When disgraced AFL player manager Ricky Nixon attacked his then fiancée Tegan Gould, he grabbed her by the throat, pushed her against a wall, hit her in the head then fled police custody. In her victim impact statement, Gould said the assault left her suffering headaches, bruises, nightmares, panic attacks, and that she was intimidated, paranoid, introverted. She said she lived in fear of him hurting her again. With five serious offences against him – along with a pattern of inappropriate behaviour towards women over time – what sentence was applied to Nixon? A grand total of 200 hours community service. Domestic violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and illness in women 15-45 years in Australia. It costs this country $8.1 billion a year, estimated to rise to $9.9 billion by 2012 if appropriate action isn’t taken. But even where guilty verdicts are achieved – which is rarely – the consequences seem minimal. When will these crimes against women be taken seriously? Here’s what I had to say on the subject on Channel 10’s The Project last night (starts at 3.46).
Ricky Nixon pleaded guilty to beating ex-fiancee Tegan Gould to ‘protect’ his and her family
But women’s advocate Melinda Tankard Reist said domestic violence was too serious an offence for perpetrators to be let off lightly.
“My fear is that this will send a message to other victims that domestic violence isn’t that serious – that if someone beats you, they will just get a community service,” she said yesterday.
“This is a vulnerable woman being attacked by an older man in a position of power and authority. It’s a concern when he gets off so lightly.” Full story here.
IT WAS International Women’s Day last Friday. We were supposed to celebrate but I struggled to get into party mood.
The 101st anniversary of the global event acknowledged the economic, political and social achievements of women. But the relentless onslaught of harms and injuries to women and girls continues and I wonder, has anything really changed?
Violence against women is a scourge on the planet. Millions of women and girls trafficked into sexual slavery, female genital mutilation, honour killings, dowry deaths, forced marriage, female foeticide and infanticide.
According to the UN, about 200 million girls in the world today are missing. India and China are believed to eliminate more baby girls than the number of girls born in the US each year.
Women and girls are ground down in so many parts of the world. They are at risk of violence at every stage of their lives: from conception to old age. That was vividly illustrated for me during a visit to a shelter for women and girls in Hyderabad, India. On the bottom level were the abandoned baby girls, many with broken limbs from being thrown on to garbage heaps. On the second were the abandoned pregnant girls and women. And on top were the discarded widows.
Every day some new atrocity against women and girls is reported. A 15-year-old girl in the Maldives was sentenced to 100 lashes. Why? Because she had pre-marital sex. Actually she was raped by her stepfather, who killed the resulting baby.
And of course the death by gang rape of 23-year-old medical student Jyoti Singh Pandey in New Delhi. Rape is the fastest-growing crime in India. Delhi’s police commissioner compared women being raped to men being pickpocketed.
The conviction rate for rapes in India in 2011 was just 26.4 per cent. That seems bad, doesn’t it? Compare it with 5.7 per cent of convictions in England and Wales. And in the US, 97 per cent of rapists will get off scot free.
Reeva Steenkamp’s death brought to light that one South African is woman killed every six hours by her partner.
In Australia, violence against women costs the taxpayer an estimated $13.6 billion. Yet the mistreatment of women is routinely used in entertainment, fashion and advertising, even treated as a laugh. At the Oscars, host Seth MacFarlane’s sang We saw your boobs, a song about all the women in the audience whose breasts he had seen on screen.
MacFarlane seemed to miss the rapes and bashings, but at least he got to see naked breasts.
Men’s T-shirts collapse rape into a punch line, with slogans like: “It’s not rape if you yell surprise” and “Relax it’s just sex”, depicting the bound body of a naked woman spattered in blood, sold in youth surf stores. Online retailer Amazon had shirts printed with “Keep calm and rape a lot”. Another in the same line says, “Keep calm and hit her”.
Zoo magazine, read by 28,000 boys aged 14-17 a month, features two halves of a woman and invites readers to describe what they’d like to do to the disembodied half they prefer. Zoo is sold in supermarkets.
Facebook promotes violence against women: “Cleaning foundation off your sword after a hard day of hunting sluts, Dragging sluts into your room unconscious in a sack, You know she’s playing hard to get when she takes out a restraining order, I like my women how I like my Scotch, 10 years old and locked in my basement” are some examples.
“Rape is such a strong word, I prefer struggle snuggle” was shared widely through social media not long ago.
Sexual assault worker Alison Grundy says: “If we continue to subject future generations of young men to great barrages of aggressive, misogynist, over-sexualised and violent imagery in pornography, movies, computer games and advertising, we will continue to see the rates of sexual violence against women and children that continue unabated today. Or worse.”
But there are signs of hope. Women and girls are pushing back and demanding change. We saw it in the streets of India. We saw it in the response to the shooting in Pakistan of Malala Yuousafzai, who was shot because she wanted to go to school.
One Billion Rising (representing the number of female victims of violence) events have been held around the world. In Melbourne last month survivors of sexual assault launched a new book of their stories “We will not go quietly”, speaking out against sexual violence.
International Women’s Day should be an opportunity not to shy away from the difficult ugly truths, or be overwhelmed and depressed, but to name and shame them, harness our anger and be part of the solution.
I’ll take mine dead, thanks. Horror porn is not ironic.
[Trigger warning for victims of violence]
When you look at this image, what do you see? An ambigious, complicated narrative? A post-modern analysis of culture? A man who loves his mothers and sistas?
And what about this one? Do you see poetic form? Linear narrative fantasy?
How about this? Satire? Irony? A work of art?
These are the kinds of descriptions being employed to justify Kanye West’s Monster video clip, lyrics and general body of work. (You can find some of this analysis here and here).
When I see these images, I see violence against women. I see glamourised misogyny and eroticised violence. I don’t see Kanye’s carnival of carnage as an art form or as post-modern cultural commentary.
These images and more are available on-line (leaked version, no, I’m not providing the link) and coming to a TV screen near you when Kanye West’s almost 18-minute Monster video clip is officially released at any time.
Here’s another image.
That last one is from a ‘Behind the scenes’ You Tube clip. That’s Rick Ross by the way, tucking into a plate of raw meat while taking in the view of a spreadeagled dead woman on the table. Looks like those rappers had a blast making the Monster vid. I tried hard to see the satire but couldn’t find it.
Monster is a track on Kanye’s new album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy which went platinum yesterday. His fans are calling him the best rap artist in history and a “genius.”
King Kanye has produced a carnage of female corpses, brutality, death. It is horror porn.
The Monster video depicts scenes of a murderous rampage with most of the dead being women. Dead women in lingerie swing from chains around their necks. Naked female corpses adorn the furniture. Two other female bodies are joined by West in bed. He kisses one. There are overtones of necrophilia.
Having viewed the preview and the behind the scenes clip, (which I first wrote on ABC The Drum/Unleashed) , I had wondered whether the full length version could possibly be more chilling. It is. There is the decapitated woman’s head scene (above). Nicki Minaj is a sword wielding dominatrix, terrorising her (at times) hooded female tulle-attired victim (Minaj doubles as both). Nothing like a bit of women-on-women violence to liven things up.
One exception to the dead-bitches-are-the-best theme is what appears to be a young boy being devoured by two female-like creatures. Of course this is to be condemned also.
The album’s one million sales will no doubt drive even more interest in the Monster video. Which makes the petition we have going against it even more important.
Universal Shame: Act to prevent the release of this monstrous video
Sharon Haywood and I started a petition sponsored by Adios Barbie, Collective Shout, and the Coalition Against Trafficking Australia, (since also sponsored by Coalition Against Trafficking International and Media Watch) calling on Universal Music Group to withdraw the video.
The petition is directed to CEO/Chairman of Universal Music Group Doug Morris (email@example.com) and CEO of MTV Judy McGrath. (firstname.lastname@example.org). It can be found here . (You can also read an interview with Sharon Haywood about the campaign, at this link ).
We believe that the mainstreaming of videos like this increases desensitized and callous attitudes toward violence against women. Young people are seeing images and absorbing harmful messages which glamorise misogyny and brutalise women. Women are reduced to sex-doll like playthings. The Monster video conveys a message that women are slaves and bitches who can service a man’s sexual needs, even when they are dead. Men are brutal and dominant, and have no empathy for women. Men enjoy dead women as sex and entertainment.
We decided to run this campaign because we wanted to challenge the status quo – the increasingly common view that women’s pain and suffering is perfect for entertainment.
We believe West’s work will contribute to a culture that is already dangerous for women and girls. West just paid $200,000 for a custom- made watch made with his face on it . Think what that could do to address violence against women. Violence against women we believe his work is contributing to.
Bitches are only good for three things
Violent lyrics, combined with brutal visuals, are socialising young people and helping form their view on relationships and sexuality. Monica R, commenting on the Care2 petition site, wrote on the weekend:
…I am in the hood Monday through Friday. I teach there, in a very rough zip code. This crap is the ONLY music these kids listen to, so it has everything to do with violence against women because it forms their opinions.
OK, it’s just a video to you. But I have to hear the high school boy say “b–ches are only good for three things, f—ing, cooking, and cleaning.” I have to hear the high school girls refer to each other (their FRIENDS) as “b–ch” and “ho”, and hear them explain how you know a boy really loves you if he hits you.
I’d love it if rappers would come clean about their college degrees, but instead they pretend to be “hood” while living a wealthy lifestyle. They promote the ideas that the measure of a man is how many b–ches he can f—, or how much violence he can do, and that women’s only value is what’s between their legs, and as a punching bag. And that harms women and men.
You have blood on your hands, and you should be deeply, deeply troubled at the culture that you’ve helped to create.
While not specifically naming West, international recording artist Moby may as well have in this article from 2005.
In it, Moby asks why is racism seen as bad but misogyny seen as cool? He says anyone creating or promoting music which glamourises misogyny should be ashamed: “you have blood on your hands, and you should be deeply, deeply troubled at the culture that you’ve helped to create”.
i’d like to write about misogyny. a few years ago when the prodigy released ‘smack my bitch up’ i spoke up and criticised the song for being overtly misogynystic and irresponsible. i was in turn criticised on radio for ‘being too uptight’ and not being relaxed enough to appreciate the ‘humor’ in misogyny.
then 5 years ago i spoke up about the pernicious and pervasive spread of misogyny in popular culture, and again i was crticised for making a big issue out of something that no one else seemed to care about.
i respect the prodigy and i respect eminem as talented and relevant musicians, but i spoke up because i found the misogynystic content of their lyrics(among many others) to be deeply offensive. even if they themselves are not misogynysts
i found it irresponsible that they, and many others, would release music that glamourized misogyny.
2 months after ‘smack my bitch up’ was released i went to visit a friend of mine who was in hospital after being beaten by her boyfriend. she had brain damage and multiple fractures due to his pushing her down a flight of concrete stairs.
misogyny is not funny. it is not a joke. and it should not be treated lightly.
and now we find out that a british man who is obsessed with eminem killed a woman with a metal baseball bat
and stuffed her body into a suitcase.
am i being ‘too uptight’ for not seeing the humor in this?
Bob Herbert in an article titled ‘Women at Risk’ in the New York Times in 2009, made this point:
We have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that the barbaric treatment of women and girls has come to be more or less expected.
We profess to being shocked at one or another of these outlandish crimes, but the shock wears off quickly in an environment in which the rape, murder and humiliation of females is not only a staple of the news, but an important cornerstone of the nation’s entertainment. Read full article here
Let Universal and MTV know that the victimization of women as a valid form of entertainment is never acceptable and the video needs to be withdrawn. Kanye West and his management should also apologise.
Channel 9 media celebrity Kerri-Anne Kennerley has attracted attention for her comments on Mornings with Kerri-Anne, likening women who are picked up by male footballers to strays. She was discussing with former AFL star footballer Peter ‘Spida’ Everitt, the alleged assault of a 20-year-old university student by a group of men including two Collingwood players after their premiership win.
Everitt had posted a number of tweets on the incident, suggesting it was a case of morning- after regret and that girls who go home with footballers shouldn’t be expecting Milo.
Men, said Kennerley, “put themselves in harm’s way by picking up strays”. She also asked what was it women expected in such situations and said that in alcohol fuelled scenarios at 3am “no one party can be blamed”. In a statement of ‘clarification’, Nine said: “Not one party can be blamed for this. The responsibility lies with the girls as well as with the guys when you’re talking about alcohol-fuelled situations at three o’clock in the morning.”
Let’s unpack these comments a little shall we?
“Picking up strays”
Women are to be compared with stray animals, like cats or (worse) dogs? We know that 85% of victims will never report to police. And people wonder why. When they risk being called, liars, sluts and now “strays”, why would any woman who has just been through a terrible ordeal also want to sign up for that?
It is probably unintentional, but Kennerley is sending a message to rape victims and to girls everywhere that if they are raped they will be vilified and humiliated. In so doing, they are re-abused.
“What do they expect?”
Maybe they expect not to be subjected to rape? Maybe they expect they won’t be sexually assaulted or subjected to any other criminal offense?
“They have to learn”
They have to learn that they could be seen as causing the assault? Leading him on? Contributing to it in some way? Women have to learn because they should expect to be sexually assaulted? As a commenter here said, “Men will be men”. And another: “The law holds men responsible for their behaviour whilst inebriated and specifically does not hold women responsible for their behaviour in the same state. Hence this situation is inevitable.”
More rape apologism suggesting rape is inevitable.
“No one party can be blamed”
If a man assaults a woman, is he not to be blamed? If a man takes advantage of a woman who is under the influence, she has not given consent. Therefore it is unlawful.
Drunkenness is not an invitation for sex. The inability to say no doesn’t mean a woman has said yes.
Sexual Assault for Dummies
Remarkably, grown men still need to be taught that if a woman is out of it, she can’t agree to sex. In the AFL’s Respect and Responsibility manual, under a section of checklist items to help a man know consent has been given, it states:
When is consent freely given? When she’s conscious – AWAKE!
MTR comments on The Morning Show
I also responded specifically to Kennerley’s comments on Channel 9’s Today Show this morning. Please follow this link to view.
There’s been some excellent commentary on this issue the last couple of days. These pieces deserve to be read.
A woman can’t be a little bit pregnant, she can’t be a little bit dead, she can’t be a little bit equal, and she most certainly can’t be a little bit sexually assaulted.
If consent is absent, rape has occurred. There is no grey.
While the details get shuffled about – the code, the players, the seedy nightclub providing the backdrop – in essence the same story is being retold. Footballers and sexual assault. The same story and frequently, the same public reaction: scepticism. Read more.
No men, including footballers, are entitled to sex with drunk women.
Women ask to be raped. Women fabricate rape allegations to assuage guilt. Rape victims are sluts and strays. These are some of the attitudes that have been unearthed this week following a police investigation into sexual assault allegations made by a 20-year-old woman.
The woman alleges she was the victim of a sexual assault involving a number of men, including two Collingwood players. The incident was said to have occurred in South Melbourne on Sunday morning, just hours after Collingwood defeated St Kilda in the grand final rematch. Read more.
In my perusings of the modern media landscape, a worrying trend has come to my attention: young men who apparently just can’t stop having non-consensual sex with others. It’s a tricky problem, and one to which there are, clearly, no easy solutions. I mean, it’s all very well to say “No means no”, but as popular ex-footballer/arachnid Peter “Spida” Everitt says, when a girl goes home with a guy at 3am, it’s not for a cup of Milo. So we can see there are two sides to every story: on the one hand, a young lady might feel violated, but on the other hand, why do these women keep going round to strangers’ houses in the hopes of having some Milo? Why don’t they buy their OWN Milo? Young people today, I ask you.Read more.
So here we are again – women are sluts and men are morons.
That would appear to be the view of many who have decided to venture opinions on the police investigation involving a number of young men, including two Collingwood footballers, over allegations of sexual assault.
The facts as known are simple. A young traumatised woman has told police she was raped. Experienced detectives used to dealing with sexual assault victims found her credible. Read more.
Antoinette Jones – Principal – Mitcham Girls High School
“Intelligent, passionate, brilliant, fearless… I could not recommend her more highly”
Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
“You continue to reset my shock meter…”
“As a teacher and parent I recommend all parents, in fact all people, to attend a talk by Melinda- it will open your eyes and awaken your subconscious.”
Heather Douglas – Parent – Pembroke School
“Melinda’s presentations to our parents, staff and full day workshops to students was inspirational, transforming the attitudes and thinking of all involved”
Paul Teys – Principal – Hunter Valley Grammar
“Melinda Tankard Reist’s presentation to Middle and Upper School students at Pymble Ladies’ College was absolutely brilliant!”
Justine Hodgson – English Faculty, Pymble Ladies’ College
“Melinda Tankard Reist has had a transformational affect on our school.”
Ms Stephanie McConnell, Principal – Turramurra High School
“Melinda Tankard Reist is at the forefront of helping…educate the public on the link between pornography and violence…” – Di Macleod, Director, Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Violence
“As you read, be prepared to feel both grief and rage.” Robert Jensen
“These accounts are among the most unsettling you will ever read.” Steve Biddulph
“This powerful and humane book is a breakthrough…Big Porn Inc shows us we are poisoning our own spirits.” – Steve Biddulph
“A landmark publication” – Clive Hamilton
Purchase Big Porn Inc, Getting Real, Faking It, Men of Honour, Sexts Texts & Selfies, Raising Girls, Raising Boys, MTR DVD, Ruby Who? DVD & book, Girl Wise guide to friends, Girl Wise guide to being you, Girl Wise guide to life and Girl Wise guide to taking care of your body, and the new Wise Guys for the combined discounted price of $250.
‘The foremost authority in Australia cyber safety lays it on the line and challenges parents to find their digital spine.’ – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
Whether it is problems with friends, worrying about how you look or just feeling a bit down in the dumps – these books are written especially for you – to help you in your journey. Purchase all four together and save $18.50 on postage! Author: Sharon Witt
In this DVD, Melinda takes us on a visual tour of popular culture. “Melinda’s presentation leaves audiences reeling. She delivers her message with a clarity and commonsense without peer.” – Steve Biddulph, author, Raising Boys, Raising Girls
In this easy-to-read updated book, Steve Biddulph shares powerful stories and give practical advice about every aspect of boyhood.
“Overflowing with incisive understandings…a comprehensive and in-depth guide.” – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychologist
Men of Honour -written by Glen Gerreyn- encourages and inspires young men to take up the challenge to be honourable. Whether at school, in sport, at work or in relationships, we must develp our character to achieve success and experience the thrills life has on offer.
Purchase the Ruby Who? DVD and book together for only $35 saving 10% off the individual price.
“Getting Real contains a treasure trove of information and should be mandatory reading for all workers with young people in health, education and welfare” – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Adolescent Psychologist
Do you read women’s lifestyle magazines? Have you thought about how magazines might affect you when you read them? Faking It reflects the body of academic research on magazines, mass media, and the sexual objectification of women.
Ruby Who? is the sweet and innocent story of a little girl’s adventure in re-discovering her identity. Ruby wishes for so many things and dreams of being like others. Will she end up forgetting how to just be herself?
Ruby Who? is the sweet and innocent story of a little girl’s adventure in re-discovering her identity. Ruby wishes for so many things and dreams of being like others. Will she end up forgetting how to just be herself?
Defiant Birth challenges widespread medical, and often social aversion to less than perfect pregnancies or genetically different babies. It also features women with disabilities who were discouraged from becoming pregnant at all.