Target: Withdraw Grand Theft Auto 5 – this sickening game encourages players to commit sexual violence and kill women
Nicole Survivor - Australia
It’s a game that encourages players to murder women for entertainment. The incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get ‘health’ points – and now Target are stocking it and promoting it for your Xmas stocking.
This is Grand Theft Auto 5. This game means that after various sex acts, players are given options to kill women by punching her unconscious, killing with a machete, bat or guns to get their money returned.
Please Target – we appeal to you as women survivors of violence, including women who experienced violence in the sex industry, to immediately withdraw Grand Theft Auto V from sale.
We have firsthand experience of this kind of sexual violence. It haunts us, and we’ve been trying to rebuild our lives ever since. Just knowing that women are being portrayed as deserving to be sexually used by men and potentially murdered for sport and pleasure – to see this violence that we lived through turned into a form of entertainments is sickening and causes us great pain and harm.
This game spreads the idea that certain women exist as scapegoats for male violence. It shows hatred and contempt for women in the sex industry and puts them at greater risk. Women in the industry are 40 times more likely to be murdered by a man than any other group of women.
Games like this are grooming yet another generation of boys to tolerate violence against women. It is fuelling the epidemic of violence experienced by so many girls and women in Australia – and globally.
Target, you pride yourself on being a family company, caring for local communities, and have a strong ethical sourcing policy. How can you do this while contributing to hostile and callous attitudes toward victims of violence and, more broadly, to all women?
We urge you to follow the example set by the New Zealand’s largest retailer, NZ Warehouse Group, in upholding Corporate Social Responsibility and ethical corporate leadership, by removing these games.
This would also set an example to other stockists of GTA V.
Please put ethics before profits and make a strong statement that you do not condone sexual violence, sexual exploitation or the abuse of women as ‘entertainment’.
You can also leave a comment on Target’s Facebook. Let them know you don’t think GTAV helps ‘spread Christmas cheer’.
‘How evil should a video game allow you to be’, The New Yorker
Last month, a user on a Grand Theft Auto V forum asked whether players would be able to rape women in the game. In the post, which was widely shared on social media, he wrote, “I want to have the opportunity to kidnap a woman, hostage her, put her in my basement and rape her everyday, listen to her crying, watching her tears.”
This week marked the International Day For the Elimination of Violence Against Women. If any voices should be heard at this time, it is those of survivors. Here are two, addressing the physical, mental, emotional, and financial costs of the harm done to them by male abusers.
Sexual assault has robbed me of my confidence and my self-esteem. My dignity, my autonomy and my self-respect. My faith in myself and my faith in the world have been decimated
On Wednesday, the 21st of May, the man who raped me was sentenced. Four years, four months and four days after the assault took place. In the end, he did not face charges of rape – the two charges of rape were dropped and the Prosecution accepted a plea deal from the Defense for the accused to plead guilty to one charge of “indecent assault”.
At the plea hearing, I read a Victim Impact Statement to the court. I have posted my statement below.
A Victim Impact Statement is the sole space where the criminal justice system allows the victim of a crime – or the Crown Witness in Victoria’s criminal justice system – to speak of how the crime has affected them. Victims can choose to read their statement to the court themselves or have it read for them by the Prosecutor.
I chose to attend the court and read my statement myself. My family came with me for support and my mum also read a victim impact statement to the court – reflecting on the impacts she had noticed in me and also on the impacts the crime had on our entire family.
It was a distressing experience. Also present in the court were the accused, his legal team, the prosecution, the judge and her staff, journalists and my entire family. To stand up and speak of how my life has been ruined, how I have been crushed, by sexual assault before this group of people was one of the most intimidating and vulnerable things I have ever done. It is not often that we reveal our suffering plainly, explicitly before an audience. To do so publicly, and before the very person who caused that suffering, was distressing and somewhat humiliating.
However, I chose to speak my statement myself because I wanted my words to be my own. I didn’t want them coming out of someone else’s mouth. I didn’t want them spoken by someone who has not lived what I have, who has not been subject to sexual assault, who could not know what I am trying to convey. I wanted to claim this one paltry opportunity provided in the criminal justice system to be heard as a victim and to speak for myself.
It’s hard to know what the value of a Victim Impact Statement is, whether it makes any difference. But when the system has so little time or care for victims this is our one chance and I was grateful for the opportunity it provided, even if I am still reeling from the experience of delivering it.
The impacts of sexual assault for me have been devastating, profound and far-reaching. They have impacted every area of my life and every part of my self.
Almost immediately after the sexual assault, the losses started and to this day I continue to be held back and limited in my life because of the impacts of sexual assault.
First of all I lost my home. Rae Street, my home, was also the place that the sexual assault took place and, to this day, that area remains a place of terror and distress to me. I managed to return to that house only a few times after the assault. Within days of the assault I knew that I would have to move out, leaving my friends, my housemates and an area I loved. My family had to move my belongings from the house because I could not manage even that, the associations were so negative and fearsome.
I lost my career. At first, I took 5 weeks off work. Then I tried to return part time. But it quickly became clear that I was in no state of mind to manage even that. The impacts of trauma were so invasive and so omnipresent that I could no longer carry out my job. As a manager my role entailed responsibility and high-level decision-making. It was a stressful and demanding position, full of challenges. I had thrived on those challenges. But now, trauma prevented me from accomplishing even the most basic tasks. I would jump if the phone rang. I would try to work but flashbacks and intrusive thoughts prevented me from concentrating. As a result, I felt I had no choice but to resign from my position while I sought help to heal my mind and my body.
That was only the beginning of my professional losses, however. About a month before the sexual assault I had applied for a scholarship with the French government for a teaching position in France. A few months after the assault I received notification that I had been awarded a scholarship. A teaching position in Paris. Had I not been assaulted this would have been a dream come true. Something I had long wanted to do. However, I was no longer in a position to take up such an exciting opportunity. I had to turn it down. All because I no longer believed I could be safe. All because, with the traumatised condition I was in, I knew I couldn’t survive without the constant loving support of my family. I needed the familiarity of my childhood home, the security of my family’s unwavering assistance and the relative safety of a country in which my extensive support networks could be constantly about me. There was no longer any way I could move to the other side of the world. Losing this opportunity still devastates me today and will remain a life-long disappointment for me.
To this day – nearly four and a half years since the assault – I have not been able to work full-time. The physical and psychological impacts of the assault continue to interfere in my daily life and prevent me from achieving what used to come so easily. I do not know when I will be in a position to return to full-time work.
Not being able to work full-time for over four years now has had a significant financial impact – severely restricting my earning capacity and costing me tens of thousands of dollars in lost income. It has meant that at different times during the past four and a half years since the assault I have been dependent on family or on welfare to support me. However, it has also exacted a huge personal cost. Not being able to work full-time is humiliating and distressing. Full-time employment is not just a way to make a living, it is a way to participate in and contribute to the world.
I see a psychiatrist every month for support with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress. The hyper-vigilance, the repetitive and intrusive thoughts, the flashbacks, sleeplessness, insomnia, nightmares, difficulties in concentration, memory problems – all of these are things I struggle with on a daily basis. I continue to rely on psychiatric medications to support me to manage these symptoms. The persistence and invasiveness of post-traumatic stress wears me down and consumes so much of my energy that full-time work is not a possibility.
However, my career is not the only thing I have lost as a consequence of sexual assault and the symptoms of post-traumatic stress. I have also lost my social life. Before the assault I had an active and vibrant social life. Spending time with friends, going out, socialising – these were things I took completely for granted. They were a normal and completely unremarkable part of life. This is no longer the case. Since the assault, I have lost my social life and the inability to socialise freely and regularly has meant that in many ways I have lost my social networks.
So much of my life revolves around negotiating the impacts of sexual assault, of coping with post-traumatic stress and of trying to keep myself safe and well. All this takes up time and energy – time and energy which, prior to the assault, would have gone to work and to my social life.
But it’s also more complicated than that. Sexual assault has robbed me of my confidence and my self-esteem. My dignity, my autonomy and my self-respect have all been compromised as a result of the crime carried out against me. My faith in myself and my faith in the world have been decimated.
I struggle to believe I have anything to offer my friends anymore. I am not the person I was before the assault and I will never be the same as a result of what has been done to me. I struggle to remember what life was like when things like safety could be taken for granted. I am afraid I cannot live up to the expectations of those who knew me before. I struggle to connect to people in good faith and to trust them. I constantly wonder if the people around me mean well or mean me harm. I struggle to find the energy, on so many days, to fight through the difficulties sexual assault has created for me and reach out to others. Solitude and isolation too often seem like the safe option, the safest option and so, social isolation has become yet another reality of life for me since the assault.
It has not all been bleak. I have found ways to cope and I have had the extraordinary good fortune to have a supportive and loving family who have unwaveringly stood by me. I have had excellent professional support, too. However, the impacts of sexual assault continue to affect me, years after the assault, on a daily basis. Not a day goes by when what was done to me does not interfere with my life or limit the life I lead in some way. Sexual assault has cost me profoundly, in many ways, and has set my life on a completely different course from the one it would have taken, had I not been assaulted. I have lost so much and many of those losses cut right to the core of who I am and can never be undone.
For information about Victim Impact Statements and services for victims of crime in Victoria you can go here.
Consider the huge financial burden of putting women back together
An estimated 198,000 sexual assaults [occurred in 2011 in Australia], the vast majority of which were against women. The average medical cost for those injured was $950 per incident. The estimated total cost of sexual assault, including those not reported to police was $775 million.
As a survivor of sexual violence, I read with great interest. One line in particular stood out to me:
‘The average medical cost for those injured was $950 per incident.’
I recalled my own personal history and the lengthy process of working towards healing, and the costs associated with recovery, $950 seemed low. (Of course, the financial costs for victims of rape and sexual assault are often far greater than merely medical as the account above shows).
In the process of obtaining a restraining order against the man who had abused me for almost a year, I incurred legal bills totaling almost $4000. My parents came up with the money somehow, as I was a traumatized nineteen year old university student and my few shifts a week in a fast food chain didn’t cover much more than petrol money.
Therapy, extending over twelve years and three psychologists totalled about $6000.
I spent hundreds on a variety of antidepressant medications, including Zoloft, Pritiq, Escitalopram that GPs offered me as I struggled with depression.
At one point, my husband resigned from his job in a leadership role to stay home and care for our children because I could no longer function. This was around the time when I had finally reported my abuser. After months of going back and forth with police, they concluded that because the perpetrator was exercising his legal right to remain silent, they did not have enough evidence to charge him.
Our family survived on a carer’s pension during this period while my husband played the roles of both father and mother and I just slept and slept. I recall one day her came into our room, gently woke me and said,”It’s 4pm, maybe you should get up?”
We had hoped to spend more time on my recovery, on slowly building my strength back up and taking on some of my regular tasks again. However, circumstances necessitated my husband get back into the workforce sooner than we had anticipated, when our landlord significantly raised the rent and we could no longer afford it. After applying for ten different properties and being rejected from all, it was clear we could not keep a roof over our heads without my husband resuming full time employment, which he did. By this point, of course, we were in a pretty desperate situation and my husband had to accept a job with a $20000 pay cut. We didn’t have the luxury of being picky.
There were appointments with the psychiatrist, ten years later, who finally diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which I had been living with ever since the abuse without knowing there was a name for it. Throw in a few hundred dollars for those appointments.
I was fortunate to be accepted into a clinical study where researchers at a hospital in the city had been awarded a substantial government funding to study different treatments for PTSD. I was one of nineteen people who participated in the study and received treatment. Six weeks of intensive treatment, including PET scans and MRI scans to record any changes to the brain throughout and after the process was competed.
Hospital appointments and follow up appointments every three months. How many thousands of dollars were spent there?
At the time, I lived in a regional area, hours from the city. My petrol costs driving to and from the city each week came to around $2000.
Then there was the day when I couldn’t bear it any longer and I overdosed on pills, landing myself in the hospital attached to a cardiac monitor. Who knows how much that cost?
That year of sexual abuse has taken a massive toll on myself and my family, emotionally and financially. While I wasn’t personally covering every cost outlined above, someone was – whether it was Medicare, government grants, my parents.
We cannot underestimate the cost of rape, sexual assault and violence against women. Consider the huge financial burden of putting women back together. I can’t help but wonder what the world might look like if we hadn’t been broken in the first place.
On the ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women’ it is important to reflect on the ongoing sexist violence, as well as the campaigns to end it. Violence against women is on the rise in a number of countries around the world. Australia is no exception with sexual violence at epidemic levels – double the world average. Activism against sexist violence is needed now more than ever. This year, Collective Shout has successfully challenged this on a number of fronts. There have been successful campaigns that have confronted sexual objectification of girls and women and the violence that too often follows.
Some highlights of the most recent campaigns include the success against Wicked Camper vans, which featured slogans like ‘in every princess there is a little slut who wants to try it just once’. The petition against Wicked vans, led by Sydney activist Paula Orbea, gathered 120’000 supporters across the globe calling to remove the degrading text. Another successful collaborative campaign has brought light on the violent strategies of ‘dating coach’ Julien Blanc who encouraged men to grab and even throttle women on dates.
Collective Shout is one of the few organisations that bridges the gap between acts of violence against women and a wider culture of sexual objectification of girls and women.
Victorian Chief Commissioner of Police Ken Lay recently spoke out against violence against women and the objectifying culture behind it. He successfully summed it up by saying:
“The casual groping, the sick sense of entitlement, the disrespect — all of it slowly erodes our attitudes towards women. Bit by bit our standards are lowered until this kind of behaviour becomes a form of endorsement of violence towards women.”
Most people will agree that violence against women is a serious issue. Many of us agree with the World Health Organization that states, “violence against women is a global health problem of epidemic proportion” While physical violence against girls and women are often admonished, the link with the wider culture of sexual objectification is not always clearly defined. In fact, the link between violence against women and objectification is at times outright denied.
Fuelling this denial is a number of unrelenting myths that circumvent the role of objectification in a culture of sexist violence. These myths often centre on the idea that girls and women either choose or lie about sexual objectification and violence. For the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women’ Collective Shout is naming and challenging a number of these myths:
‘She chose it’
The idea that girls and women are ‘attention seeking’ or ‘choose’ to be objectified is a way of shoring up victim blaming, it’s a kind of ‘she asked for it’ in different terminology. Hundreds of media reports show those who sexually exploit children are often defended as if it was the child’s ‘choice’. A similar case of a child’s sexual exploitation was justified as the victim was apparently sexualised, wearing a midriff top. We live in a world where girls and women are under more pressure than ever to conform to sexually objectifying standards, free choice is increasingly constrained. The conflating of sexual objectification with ‘choice’ is an all too common myth.
‘She is lying’
Another dangerous myth is that women are often lying or exaggerating about violence or sexual violence. Those who report sexual violence are treated as suspicious, victims are often just not believed. Statistics show that 1 in 3 women experience some kind of violence or sexual violence worldwide. Such a common experience yet so frequently it is denied or downplayed. This leads to a lack of convictions as well as public bullying of victims of violence; such as Steubenville rape victim Jane Doe who was relentlessly abused online after her sexual assault became known. The undermining of women’s reality and experience is one of the many outcomes of sexual objectification. When a woman is reduced to an object for consumption, her experience is questioned, denied and even ridiculed.
Sexual objectification creates a culture of impunity toward violence against girls and women. One where abusers feel justified because ‘she wanted it’. And one where girls feel disallowed to speak out because they are seen as mere objects. Objectification not only undermines gender equality but also thwarts efforts to reduce issues like violence against women. As documentary maker Jean Kilbourne said “turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person.” The focus needs to shift, instead of scrutinising or blaming the girls and women affected, we must scrutinise the culture and industry that makes sexual objectification so widely accepted and increasingly expected of girls and women. The myths that uphold sexual objectification need to be confronted and challenged everywhere they occur.
It is important that we collectively take action against perpetrators – not only the individuals who commit violent crimes, but also the retailers, the businesses, the industry regulators who profit from a culture of objectification and violence against women. Criticising individual perpetrators must go hand in hand with challenging the industries that profit from and propagate this culture. Industry regulators, like the Advertising Standards Board must be questioned and challenged in order to drive change. Collective Shout puts this activism front and centre of the fight to end violence against women.
Collective Shout is an activist movement to end sexual objectification and the violence against women that too frequently follows it. Importantly, it situates activism in the broader culture of sexual objectification. Sexual objectification is a crucial piece of the puzzle for tackling violence against girls and women.
While sexual violence is at epidemic levels, Collective Shout is making significant headway to challenge these issues. We need your support to continue, if you want to stand up and add your voice to the collective movement you can do so here.
Laura McNally is a psychologist, consultant, author and PhD candidate. Her current research examines the political and social implications of global corporate social responsibility. She can be found atlauramcnally.com
You may have heard about the misogynist antics of self-proclaimed “pick-up artist” and Real Social Dynamics (RSD) coach, Julien Blanc, whose recommendations for picking up women include grabbing women’s throats and pushing their faces into your crotch. Or you may have heard the sexist lyrics promoted by American entertainer, Redfoo, in his new single “Literally, I Can’t,” wherein women are encouraged to perform “girl on girl” for men at parties and, when they refuse, are instructed to “shut the fuck up.” If, like me, you walked away feeling offended by the actions of these men — I’m pleased to report that you were not alone.
Over the last month, both Blanc and Redfoo have been widely criticized by feminist activists and bloggers throughout Australia and North America. Recently, Blanc’s Visa was cancelled in Australia when a group of protesters picketed outside the venue where he was set to give one of his controversial RSD seminars — a protest that was spurred on by the hashtag, #takedownjulienblanc. Redfoo’s latest video sparked the hashtag #shutthefooup and prompted a Change.org petition demanding his dismissal as a judge from X Factor Australia.
I get excited to create things that will unite all of us through laughter, dance & celebration. If during the process I offend anyone, I apologize from the bottom of my heart. In the future I will be more mindful of the way I present my art.
Following Redfoo’s vague apology for his “excited” behaviour and contentious “art,” Blanc also issued an apology during an interview on CNN. In one excerpt of the five minute conversation, Blanc nervously says:
Like, I feel horrible. I’m not going to be happy to be the most hated man in the world. I’m overwhelmed by the way people are responding. With those pictures there that you’re referring to, of again, like, choking women, um, I just want to make that clear, that is not what I teach. Like, … those pictures right there, those were a horrible, horrible attempt at humour. Um, you know, it’s… you know, they were also, like, taken out of context…
On the surface, both Blanc and Redfoo appear to address the public’s concerns, but a closer inspection of their “apologies” reveals that the main reason they are sorry is because they feel they are either being misinterpreted or condemned. Indeed, while both Blanc and Redfoo use the words “sorry” and “apology” in their statements, what’s actually missing from their apologies is the apology itself.
In his memoir, The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch explains that there are three parts to giving a sincere apology: Identifying what you did wrong, assuring the offended party that you will not repeat your misbehaviour, and finally (and perhaps most importantly), asking what you can do to make it better. Both Blanc and Redfoo’s apologies fall short of providing what I consider to be a sincere apology, as they fail to critique (or understand the critique of) their misogynist behaviour and, as a consequence, cannot actually commit to changing their actions and making amends.
The lack of critical reflection in both Blanc and Redfoo’s ttempts to clarify their position shows how little they understand or care about the response to (or the impact of) their behaviour. Rather than discussing the systemic problem of men’s violence against women, which is where the vast majority of feminist activists are citing concern, both men hide behind the argument that their messages were taken “out of context” and claim they have been “misrepresented” — taken seriously when really it was all in good fun.
On Twitter, Redfoo accuses his critics of having an “agenda” and of failing to understand the supposedly “satirical” nature of his music, gaining the support of one Australian shock-jock who, during an interview with Redfoo, calls critics of his new song, “dickheads,” “do-gooder idiots,” and “Tupperware-collecting party-poopers.”*
Blanc also issues an apology that references “humour” as a way of, at least partially, justifying his actions, explaining that the offensive pictures of him on social media, some of which allude to sexually violent acts, were simply “taken out of context” and were intended to be funny.
Hiding behind a thin veil of humour to justify one’s misogyny is not new. Indeed, this notion has and been discussed at length by feminist writers such as Abigail Bray. In Misogyny Re-Loaded, Bray argues that, “if misogyny has a soundtrack it is canned laughter… Laughter instructs the audience that it is not only permissible to laugh at the oppression of women but that it is expected.”
Rather than apologizing and reflecting on the criticisms defining their actions as sexist and deplorable, Blanc and Redfoo minimize concern. Indeed, both men react with a sense of shock that their messages have caused outrage to begin with, with Blanc claiming he was “overwhelmed” by the attention his antics were receiving and Redfoo saying, “I don’t know how rape culture and Redfoo got into the same headline.” In an age where rape culture has become a topic for the lulz, perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised.
Because Blanc and Redfoo fail to identify, acknowledge, and discuss the factors that sparked outrage to begin with, they are incapable of sincerely promising to change. While both men do make references to modifying their future actions, they do so in a vague and superficial way. Redfoo ensures his fans that, he will be “more mindful” when presenting his “art” in future, while Blanc explains that he is walking away from this experience hoping to “re-evaluat[e] everything” he posts online.
But what exactly do their “mindful re-evaluations” entail? How can someone truly make amends when they have not even identified why their actions sparked outrage to begin with? As readers, feminists, bloggers, and survivors of men’s violence, we are left with a series of apologies that fail to address our concerns at all — and we deserve better. An insincere apology is worse than receiving no apology at all.
*Note: I have only ever attended one Tupperware party when I was seven. I was offered a zucchini quiche and at no point was I told to “shut the fuck up.” TUPPERWARE PARTIES ROCK.
(reprinted with permission of author) Natalie Jovanovski is a PhD Candidate and Feminist Researcher from Melbourne, Australia. Her research interests include the harms of sexual objectification, the cultural reinforcement of eating disorders, and the discursive portrayal of food in contemporary Western media.
‘I have lost count of how many women have told me they have been raped. All of the rapists have gotten away with it while the women are burdened with years of unspeakable shame and self-hatred – an explosive new manifesto against rape culture’ (extract from Misogyny Re-loaded)
This isn’t an issue of personal taste but taking responsibility for harm done to real women
News.com reports last tonight that Redfoo has ‘apologised’ to his fans after the backlash to his new track Literally I can’t (also see here). The message was posted on his Facebook page this yesterday afternoon. The message was for his ‘fans, friends and family’ (not, it seems, for the women and girls harmed by his message) who are ‘one in the same’ [sic] According to News:
“I love you all,” he writes.
“Over the years, you’ve connected with me through my music, art and our personal interactions. My greatest joy and mission from day one has been to entertain people from all walks of life: the kids, parents, teens, ladies, gentlemen, cops and even the robbers.
“I get excited to create things that will unite all of us through laughter, dance and celebration. If during that process I offend anyone, I apologize from the bottom of my heart. In the future I will be more mindful of the way I present my art.”
If Redfoo wants to “unite all of us through laughter, dance and celebration” he’s got a strange way of going about it. There’s nothing funny or celebratory in the rape culture promoting track. in which men yell at the women to ‘shut the f**k up’ for refusing their demands and ridiculed and harassed for saying ‘no’. As activist Jas Swilks, who launched the Change.org petition said, if he really respected women, as he claims, he shouldn’t have produced a video clip which showed the opposite. News also quotes me:
Ms Tankard Reist said Channel 7 shouldn’t provide a platform for someone who normalised sexism and intimidation of women.
She added as an X Factor judge and celebrity Redfoo had enormous influence and was helping perpetuate the notion that treating women like this was okay.
Redfoo doesn’t even mention the song, the outrage, the reason for the ‘apology’. He turns it into a matter of personal offence – “If…I offend anyone” – rather than an acknowledgement of the harms he has done in the name of his ‘art’ (including lyrics and video clip of this nature in the category ‘art’ is a discussion we’ll have to leave for another time). This isn’t about personal preference or taste. This is about acknowledging and owning the creation of a powerful message that women’s bodies exist for male gratification and pleasure, and that any woman who defies a man’s demands is to be harassed and worn down until she gives in, and that she is to be turned into porn in the process (Some of us are wondering how much RedTube paid for the product placement). There is an epidemic of violence against women which music like this feeds and fuels. Literally I can’t excuses and justifies male predatory behaviour. Redfoo has reduced a systemic issue into an issue of personal feelings – a common pattern of men who engage in misogynistic behaviours – not playing their part in collective responsibility.
We must continue to #shutthefooup and demand Channel 7 and X Factor cut ties. We’ve achieved almost 18,000 signatures on the petition now: how long before we get a response from them? If you agree that this is a crap excuse for an apology, sign the petition.
Sign the petition, tell Channel 7′s X Factor there’s no place on their show for men who promote rape culture and to cut ties with Redfoo
Jas Swilks/Collective Shout
“You’re an annoying slut cos you’re talking” – Red Foo
RedFoo has just released his new collaboration with Lil Jon, Play-N-Skillz and Enertia McFly ‘; named ‘’Literally, I Can’t.” In the video, a group of sorority girls are harassed and verbally assaulted, simply because they don’t want to drink or engage in certain activities such as ”girl on girl”. The young women are depicted as killjoys and labelled ”bitches” and ”sluts” for refusing to conform to the wishes of the male party goers.
When the women repeatedly make clear that they don’t want to have sex or drink, they are surrounded by a group of rowdy men who shout in their faces: ‘Shut the fk up”. One woman is pushed unwillingly onto the ground while Red Foo films for the porn site ”Redtube”. Other misogynistic lyrics included in the song include :
“You’re annoying b**** because you’re talking”
“Shhh, don’t talk about it be about it. Work it, twerk it and maybe I’ll tweet about it”
“Girl I’m sipping on this drink, trying to see what you got, not hear what you think.”
Issues within the music video/song include:
That men are encouraged to see women only as a form of sexual entertainment
That when a woman says “no’’, she is to be ridiculed and harassed
That the video encourages a culture in which campus/college assault is acceptable
That women’s right to refuse to participate is ’annoying’
That with the right amount of pressure a woman will always give in
RedFoo is a judge on Australia’s talent show, X Factor, a position which requires him to mentor contestants – often, young women. His offensive and misogynistic portrayal of women in his video clips and performances, disqualifies him from such a role.
This is not the first time Foo has been seen promoting bullying, harming and harassing women. In “New Thang’’, he lines up his female dancers before spanking their backsides and reducing them to objects for his pleasure:
You can be my new thang…
What’s that? It’s a GoPro?
So I can watch that back, HD, slo-mo
Clap clap, make it clap!
In the US, the Department of Justice estimate that 1 in 5 female students will be the victim of a sexual assault. ”Literally I Can’t” makes fun and perpetuates this.
Just recently, headlines were made when Columbian students protested against their universities failure to prosecute rapists. Women such as Emma Sulkowicz, who began the campaign, began carrying their mattresses around campus ; an act of support to all of the women abused while attending university.
How can the National Plan of Action to address violence against women succeed if we allow celebrities like Red Foo to be employed in positions of power?
Australian pick-up artist accused of sexual harassing, exposing himself to women: I reported him to Crimestoppers
By Dr Matthew Berryman
Following the online campaign started by Jennifer Li to #takedownjulienblanc, I’ve started looking into the world of “Real Social Dynamics” (RSD), the company Blanc is a part of, and I’m highly disturbed by what I have found. I’m sympathetic to young men who need confidence building and dating tips. I was a shy nerdy young man too. But there’s a massive world of difference between genuine advice and what RSD has to offer. It goes well beyond one video of Blanc doing his infamous “head on dick” sexual assault of Japanese women.
It includes everything from a culture of objectification of women through to making fun of people with disabilities (‘retarded’ in RSD language) to pick up.
The co-founder of RSD is Owen Cook, known as RSD Tyler. Here he appears to admit to raping a woman.
Here he is making a racist slur in a nightclub.
Here he is joking about killing a cat and then sexually assaulting its corpse.
Rape culture is part of the forum, from discussion of rape vans through to this comment on their forum – a sick attempt to justify rape.
“They dream about this. They wanna be tied up and fully succumb to your aggressive masculinity. They want you to push them against the wall, rip their clothes off, put her in a submissive position and call her bitch, slut, whore until their skull can’t take it anymore…”
“See as much as women wanna be raped, they also want to be made feel beautiful.”
It’s deeply disturbing how many members that RSD have, and their influence. Last I checked, their insider Facebook groups (now made private) had over 300 members for Brisbane and over 1000 for Sydney. RSD Tyler’s YouTube channel has over 95,000 subscribers, and RSD Julien’s over 43,000.
RSD Alex is an RSD trainer on the Gold Coast. One of his associates is Adrian James Holt, aka Adrian Van Oyen, a candid camera/prank ‘comedian’ with a history of harassing people on trains. Julien Blanc may have been deported but Holt and other Australian men continue to foment and spread pick-up culture activities here.
Some people must find this amusing as he has over a million subscribers. His method has since been adopted as a pick-up tactic by RSD members. Following his train videos video, Lipton decided for a reason I cannot fathom, to pay Holt, who they describe as a “hilarious YouTube sensation” for an advertisement for iced tea.
Shortly after that, in November 2013, Holt released this video where he tries to use sexual assault as a ‘pick-up’ strategy.
Not only is this totally unacceptable and unempathetic, it’s also a crime. I have alerted Queensland Crimestoppers to this with a report made yesterday. Astoundingly, the original copy of this video has had over 2.8 million views.
This whole misogynist “pick-up” agency material doesn’t just lessen women, but it lessens men, and it has to stop. I’m not saying this because I am of the “extreme left” (as one RSD troll said)—I’m just slightly left of centre, and this transcends politics, anyway. Nor is it because I’m pretending to be a nice guy in order to get laid—I’m happily married—it is important to respect others anyway, which may indeed get you noticed by women, but that’s besides the point. Nor is this about’ group think’, I’ve obviously thought about these issues on my own and then decided to campaign. This is all about respect and consent. It’s not hard to understand.
If you are a young man seeking advice, then don’t get it from Real Social Dynamics. There are proper counselling services out there, if you can’t get good advice from mates, or asking your mum (yes, put embarrassment aside for a few minutes, she has advice for you), or even a girl who you are just friends with. Yes guys can be just friends with a girl, and it’s how I got some of my best dating tips.
Dr Matthew Berryman is a loving husband and a dad to two daughters who he adores. By day he works in IT, at night he campaigns to make the world a better place.
‘Tutoring men in the ways of unprosecuted sexual assault’
Last night a bunch of would be Julien Blanc clones – unable to find a venue on land which would host them – went all-aboard the SS Sexual Assault, RSD pimps having fooled the Melbourne cruise company into thinking this was something other than a ‘My Dick Rules’ training session. But their floating boot camp, run by Max the Menace (Julien Blanc apparently in hiding somewhere – certainly not the Bayview Hotel which had thrown him out after this warning went around ) was ’sunk’ by protesters. It was a great night to be an on-line activist. I barely left my desk, glued to the live streaming twitter action led by those at the protest (special thanks to my youngest daughter who brought me food and hot tea – yes darling, you can have anything you want).
Max, no last name, described as Julien’s ‘assistant’, was quoted: “We were actually fearing our safety and that’s not cool”. A number of us acknowledged the irony of that – given the training sessions impart anti-women propaganda which makes women feel unsafe. (Excellent summary of the events of last night at Buzzfeed and backstory to the on-going protest at Junkie)
The focus now turns to upcoming events. Blanc already got away with an earlier session at Sydney Masonic Centre (note future conference organisers – boycott SMC). Future venues will be targeted (thanks to Mercure Brisbane for cancelling RSD’s choke-hold booking there). But, if Immigration Minister Scott Morrison were to actually believe in Section 501 of the Migration Act, then venues would become a moot point.
Under the character test in Australian law, you can have your visa cancelled if: “there is a significant risk that you will engage in criminal conduct in Australia; or harass, molest, intimidate or stalk another person in Australia; or vilify a segment of the Australian community; or incite discord in the Australian community or in a segment of that community; or represent a danger to the Australian community or to a segment of that community.” (highlighting mine).
‘Actively promoting the abuse of women degrades the dignity of our whole community’
Harassment, molestation, intimidation and stalking are all stock in trade for Julien and his gang! They are part of the tool kit. As Victorian Police Commission Ken Lay said today: “Actively promoting the abuse of women degrades the dignity of our whole community”.
How much more evidence does Morrison need before he does something? To make it easy, here’s some of the worst.
In this Tumblr ‘Tinder’s Finest Bachelors’, in a post titled ‘His Mother Must be Proud’, a ’20-something’ blogger exposes the methods and tactics of ‘dating coach’ aka entitled white male Blanc and his ‘stop waiting for permission to take what’s yours’ ideology. It is deeply disturbing but so revelatory I’m re-printing the bulk of it (trigger warning). See Blanc’s contempt for women in this text roll call of horrors in which he even pretends his father has just died and, later, that his sister has been raped, to elicit sympathy.
Then there’s the infamous Toyko abuse video which shows Blanc grabbing the heads of women and pulling them to his crotch, along with the Instagram flow chart of using intimidation and coercion to #makeherstay and the #chocking girlsaroundtheworld hashtag in which Blanc posts images of him putting his hands around women’s necks in a choke-hold while ‘sshhhing’ her. The original choking video was removed. Junkee provides another choking video here ). RSD also tried to delete ‘RSDJeffy’ teaching men how fake being ‘retarded’ before revealing the trick and asking her for a drink. However Matthew Berryman captured it before it was taken down.
I appeared on SBS ‘The Feed’ Wednesday with Jennifer Li, The American woman who initiated the original Change.org petition against venues hosting Blanc (now with almost 30,000 signatures) to talk about the #takedownjulienblanc campaign. I called on Morrison to revoke the visa.
Domestic violence campaigners and others concerned about the epidemic of violence against women in this country are calling on Morrison to expel Blanc. Our Government has a National Plan of Action to Address Violence Against Women at the same time as handing out visas to men to profit from promoting it.
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