Monday, 22 August 2016

Judge Christopher Ryan

Judge Ryan recently sat on a case that involved a former  32 year old security guard, Franco Abad,  for the Children’s Court and a 14 year old living in a Department of Human Services residential unit. The 14 year old had told the security guard that she was 17 years of age and he had commenced a sexual relationship with her.  He had subsequently been charged with sexual abuse of a minor.  The Judge made a number of comments during sentencing which suggested that the young woman was equally culpable in what had happened.

I had thought we had moved past the stage when women were blamed for what they wore or how they behaved and we looked at the behaviour of the offender.  Mr Abad was 32. He had met a vulnerable young woman at his place of work.  He continued the relationship after he knew the young woman was only 14. The Judge seemed to pass over some of these facts and suggest that if young women show an interest in an older man then it is hard for the man to resist not that older men should have more sense than to be swayed by underage females.

There are also a number of other issues here.  The Judge’s comments were inappropriate, the guard behaved inappropriately and the Children’s Court needs a policy that is very clear for staff and/or contractors about what is expected in terms of relationships with clients of the Court whatever age they might be. It is a fair assumption that anyone attending the court as a client is vulnerable.  Vulnerable young people need protection.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Right Wing Schools and Abuse of Privilege

Malka Leifer and the Adass Ultra Orthodox School in Melbourne and The Exclusive Brethren would not expect to have a lot in common but they do at one level.  What they have in common is treating children in a way that is not acceptable to the general community and accepting taxpayers’ money to do so.  Malka Leifer allegedly sexually assaulted a number of young women when she was the religious leader at the Adass shool.  When it became clear she was going to be interviewed by Victoria Police the school board flew her and her family out of Australia to Israel.  There she has been fighting extradition since 2008.  This school which accepts public money clearly believes there are above the law.

The Exclusive Brethren, now called the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, also has a history of supporting members who sexually abuse children. A man was convicted and jailed for offences including raping a child under 10. The sect first excommunicated the man but then reinstated him knowing that he had sexually abused two young girls who were living with him and attending the school where he was a trustee.  Yet again public money is being used to support a system where the organisation is not safe for children and contravenes in these sort of cases the law of the land.

Taxpayers’ money should not be used to support institutions that ignore Australia’s laws and believe that these laws do not apply to them.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Malka Leifer

The ex principal of the Adass school in Melbourne has walked free from an Israeli court.   Her home detention has been lifted and she has been deemed unfit to face an extradition and may never come back to Australia and accept responsibility for her alleged crimes.

This is an absolute insult to the the numerous victims of this paedophile.  She has treated the Israeli Court system with contempt evading 10 court hearings with her lawyers arguing she has been too unwell to face court.  It would be hardy surprising if she is anxious and depressed given the situation she has put herself. However, to evade taking responsibility for her actions is to compound the distress and damage already caused to her victims and show contempt for them, their families and ultimately their community.

It brings to mind the flight and evasion of responsibility of another paedophile, Roman Polanski, who fled the US in 1977 and is facing another attempt at extradition 39 years later. Thankfully these people do not get to rest in peace.

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.