Thursday, 22 December 2016

Seven West Media CEO Scandal

Tim Worner, CEO, Seven West Media stands accused of drug use and a sexual relationship with an Executive Assistant much young than him.  When David Jones was faced with a scandal about their CEO, Mark McInnes, and an affair with a more junior worker they stood him down whilst there was an investigation.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Last Tango in Paris Rape Scene

I find it extraordinary that a well known Director, Bernardo Bertolucci, thinks he can own up to engineering a rape on camera of a 19 year old actor and feel confident that there will be no action taken.  There must be legislation that covers inciting someone to commit a rape.  His, and Marlon Brando's, behaviour was disgusting.  It showed no regard for the effect it might have on a young professional just starting her career. It shows absolutely no regard for societal standards dressed up in the excuse of authenticity of reactions and feelings.

See:  Why the ‘Last Tango in Paris’ rape scene is generating such an outcry now

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Turkish "rape amnesty" law

Turkey is considering a law that allows men who marry under age girls in a religious ceremony, with the consent of their family, to avoid statutory rape charges.  Instead of tackling the issue of forced under age marriage the Government is thinking about legitimising under age marriage by allowing the sentence passed on a man involved in such a situation to be postponed indefinitely.  Either Turkey is serious about wanting to be more a part of the Economic Union or it is not.  To allow people to marry their young daughters off to old men for whatever reason is not a policy of a progressive nation.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Wicked Slogans

Queensland introduced legislation this month cracking down on inappropriate advertising which will affect Wicked camper vans.  In Queensland they will no longer be able to have slogans that are misogynist and offensive under threat of having their vehicles de-registered.  Victoria is thinking of doing the same thing. It is a move that has taken a long time.  Given the demeaning nature of some of the slogans on Wicked camper vans this will be a great step in the right direction.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Request for lighter sentence on the grounds of age

Robert Burnett, a Salvation Army worker, abused seven boys he met through his work as a carer at Salvation Army homes between 1973 and 1999. His defence counsel argued that due to his age and ill health he should have a reduced sentence. This does not make sense. The reason he is in ill health and older is that he did not disclose his crimes earlier in his life. He may well die in jail but that is not a reason to give a reduced sentence. The sentence should be purely proportionate to the crimes.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Chaperones for Doctors Under Investigation for Sexual Misconduct

I have been thinking about this issue for several weeks because my first thought when this  recently arose in relation to a neurologist was that the AMA, who is the organisation responsible for doctors' registration, should stop using the chaperone system for doctors under investigation and just suspend the doctor pending the outcome of an investigation.  This seemed a straight forward answer to me.

Then I spoke to two people who see specialists for serious illnesses and the two patients had a different view.  It had not occurred to me that we should consult with patients about this as it seemed a black and white issue.  However, the view of the two patients was that they wanted a choice about whether they saw their doctor if he/she was under investigation for anything.  In order to have this choice they wanted a notice, stating that the doctor was under investigation and why, to be displayed clearly on the reception desk in the practice. Their views fit with a number of American and Canadian articles about chaperones and their use for medical examinations where it is suggested that patients should be asked if they want a chaperone when they are having an examination. These articles also note that a number of people do not like chaperones being used as it invades their privacy but that in some cases chaperones should always be used.  One situation was pelvic examinations of female patients by male doctors. But it was also noted in one article that 50 per cent of female patients did not want a chaperone in this situation.

In the case of sexual misconduct there should be no choice about a chaperone but whether doctors should be allowed to continue practicing at such times and the conditions around this practice needs some more thought and research.

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.

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.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

New Centre for Ballarat

It is good to see Cardinal Pell acknowledging that many victims of childhood sexual assault have long term psychological damage that needs assistance so they can get on with living meaningful lives.  It is not, however, good to suggest new ways of assisting people, possibly funded by and attached to the Catholic Church, by the establishment of a new centre for victims of sexual assault in Ballarat.  Churches, other institutions and bureaucracies  have long had a conflict of interest when dealing with criminal activity by their own people.  Sexual assault needs to be dealt with by independent organisations who can advocate fearlessly for their clients.

Adults and children in Victoria, who have been sexual assaulted or have had family members and friends assaulted, have had a extensive professional sexual assault service system for decades.  This system is currently under pressure due to the large number of people disclosing sexual assault, not just by clerygy, in fact predominantly by family and friends.  The increase in referrals is related to the ongoing publicity generated by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the Victorian Parliamentary Enquiry into Child Abuse prior to the Royal Commission. The Centres Against Sexual Assault need more funding so that they can deal with the volume of requests they are receiving and also have capacity to undertake preventive work and research.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Malka Leifer

Malka Leifer was the school principal of the ultra orthodox school Adass Israel.  She has been accused of sexual assaulting students.  She fled to Israel in 2008 and has been under house arrest since 2014.  Mrs Leifer has failed to appear in the Jerusalem District Court 7 times and now has her lawyers asking for the case to be adjourned for up to two years.  This is insulting to victims  and is treating the Israeli judicial system like a joke.  This woman should return to Australia, show some respects for her alleged victims, and talk to Victoria Police

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Daryush Valizadeh - Return of the Kings

Daryush Valizadeh is the front man for an organisation called Return of the Kings. The dear man wants to take the Western world back hundreds of years to a time when women were subservient to men.  Some of his ideas are obnoxious including the one that all rape on private property should be legal and men should go out with women with eating disorders because they are thinner but no doubt he will attract a following.  The man is clearly an idiot, but a dangerous idiot, as there are always enough disaffected men who will listen to this rubbish. 

Monday, 1 February 2016

Above the law cultures

A report by Dame Janet Smith, a retired Judge who has been leading a three-year independent investigation on behalf of the BBC into the broadcaster's practices during the years it employed Jimmy Savile from 1964 to 2007, found that there was a culture of deference to "untouchable stars" and an "above the law" attitude among members of BBC management. 

Pride March Sunday 31.1.16

SECASA, along with 190 other groups, attended Pride March on Sunday, 31st February 2016.  Here is a very staid photo of Liesl Krebs, Michelle Wald, Donovan Pill and Carolyn Worth at the march.  I have much more exciting photos but did not feel this was the appropriate venue for them.

It is always a fun event to attend as well as having the more serious purpose of making sure that the GLBTIQ communities know that SECASA is inclusive and welcomes diversity.


Sunday, 17 January 2016

Real Social Dynamics

I would like to think that Julien Blanc and Owen Cook, who calls himself Tyler Durdan after Brad Pitt's Fight Club character, are stupid.  It would make their behaviour and organisation more understandable.  For those who do not know they are involved with an organisation called Real Social Dynamics which purports to teach men how to pick up women.  In 2014 Julien Blanc's visa was revoked and he had to leave Australia following the nature of the workshops he was here to run becoming clear and that they were basically teaching men how to sexually and physically abuse women.  Nothing has changed Owen Cook has been given a visa to peddle the same misogynistic rubbish as his mate Julien Blanc in 2014.  These men call themselves 'pick up artists' but what they actually teach is how to abuse women sexually and physically and try and get away with it.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Kilic v The Queen

Whilst thinking that Jamie Briggs and Chris Gayle should learn to behave better and show some respect for women there is a matter with serious consequences for women who have suffered violence at the hands of their partner.

Yavaz Kilic set fire to his pregnant girlfriend when she tried to escape an abusive and controlling relationship. She suffered severe burns, was in an induced coma for five days and had to undergo skin grafts.  As a result of her injuries she decided to terminate her pregnancy.

Mr Kilic was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 11 years.  The Judge commented that he was imposing a sentence that sent a message to the community that this behaviour was unacceptable.  The Court of Appeal allowed Kilic's appeal and reduced the sentence to 10 years and 10 months with a non-parole period of 7 years and 6 months. Amongst the rationale for reducing his sentence were comments that the victim's injuries were not lifelong  major physical or mental injuries and the trial Judge may have been unduly influenced the viewing photos of the victim's
injuries.

This seems plain ridiculous to a lay person.  Anyone with burns serious enough to require an induced coma for five days will have physical problems from scar tissue for the rest of their life.  Also I cannot imagine how having someone try to kill you does not leave you with psychological scars.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Victoria's Sentencing Advisory Council Report


The Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council is looking at what Judges take into account when judging sexual offences against children. The Council is to report in June to the Attorney-General Martin Pakula on the sentencing of sex offenders convicted of the sexual penetration of a child aged under 12.

What has become clear from the Council's own data is that the rape of adults has received a higher sentence that the rape of children over the past few years. Sexual penetration of a child under 12 is one of the seven serious offences targeted by the previous Government's baseline sentencing laws which were intended to increase jail terms for serious violence and sexual assault of children.  These laws have not worked as they were intended. The current median sentence for rape of an adult is 5 years and for rape of a child under 12 is 4 years.

There are no easy answers to this issue but it would seem that damaging a child's formative years and leaving them with a suspicion of males in authority,their own family members and blaming themselves for adult crimes should at least be seen as serious as raping an adult woman.  All of these are heinous crimes but it is interesting that children are still seen as less damaged than adults by sexual assault whereas those that work with these children understand the long term, insidious difficulties they can have.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Mel Gibson

It is extraordinary that only four months ago the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Minister for Women Michaelia Cash were clear that it was not acceptable to issue a visa to American singer Chris Brown as he had a conviction for domestic violence.  Here we are in a new year when the rules have clearly changed and another American star, who does have permanent residency but a history of family violence, is given a grant by the New South Wales Government to start filming.  Mel Gibson has a history of domestic violence not to mention anti Semitism and racism.

Hollywood has a short memory about transgressions by film stars and directors.  Roman Polanski has had no difficult attracting money to make films even though he raped a 13 year old girl and has not been back to the United States since he escaped to Europe for fear of going to jail.  Hollywood clearly has its own standards but we can expect better from our politicians especially in a year when Rosie Batty was named Australian of the Year, Victoria has a Royal Commission into Family Violence and there is a nationwide debate about how to deal with this scourge.

Perhaps all we have left is to organise a boycott of the movie.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

A bad start to the New Year

It is as if someone has declared open season on women with all the nonsense that has been going on the past couple of weeks.  Not that women do not get assaulted, harassed and insulted regularly but Western men have usually learnt to be more subtle about their behaviour or at least it seemed as though they had.  Now we have Minister Peter Dutton's comments about journalist Samantha Maiden and Jamie Briggs resigning from cabinet after harassing a public servant in a Hong Kong bar.  So it is clear that many politicians are only paying lip service to gender equality issues.  Then there is the matter of the cricketer Chris Gale propositioning a woman on camera whilst being interviewed by her and later another woman revealing that he had exposed his genitals when she went into the changing rooms believing them to be empty. Sportsmen have been notorious for sexist behaviour for a long time but the various sports have been at pains to tell us that they are dealing with this issue.  Finally we have a gang of men in Cologne setting out to deliberately sexually assault women on New Year's Eve.