Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Artist pushes boundaries in ‘rape’ film

An artist arranged for a stranger to come into her house and have what she described as a “self-orchestrated rape representation.”  It is called are you ok bob? She then filmed the encounter.  The woman argues that as she is watching the camera all the time this is different from rape victims usual demeanour. The artist writes that to choose to put yourself into this situation challenges the use of rape as a form of control.

I have had to sit with this for a few days thinking about the reality of what the performance actually represents. However good this clip and whatever it shows  as art it is not rape.  The man was invited to participate. It was arranged.  This woman was in control of the set up of this situation.  This alters everything.  The issue with rape is the lack of control, the humiliation and the fear that you may not survive.  This changes the dynamic altogether. To put yourself into the situation does not challenge the use of rape as a form of control because it is not rape it is performance art.  That is very different.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Wicked Campers

Wicked Campers have had considerable bad publicity over the past few years about the misogynist slogans on their vans.  Some of their slogans are amusing but many of them are offensive to women and fuel an attitude of disrespect for women and girls.

In addition, if you drive behind one of these van with comments such as “save lollipops suck a dick” and have children in the van it can lead to difficult conversations that you might not be ready to have with the child concerned.  A grandfather  in Byron Bay was so angry about the slogan on a van in his local area that was constantly around he spray painted over it so his grandchildren were not confronted with this slogan on a regular basis.

While we would hesitate to suggest civil disobedience or copying him, it does seem a very good idea.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Nauru Rape Victim

As abortion is illegal on Nauru they should give some thought to making rape illegal as well. The same goes for Papua New Guinea who have 7 year jail sentences for having terminations and also a horrific culture of sexual assault. Both countries must have women pregnant from violent sexual assault being expected to bear children from those assaults.  How does this concern Australia other than being an issue women can relate to.

A female refugee was raped on Nauru whilst barely conscious after an epileptic seizure. She is pregnant from the sexual assault and wants a termination. Abortion is illegal in Nauru so for some inexplicable reason the Australian Government have transferred her to Papua New Guinea where abortion is also illegal.

It is beyond belief that the Government can be so intransigent in the face of what has a simple solution.  Fly this woman to Australia and allow the absolute misery she must be experiencing carrying a child she does not want.  So what if the doctors refuse to send her back to Nauru.  Her situation is hopefully rare being violently assaulted whilst in detention by the Australian Government and becoming pregnant from the violent assault.

Write to the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and also Peter Dutton, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and let them know your views.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Treatment of Boko Haram survivors

It seemed outrageous when Boko Haram abducted young girls to provide sex for the men who fight for them. They have abducted thousands but the ones we all remember are the 276 teenagers abducted in 2014.  At the time the Nigerian Government did not seem to put a lot of effort into rescuing the young women even knowing that they would have been being raped on a regular basis.

Now some of these young women and others have escaped, or been rescued, following a series of Nigerian Government military operations.  These young women have returned home with babies fathered by their rapists.  They now face discrimination and suspicion.  Many of them live in displacement camps run by the Nigerian Government. For many there is no other place to go as their villages were destroyed and their families killed by Boko Haram.

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in 2015 rape in Nigeria was not just an outcome of the general chaos of war but was a calculated "tactic of terror."

These women and their children deserve better treatment than a Government run displacement camp.  Prisoners of war have regulations about their treatment. These young women have been prisoners of war who have returned to their country.  The Government needs to set up proper programs to resettle them and assist them to look after their children.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Bad Behaviour

In the past twenty-four hours there have been media articles about bad behaviour at Melbourne University and the University of New South Wales Baxter College.  Melbourne University students have an offensive Facebook page and there has been commentary about how the “Hotties of Melbourne Uni” Facebook page perpetuates rape culture by normalising predatory behaviour towards women. Baxter College undergraduates have been the subject of a 7.30 Report on the ABC about misogynist and sexist chants which took place on a ‘Boys Night Out.’   Both the Facebook page and the sexist behaviour have been roundly condemned.

The problem is however that these young men think this behaviour is even remotely acceptable.   These young men are in the privileged position of attending tertiary institutions and will become leaders in our community in decades to come.  By allowing these attitudes to continue universities are not taking responsibility for the upholding of societal norms and the strengthening of an equal society. Universities need a campaign across the country aimed at male undergraduates about acceptable behaviour and suspension or being expelled for bad behaviour of this nature.