting to illegal actions,” even when said laws are morally bankrupt.

  20. Carolyn_Nth 20

    This is an interview with a woman from HELP on RNZ. This was the organisation Labour brought into help them with the casse:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018635849/dealing-with-disclosures-of-sexual-assualt

    Also the PM on RNZ this morning – identifies the things she judged Labour to have done wrong, and how they can do better: video of the interview with the article.

    Too many delays e.g. in bringing in the professionals. Also issues about who is allowed to the youth camp, the consent form that 16 year old parents signed, and the monitoring of the camp.

    • tracey 20.1

      Thank you for this.

      I have a friend who works for a NGO which counsels paedophiles. Some referred from court/prison and some self referred.

      Client ages range from under 3 years to elderly.

      To date this organisation can show that 92% of its clients that have sexually offended have NOT sexually reoffended post working with this NGO.

      To do this job you need to have myriad skills but also a minimum 3 year degree.

      My friend has 8 years experience in this area including working with sex offenders in our prsons. Her pay? $53000 per annum.

      A mutual friend of ours has a partner who is 27. He works in advertising and just started a new job earning 90k plus car plus bonuses.

      Steven Joyce once suggested students become lawyers bankers or doctors to get good salaries.

      We value the wrong things and the wrong people.

      PS. Staff turnover is high in the above workplace so they often have fresh graduates on staff

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 20.2

      And RNZ have put up a good summary and timeline of events relating to the Labour camp:

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/352408/explainer-young-labour-summer-camp-controversy

  21. Cinny 21

    Had to bite my tongue last night, some were delighting in the scandal, geez that made me wild.

    Have been thinking long and hard about it all, reflecting on things like… why are some kids so scared to speak to their parents about such things?
    Then I remember the shame that goes with it.
    I’ve never told my folks about being raped as a teen, was so embarrassed that it happened, self blame for being in that situation to start with.
    Lack of information from my parents about how to handle such a situation, what to do etc. Easier to block it out and pretend it never happened, not just rape, but other sexual assaults as a teen and in my twenties.

    As a parent of two girls I’ve made a huge effort to make sure we can talk about anything and everything, communication is paramount. I’d like to think they would tell me if something went on, no matter their age, so far they do and long may it continue.

    Are parents of boys educating them on how to treat women? Or are we as a society too busy telling girls how to keep safe?

    Then there is the bloody kiwi drinking culture, I’m so over it. Oh but I was drunk I’m not usually like that etc etc, sick of that excuse. Or the… let’s get her drunk and take advantage of her game that men like to play.

    My heart goes out to those kids, I know how they feel and it makes me very sad that things havent changed much in the last few decades.

    Jacinda you are in a position to make great change about rape culture. Something has to change and I know you care about people more than poll ratings. I’m unsure what to do, but not hiding it away like Andrew Curtin did is a great start.

    • tracey 21.1

      Well said Cinny

      I truly think too many in BZ think we make up the number of unreported rapes and sexual assaults in this country. False claims are RARE

    • Molly 21.2

      “Are parents of boys educating them on how to treat women? Or are we as a society too busy telling girls how to keep safe?”
      As a parent of three boys, we approach talking about sex before the hormones kick in, and revisit at a later stage. At both times, we talk about informed consent.

      The eldest read through the Levy book “Female Chauvinist Pigs” and a couple of other feminist books we had around. We spoke about the respect required for all, and how to avoid the typical labels for women that denigrate them. He is probably more aware than I was at his age, but we both could still do with more understanding of the issues.

  22. greywarshark 22

    Questions about this Young Labour camp arise in my mind from what has been said as facts:

    1 A lot of alcohol was available. Not a good luck for Labour to be into drugs to this extent. Trying to set aside alcohol as the ‘good’ drug and the rest as bad, is mistaken and old-fashioned behaviour, and it’s just stupid to carry on this habitual irresponsible thinking.

    2 A hand was put down their pants we have been told by radio. I have noticed how tight jeans are in fashion. How did this action happen?

    3 The idea that 16 year olds are quite mature enough to be responsible for their own decisions ie if they say that nothing should be done, or give that impression, and that is the deciding factor for Labour officials, seems to follow on from a sort of hero worship of young adults, as if their youth and fresh approach sees through accumulated bullshit to a new Dawn. The saying that you can’t put an old head on young shoulders applies. 16 and 17 year olds are in a learning phase about how to handle relationships, and this is an unfortunate experience within that that process

    What should responsible Labour organisers and officials have done? Write the matter off after checking again with the young people? I suggest, go to the parents, explain that there was some unsuitable behaviour at the Young Labour function, advise what they have been told, apologise for things getting out of hand. Police don’t enter into it at this stage. It would have been better for all four young people, and the initiator to have met with the parents, plus a responsible Labour person, and a mediator to talk this matter out and the initiator spoken to about proper behaviour and an insistence that he have extended counselling.

    (On inability for young people to be mature and discerning while they are still learning about personality, behaviour, sexuality, judgment etc. is the awful example of the young to-be Treasury economist who formed a relationship with a man from her university who stabbed her to death.)

    4 Are leaders not prepared to make decision on anything themselves after they call in professionals to consider and offer advice on the matter under consideration,and then take the easiest way out that they offer?

    5 Are the allegations true or a sort of peer group hoax that has got out of hand? It is possible.

    6 Why wouldn’t the PM be advised that there had been a problem involving this Young Labour function? Just to inform her so she knows about it and is aware of possible repercussions. She does not want backroom Labour functionaries appearing to do things behind her back as if she is a facade person while people who have been notable failures for some time in their efforts, separately carry out their schemes.

    • weka 22.1

      “2 A hand was put down their pants we have been told by radio. I have noticed how tight jeans are in fashion. How did this action happen?”

      “5 Are the allegations true or a sort of peer group hoax that has got out of hand? It is possible.”

      I’m going to take some time to address these, because they go to the heart of rape culture and rape apology.

      There is no way for any of us here to know what happened. We are getting information that is second hand at best, fed through the biases and agendas of a number of different groups in society. So the question for me isn’t did it happen, but why would someone think it probably didn’t. Or, if one wants to keep the questions open, why would one want to respond to 4 teenagers talking about having been sexually assaulted by suggesting that they are lying.

      There are statistics on false accusations of rape. You can look them up. False accusations are rare. On the other hand, women (and men) saying they have been sexually assaulted is routinely questioned, because of rape culture and the beliefs in society that women lie about rape (despite this not being supported by evidence).

      Why that belief in our societies runs so deep is another important question, but the consequences of it are immediate and serious. It’s why it is so difficult for women to go to the police, and why so few rapes end in a conviction. It’s also why society still culturally sanctions sexual violence against women. Rape culture begets rape. Think about that when you are considering the safety of young teens.

      Politically, many of us choose to take the position that people reporting sexual assault are telling the truth, because for the most part they are and the implications of not believing them are horrendous. This doesn’t mean that due process isn’t followed, it just means that it’s better political starting point if we want to prevent rape.

      So unless you have some pretty compelling evidence that the broad strokes of the story are wrong about what happened, I can only assume that you personally believe it is appropriate to question the veracity of women (and men) who report sexual assault. That’s rape culture.

      It doesn’t take any imagination at all to imagine four teens wearing clothing that someone else can stick their hand down. To put your comment into perspective there is a well known case in Italy where judges ruled that a woman couldn’t have been raped because she was wearing tight jeans. This was later overturned, but you can see the severity of the consequences when we go down the track of putting someone else’s experience through our own limited understanding. Women get raped and not believed and society culturally endorses those rapes and thus more happen.

      IMO you are running some pretty basic rape culture and rape apology lines. Which is a problem given the moderation warning in the post. If you don’t understand my explanation, I can clarify.

      • tracey 22.1.1

        Great explanation weka.

        For myself I still want to hear from men about why they stand silent or act other ways complicit when women are verbally, let alone physically, denegrated?

        I genuinely want to know why, what need does it feed to join in or to say nothing to confront mates, family, colleagues.

        I want those men to confront why they say nothing and to explain it to me who is not a man. Without knowing this stuff how do we change it?

      • greywarshark 22.1.2

        Right. That is the type of response one could expect here. There can not be any questions asked plainly about anything, everything gets smothered in a fog of rape culture. I’ll take myself off. And not annoy everyone by asking some direct questions and thinking directly to practical and possible actions and outcomes.

        IMO you ladies are soaking in rape culture. Time to hang it on the line to dry off and get some sunlight on it.

        [if you are unwilling to engage with the parameters an author sets for a post, then don’t comment on it. I gave you the courtesy of not moderating but responding in depth to two of the questions you raised, and you come back with rape denial. This post wasn’t written for you to write whatever you want, any more than it was written for the RW trolls or other rape apologists. It was written to create a good space for women and survivors of sexual assault (and others) to talk about those issues. If you don’t understand what the point of the post was, despite me making it very clear, I suggest you stay out of such discussions in the future. 2 week ban (double the last one which was for telling authors how to run the site and likewise ignoring moderation. See the pattern there?) – weka]

        • tracey 22.1.2.1

          Sadly you have just proven a point plainly made in wekas post. You were free to write anything you wanted in Open Mike but not to control the discussion in this thread.

          Why was respecting Weka’s parameters so hard greywarshark?

        • Matthew Whitehead 22.1.2.2

          Weka did warn you that this wasn’t the post for this kind of shit. Come on.

    • lprent 22.2

      I suggest, go to the parents, explain that there was some unsuitable behaviour at the Young Labour function, advise what they have been told, apologise for things getting out of hand.

      Age 16. You want to violate the rights of young adults by doing that without their permission? Do you also want to report consensual sex as well? Shame on you… you old fogey. 🙁

      Like it or not, there are legal constraints on what you may or may not do with young adults. The laws prescribe what they are. They aren’t prescribed by your prejudices unless you can convince enough people to have a law change.

  23. Delia 23

    Media people saying why were the Police, parents not involved. Crisis organisations do as asked by the sex assault victim. Yes even at sixteen, this is why contraceptive advice etc at school is given to the under sixteens without parental advice. I heard the frenzy on Morning Report this morning, you cannot tell me they were thinking of the young people concerned when they demanded this and that off politicians and dragged in experts who forgot to tell them maybe those offended against did not want it used all over the news in this way. Note how quiet National is..there is a reason or that. They seem to have thought about the young people concerned.

    • tracey 23.1

      … or they fed the rumour to the media and let it run its course so they look like their hands are clean. They do not have a track record of giving a shit about privacy. Bennett against 2 beneficiaries and Collins against an innocent man resulting in him getting death threats. Collins is at No. 4 in that shadow Cabinet. For a reason.

      Why did this young man think his behaviour was ok?

      http://thejackalman.blogspot.co.nz/2014/08/david-farrars-dirty-politics.html?m=1

      Reposting in full for the click shy and any who think this is about political parties and not male behaviour

       Home Welcome About Privacy Blogrole Debate Contact ▼

      25 Aug 2014

      David Farrar’s dirty politics

      On Sunday, the political program Q+A had a panel discussing the Dirty Politics revelations that have by all accounts but their own badly derailed the National parties campaigning. What I found most surprising about this panel is that it included somebody implicated in the right wings underhanded attack politics, David Farrar.

      Not only was David Farrar AKA Pinko to his “friends” on the show, he was allowed to bleat on for ages while other panellists were closed out of the discussion. The nervous little man tried his best to downplay his seedy role in National’s black-ops team, saying that it was merely people sharing information and that other political parties do it all the time as well. Yeah right!

      Being that National Minister’s have been providing sensitive information to their pet attack bloggers in order to discredit the people they don’t like, and that no other political party has ever been found to have acted similarly, there is no validity to such a patently disingenuous argument. In other words there are no excuses for such despicably undemocratic behaviour.

      By trying to minimize the terrible truth, David Farrar et al are clasping at straws in the hope that New Zealanders aren’t interested in what the government and their propagandists get up to. Seemingly aided by a biased media, they intend to try and sweep the Dirty Politics scandal under the rug without having properly answered any of the pressing questions Nicky Hager’s book raises.

      However, some things cannot be hidden or covered up, and instead need to be exposed for all to see. Here’s one such excerpt from the source material that deserves further attention:

      April 25, 2011
      ————————-
      Simon Lusk, 4/26, 12:01am

      i wasnt going to say that in case your email gets read
      ————————-
      Cameron Slater, 4/26, 12:02am

      my email doesn’t get read

      lol

      Apparently Pinko is the main driving force behind the Princess party
      ————————-
      Simon Lusk, 4/26, 12:03am

      well i was going to say i have cleared the field for you, given you the most likely targets and will get them drunk for you
      ————————-
      Cameron Slater, 4/26, 12:03am

      he has invited [REDACTED] to it and to the one the next night
      ————————-
      Simon Lusk, 4/26, 12:03am

      righto, good cleint recruitment

      he asked if he can bring neil miller, which i said yes to
      ————————-
      Cameron Slater, 4/26, 12:04am

      she likes threesomes so it could be promising for her and a young nat
      ————————-
      Simon Lusk, 4/26, 12:05am

      i’d try [REDACTED] she is filthy

      not many young nats coming, i told jordan i didnt want them because they are retards
      ————————-
      Cameron Slater, 4/26, 12:05am

      just dirty girls who flip it up
      ————————-
      Simon Lusk, 4/26, 12:06am

      thats the plan, and i have carefully kept the balance of princesses to guys uneven

      make sure [REDACTED] knows not to come without a full princess outfit and a bottle of bubbly
      ————————-
      Cameron Slater, 4/26, 12:08am

      i better go book a fucking moneky suit

      David Farrar, a trustee of the Free Speech Coalition, has tried his best to dismiss the ‘Princess Party’ as some sort of celebration of the Royals. In my opinion the discussion above shows that his weak defense is highly flawed. Clearly the sex party these National party propagandists set up was anything but innocent.

      Old men organizing a party, then targeting and getting young woman drunk in order to have sex with them is clearly the activity of sexual deviants and such people should have no place within our political system.

      The leaked communications between Cameron Slater and Simon Lusk are a pretty damn good reason not to have the repulsive David Farrar on our TV trying to defend his and the National parties dirty politics. His involvement in the ‘Princess Party’ is another good reason not to vote for National Party

      • Baba Yaga 23.1.1

        Hi Tracey

        It is a shame you posted what is effectively a personal smear on Farrar, without first doing even some basic research.

        To begin, the Twitter link in the blog you have linked to titled ‘the source material’ goes no-where. That should have rung alarm bells with anyone with an ounce of curiosity.

        Then, the link that The Jackal refers to as ‘his weak defense’ is to this very plausible explanation by Farrar https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2014/08/how_hager_got_it_wrong_on_the_princess_party.html.

        You should have read Farrar’s explanation, and checked the veracity of the information, before posting.

        This was just one of numerous things Hager got wrong in his book, because he simply didn’t take the time to fact check or interview a single person he wrote about.

        • Psycho Milt 23.1.1.1

          Farrar’s “explanation” is that Hager was wrong to accept Slater’s email claim that Farrar was organising the party, because he wasn’t the organiser. Well, maybe, but so far so completely fucking irrelevant. Do you have anything to say about the actual content of Tracey’s comment?

          • Baba Yaga 23.1.1.1.1

            It is relevant, because it goes to the heart of whether or not Hager is credible. Hager wrote a book using stolen emails and without fact checking or interviewing the parties allegedly involved. It is possible in that scatter gun approach he got some things right, but he got may things wrong.

            As to Tracey’s comment, it was mostly the quote from The Jackal. That is what I responded to. Tracey should have at least checked the source before smearing someone’s name.

  24. Bill 24

    Seems a few people aren’t thinking straight. And I notice Lynn has banned a wee handful of them.

    Anyway. Maybe this will help some people get their heads around stuff.

    If I had been sixteen and at some organised event and ‘out of the blue’ got a kicking, then it would be entirely up to me whether the police were informed, or whether any parents or so on were informed.

    And I can’t imagine anyone (ie – people not there) jumping up and down and elevating some “because alcohol” above the fact of my kicking. And I can’t readily imagine that same general public trying to hold the organisers to account for the actual incident.

    Can’t imagine my dress sense (or probably lack thereof in my case) coming into it either.

    What makes me slightly uncomfortable is this apparent urge or acceptance to call in so-called professionals or experts – seemingly at the drop of a hat. Life happens. Some of it’s shit. Are we really, as a society, so helpless and clueless that every unpleasant something that may happen has to be fed through some over-arching process?

    I’m not suggesting no-one (ie – an agency or whatever) is called in over anything, ever. But yeah…sitting as it seems to be being positioned – as a default …I dunno, maybe the deep sense of disquiet and foreboding is just me?

    • tracey 24.1

      Given that Labour knows what it is up against in terms of Opposition ” tactics” I think offering professional support to victims was not only politically wise it was wise fullstop. Introducing an independent third party. Until you are assaulted it is hard to know how you will react AND having the name of a professional for later as your response to the incident may develop is crucial. If you dont need it. Yay. If you do…

      • Bill 24.1.1

        I don’t really care about the entity NZ Labour, or whatever other political entities or strategies they are up against.

        They want to get in professionals to save or run their public relations, then yeah…whatever.

        I fully take your point about the availability of counselling/support and agree it should be widely known about and easy to access for those people wanting or needing it.

        But just like informing the police and parents, that should (for the most part) be for individuals on the receiving end to decide about. But what I’m reading suggests something along the lines of “informal referral” being promoted as a norm – and that being done as much for the safety and well being of things other than the people on the receiving end of stuff.

        • tracey 24.1.1.1

          A 16 year old should ask Labour for professional help? Cmon Bill. Offer it and they can refuse but expect a sexual assault victim to be upfront and confident enough to ask for it?

          • Bill 24.1.1.1.1

            No. I don’t think a sixteen year old “should” ask NZ Labour for help. I think a sixteen year old “should” choose between approaching some counselling or support body – or not.

            And I absolutely do not think NZ Labour or any other org. “should” do the paternalistic soft shoe shuffle and (quoting from Carolyn nths comment above) “bring in the professionals”.

            • tracey 24.1.1.1.1.1

              Then we are actually in agreement Bill. I didnt see tgat as your point. Sorry.

            • Matthew Whitehead 24.1.1.1.1.2

              …you seem to have things a bit reversed there, Bill.

              Survivors shouldn’t have to ask for help, but Labour has a duty to be there for them given this happened under their watch. As long as they still want to talk to people in the Party about it, the Party should offer them any support it can, and they should be taking advice from people who do know their shit on these issues. (and by which, I mean know how to actually help people, not know how to sweep it under the rug effectively)

              And yeah, if they say they’ll get help elsewhere or another way, then that’s when your suggestion that they get to choose is valid, because counseling doesn’t actually work if you don’t volunteer for it.

              Have you ever actually had counseling for anything, Bill? Because if you haven’t, I would politely suggest this may just be something where you don’t understand the value of a thing until you’ve needed it yourself. I’ve had it, (not for this reason, thank god, but for others) and it was incredibly helpful. I can’t imagine someone surviving any sort of experience that can impact their mental health without it.

              It actually sounds like the only thing they arguably did wrong was not seeking permission to tell an anonymized version of the story to the PM, so she could be on top of any changes that needed to happen within the organization as a whole, but apparently that was on advice, so I’ll shelve that objection for now, with the understanding that it comes back up if it turns out that advice was BS, or given in good faith but wrong.

              • Bill

                No. I don’t think I’ve got anything reversed at all Matthew.

                Something shit happened at an event organised by Young Labour. Ardern is saying NZ Labour should have called in the professionals. And I’m calling bullshit on that approach.

                Someone should have checked in on the people the shit happened to and asked if they were okay. (As far as I can make out, that happened) If they said they were okay, then sure, drop some contact details on them anyway that they might find useful in three weeks, two months or three years time.

                If any of them had said they were feeling a bit fucked up, then that’s the point at which the person or org approaching them contemplates options…such as calling in support services or actively helping the person to contact services.

                But even the merest hint of suggesting someone ought to seek or accept support “because” is in and of itself disempowering and potentially damaging.

                Just to be clear here – asking if someone wants to speak to someone is absolutely different to presenting them and their situation up to some “professional” process…which is the track Jaccinda Ardern appeared to be sign-posting in the interview linked above where she talks of “bringing in the professionals”

    • lprent 24.2

      And I notice Lynn has banned a wee handful of them.

      Just the usual – anyone doing troll like comments with fake ‘questions’ that are assertions, false assertions of fact, and trying to just smear with trigger meme words without stating the basis for the opinion underlying it.

      Quite noticeable how fast the dialogue improved as I started to massively over-react to repeated attempts with increasing ban lengths. I don’t care what anyone says. I still think that even internet trolls can learn if encouraged…

      I am now reduced to informing people about the legal limitations

      • weka 24.2.1

        I noticed a sharp improvement too. Also noted was how many people seem to think that framing their trolling as a question will get them a pass. Good to see some education around that.

        • lprent 24.2.1.1

          I tend to ignore framing (especially as patsy rhetorical ‘questions’) and just look at what people actually said. I find that this abbreviates the amount of work I have to do whilst moderating.

          Generally with me around it is way safer to just state what you think than to use any tactical disassociation. I respect commentators right to be and idiot far more than I do for people dissembling to distance themselves from what they actually think.

          • Anon 24.2.1.1.1

            This sub thread is off topic, but, heavily moderating in itself dissuades people from frankness – you’ll push people towards the very thing you dislike.

            • Lara 24.2.1.1.1.1

              Bullshit Anon.

              A lack of moderation allows the lowest common denominator to reign. And pushes out the voices of more vulnerable.

              Which for the topic of sexual assault and how we talk about it, is a very relevant fact.

              I have my own professional websites which have comment sections. I practice very heavy moderation. I have a clear goal, to create a space where people can share their ideas in my field without fear of being flamed or personally attacked. Even if their ideas are left field. And it works.

              I know from 10 years of experience that moderation, heavy moderation, works very well indeed. Because I’ve managed to create a small community of professionals by using it.

              • lprent

                All too true. We actually ran with no moderation in 2007 and early 2008 because of the naive ideological considerations of the author group then. It was an unmitigated disaster with teams of trolls organised from Whaleoil and Kiwiblog deliberately astroturfing the comments sections to the lowest common denominator – themselves.

                It also took several years to remove the trolls who became accustomed to crapping all over the site.

                What we run now is a compromise between having free and easy access and keeping readable open robust debate.

                We allow anyone to comment with pseudonymous very easily. Far more easily than sites like Whaleoil and Kiwiblog or many of the sites around which require traceable email addresses. The bots (the usual excuse for collecting emails) are kept out using some pretty basic technology. This allows for a robust debate.

                In turn we expect commentators to be aware of the types of restrictions we place on commenting behaviour. If they don’t the moderators (or at the very least me) will deliberately and maliciously over-react on the basis that people who don’t respect the place that they comment obviously don’t want to be there. And we will tend to act according to the level of overall level of misbehavior because it tends to comes in cycles depending on the political topics of the day.

                Moderation has tended to deliver some readable and often quirky and amusing debates where people aren’t shy about putting forward their opinions, but are usually aware that they don’t want to drive the moderators to feel like they need to rouse themselves to do some work. Unlike yesterday, when we got too much work and the educational bans started to get very long very fast.

              • Anon

                You’ve ignored the context Lara, I was replying to Iprents position – not moderating in general. When people want to say something, and they can’t, that’ll lead to things like “dissembling to distance themselves from what they actually think.” – otherwise they might well have just said what they thought.

                • Lara

                  No I did not ignore the context at all. More BS Anon.

                  In this context it is even MORE important that moderation is heavy. Very heavy.

      • Stunned Mullet 24.2.2

        “I am now reduced to informing people about the legal limitations”

        Well to be precise your interpretation of the legal limitations.

        • lprent 24.2.2.1

          Oh agreed.

          The nice thing about it is that the only way to effectively nay say that is to actually read the legislation and find out if I am correct or not. After all, this is all written down.

          Of course I usually am right because I try to keep an eye on it. So checking is just an educational experience for everyone. Either you do the work to show that I am wrong and convince me that I was, or you learn that you were wrong.

          • Anon 24.2.2.1.1

            Legislation is written down, but often not in a layman accessible form – /especially/ given case law etc /also/ forms a basis of our legislation.

  25. mary_a 25

    My thoughts are with the young victims of this awful event. No one should be subject to perverted behaviour of any kind, particularly vulnerable youth attending what should be remembered as a rewarding learning experience. Unfortunately for four members attending, this was not the case, due to what I consider poor supervision and failed safety procedures to protect them.

    IMO the Labour Party hasn’t handled this issue well. Maybe not intentionally, but possibly because not being in the position to adequately deal with what seems like an alcohol fuelled sexual assault. In this case I feel professional assistance should have been initiated earlier.

    It seems msm is having a field day with this, as is Judith Collins wading in for political gain.

    NZH in murky tabloid fashion is asking for anyone with more information to get in contact. Not what I consider a good move.

    This is not helping the young victims involved, who are bearing the brunt of what occurred at the camp. Instead of making a political meal of this, media and National politicians should be aware of the negative effects unnecessary dirty politicking will have on the youth concerned. Respect for the vulnerable teenagers is paramount here. Publish what happened, but restrain from turning it into a political sideshow, which it is becoming!

    • Anne 25.1

      Good thoughts mary_a.

      It needs to be borne in mind most victims of sexual assault, rape and other acts of terrorising-type behaviour are initially too frightened to tell the police or if they are young and still at home… even their parents. They feel this way because of the negative responses to such reports over so many decades. If you were a woman you were almost always disbelieved or at best… it was assumed you asked for the behaviour. The end result was further ‘punishment’ and humiliation which is the very last thing any victim feels they could bearably tolerate.

  26. Siobhan McCormack 26

    This sounds like one pretty messed up individual, who was probably drunk as and/or lurking in an environment where he knew his potential victims would be drinking, as would the hosts, allowing him to assault freely without being observed.

    Most importantly he is clearly an individual who needs help urgently.

    There is no point talking about ‘Rape’ and how to deal with sexual assault if the conversation and planning doesn’t include the perpetrators.
    How to help them, and how to include them in society in a safe manner.

  27. Matthew Whitehead 27

    BTW, probably a good time to re-up something Stephanie Rodgers (yes, previously an author here) posted to Twitter the other day- just because you’ve been part of the problem in the past, doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the solution. If anyone’s feeling defensive, here is an excellent article about how you deal with that situation productively:

    https://www.spin.com/2018/01/dan-harmon-sexually-harassment-community-writer-megan-ganz-podcast/

  28. xanthe 28

    lest we forget

  29. Macro 29

    Now is a good time for the underlying issues around sexual violence in our community to be properly addressed. There are some very good programmes around addressing some of these issues but there needs to be a more centralised and co-ordinated approach and that requires proper funding and not left to individual programmes around the country.
    What is needed is:
    ➜ Universal and best-practice sexuality education in all schools, including education on healthy relationships and consent;

    ➜ There is enough government funding available for nationwide coverage of culturally-appropriate and properly resourced specialist sexual violence support services to provide 24/7 early intervention following recent sexual assault and ongoing acute interventions when needed;

    ➜ We have accessible, free, best-practice and culturally appropriate services for self-referral by people who are at risk of causing harm and want to change their behaviour in all our cities and towns.
    ActionStation New Zealand has an on-line petition which addresses the above issues
    here:

    • tracey 29.1

      Such excellent suggestions Macro. Pretty simple too, it just needs the political will to fund it and stand toe to toe with shrinking part of the population that are too prissy for this.Watch many problems dissipate if we do;

      sexually inappropriate behaviour
      rape
      racism
      bullying
      etc…

  30. tracey 30

    At some point we might want to consider putting some stuff in place to break the cycle.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/102219143/christchurch-boys-high-school-pupil-posted-video-of-teacher-on-porn-website

    Let’s hear the same cries of “blame the parents” we do when poor brown people’s children do bad.

    • chris73 30.1

      Agreed, poor parenting is poor parenting no matter who you are

    • And there’s a-fuckin-nother one:

      …the school made the ministry aware it was “dealing with issues regarding the use of cell phones”.

      Listen up, dimshits: the actual issues have nothing whatsoever to do with the use of cellphones.

  31. JohnSelway 31

    This was just in the news. I hope they get to the bottom of all this

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/another-assault-earlier-labour-youth-event-revealed

  32. Ffloyd 32

    So. A victim reached out to Megan Woods about assault but not his/her parents, or police , or people on site. Weird or not?
    Four people molested! What was going on?. Nothing about this makes sense. Might need to delve back into Young Nats parties where they lauded their abilities to get young girls high on Champagne and get them to go ‘girl on girl’s while they lounged back and watched. Maybe they if kyou are rich and connected this is totally pk

  33. Ffloyd 33

    Ok Can’t edit but you get the gist. Something rotten in the state of Denmark. Who was this person who wasn’t a young labour person? Four people is a bit over the top.

  34. rhinocrates 34

    Serve revenge cold, but eat crow hot.

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