Sunday, 14 December 2014


Uber should not be allowed to operate in Victoria or Australia.  It is not a safe option for women.  Any predator could be operating one of the unlicensed cars.  The CASAs have the occasional report of a sexual assault by a reputable taxi firm's driver.  In these situations we have, if the victim has chosen not to report to the Police, a way of bringing it to the attention of the driver's employer.What happens if it was an Uber driver?

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Zac Webster

Zac Webster is a recent recruit to the 2014 premiership winners Hawthorn.  He has been banned from the club from two pre season practice games for being convicted of filming women engaging in sex acts without their consent.  His penalty in Tasmania was a fine and 140 hours of community service.  Mr Webster initially omitted to mention his charges when being interviewed by Hawthorn.  This raises two issues.  One why would they want someone in the club who has lied to them right at the start. Secondly if he thinks this is reasonable behaviour at this stage in his career how is he likely to behave when he becomes rich and famous as an AFL player?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Universities shelve sexual assault survey

Australia's universities and residential colleges have shelved a plan to collect and share data about sexual assaults on campus.  This idea came out of the 2011 review into the treatment of women at the Australian Defence Force Academy led by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick. It is a lost opportunity.  Whilst some colleges and universities run educational programs for staff and students others do have such programs.  It would be really useful to have an agreement about what should be provided on campuses to deal with sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Boko Haram

The 219 Nigerian school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram have now been missing for seven months.  We can only guess at how many of them have been raped, forced into "marriage" with older men and are pregnant. It seems outrageous that in 2014 over two hundred girls can just disappear and their government and the global community does not seem to be capable of taking action to return them to their families. Children deserve protection from abduction and sexual assault worldwide not just in developed nations.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Independent Review of Compensation Arrangements Under The Melbourne Response

The Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart has appointed a retired Federal Court Judge, The Hon Donnell Ryan QC to conduct and independent review of  the processes available under the Melbourne Response for compensating victims of sexual abuse by priests, lay persons and religious under the control  of the Melbourne Archdiocese.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Julien Blanc

If you want some toxic viewing have a look at Mr Blanc's workshop.  This man is a dangerous example to men about appropriate ways to behave.  There are enough men who have difficulty with cues, body language and being told "No" without a mysogynist running seminars on how to behave badly.  Even if he has no other skills to sell in the workplace he should be ashamed pimping himself around in this manner. He needs to grow up and have a look at the reality of the world around him and not view it purely through the prism of his genitals.

There are protests on social media aimed at anyone providing a venue for his workshop.  I suggest you join in.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Gender Equity: What Will It Take To Be The Best Report

Gender Equity: What Will It Take To Be The Best is a report commissioned by the Richmond Football Club as part as a three year affirmative action plan to improve the position of women.  The report found that there was widespread cynicism about the AFL's commitment to gender equity.  This has always been apparent in there response to sexual assault which is far less rigorous than there response to racism or homophobia.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Religious Chaplains in State Schools

Given the current Royal Commission into institutional abuse and the number of religious institutions who have been involved in abusing children have then covered it up, moved offenders into other parts of Australia or overseas so they could continue their paedophilic activities, why would any Government think that religious chaplains in state schools are a benefit?

Monday, 11 August 2014

Fundamentalist Groups

It seems that all fundamentalist groups and regimes have one thing in common which is their wish to control women and use them for their own sexual gratification.  The Iraqi Government deciding 9 year olds were mature enough to marry, the Japanese Government refusing to recognise the women imprisoned and raped throughout World War II euphemistically called comfort women, the Nigerian Government leaving the hundreds of teenager abducted by Boko Haram to be raped and abused all have one thing in common a refusal to see women as human beings with rights.  Now we have another group, the fighters of the Islamic State, abducting 300 women as slaves.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Making Rights Reality:Final Evaluation Report 2014

Making Rights Reality is a pilot project for sexual assault survivors with a cognitive impairment that has been a partnership between the Federation of Community Legal Services, SECASA and Springvale Monash Community Legal Service.  The project improved access to the criminal justice system and counselling and advocacy for people with a cognitive impairment or communication difficulties. We all know that the percentage of people sexually assaulted in childhood and as adults is high.  However, people with disabilities are at a much higher risk of all forms of violence and abuse than the general population.  This project was aimed at improving rates of reporting for people with a disability. It increased reporting of sexual assault for the people the project was aimed at.  More importantly it resulted in the SECASA workforce improving their level of skill for working with people with cognitive impairments and communication difficulties.  This and the publicity around the project led to a large increase in people with a disability accessing the service.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Child Sexual Abuse Material

Child sexual abuse material is more often known as child pornography which disguises what it actually is and what happens children and babies being sexually assaulted.I thought that everyone, well everyone I knew, understood the horror of child sexual abuse material.  This was until Sunday night when I was having dinner with a group of friends.  One of them, an academic who specializes in an area that requires empathy for vulnerable people, made a comment that surprised me whilst we were discussing the Rolf Harris court case and subsequent sentencing. The comment was that they did not understand why people were charged for looking at child pornography as it as a victimless crime. Of course it is not a victimless crime as the actual looking at the material creates the demand that then has children, including babies, sexually assaulted and in some cases in real time on peer-to-peer networks.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Judge Garry Neilson - Incest Comments

 Judge Garry Neilson made uninformed comments about a case in April this year of a 58 year old man who is charged with raping his younger sister in the family home in 1981.  The Judge reportedly told the court that just as gay sex was socially unacceptable and criminal in the 1950's and 1960's but was now accepted "a jury might find nothing untoward in the advance of a brother towards his sister once she had sexually matured, had sexual relationships with other men and was not 'available', not having (a) sexual partner."  It is hard to know what the Judge was thinking.  Sex between same sex partners, unless they are two brothers or sisters, is not the same at all and that would have the same problems as incest with opposite genders.  The power imbalance when there is an age difference is sufficient to make sex between a brother and sister unacceptable.  The opportunities for grooming in a family are unlimited.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Alleged Abuse by Scott Volkers

The Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse is looking at how sporting bodies and top prosecutors handled allegations of sexual assault by Scott Volkers from three former students who were swimming in his training squad at the Queensland Academy of Sport. Julie Gilbert spoke about her experience of alleged abuse on 7.30. She said that she felt "insulted" by a crown prosecutor who questioned her story when she made allegations against Mr Volkers. The prosecutor suggested that at 12 she would not have had breasts. Victims are disbelieved all the time. Organisations protect their assets all the time. When these two factors come together as they did with a high profile, highly regarded coach and a young injured swimmer the organisation clearly chose to protect their asset.  After the charges were dropped Mr Volkers was retained as head coach at the Queensland Academy as the organisation's then chief Alex Baumann was not concerned about Mr Volkers as he was not working directly with children.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Norma's Project - The Sexual Assault of Older Women

Norma's Project report discusses a hidden area of sexual assault that of women in their later years.  The report looks at the contexts in which this abuse occurs and at the attitudes to older women that keeps such assaults a secret. In 2012 there were 344 reports of alleged unlawful sexual contact in Australian aged-care facilities.  Given we already know that very few sexual assaults are reported and that the more vulnerable you are the more likely you are to be assault, this figure will be far lower than the actual number of assaults. The report recommends providing education and information for older women and their families, training for aged-care staff in preventing and responding to suspected sexual assaults and closer relationships between facilities and local CASAs.

S.A.R.A. - Sexual Assault Reporting Anonymously

S.A.R.A. the SECASA app for reporting sexual assaults anonymously is now almost eighteen months old.  It is an app that allows you to report a sexual assault, indecent assault or sexual harassment incident without giving identifying details.  SECASA will pass your information about the incident itself onto the Police and it will help them build up a data bank of information about areas that are not safe, where there need to be more patrols or a certain type of offending behaviour.  If you do not wish to be contacted then there is no identifying data to allow this to happen.  If you would like contact there is a window where you can put your contact details and a counsellor will call you.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Chinese Woman Sexually Assaulted and Murdered

Renea Lau was sexually assaulted and murdered at the weekend.  She was left alone in the gardens at Kings Domain near the Police Memorial.  Earlier today a woman rang SECASA upset that the only acknowledgement she had seen for the dead woman was one bunch of flowers.  She asked if we could do something so that it would not seem that she had been forgotten or overlooked.

As a gesture to indicate that she is not forgotten and that we think what happened to her is unacceptable leave flowers near the Police Memorial in her memory.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG)

Just when I think sexual assault services are underfunded and struggling, I meet two inspiring women Lina Chang and Kisa Ao from Samoa who run the only victim support service in the whole of Samoa. They do this without ongoing funding and in the face of opposition from powerful men within their own community. This service has been running since 2005.  Since the beginning SVSG has assisted over 400 victims of sexual and physical violence, provided shelter to 300 child victims of sexual crimes and women survivors of violence and their children. SVSG works hard to change community attitudes towards sexual and physical violence and to empower the poor and vulnerable to enable them to speak out about their abuse.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Expert Panel to Review Australia's Military Strategy

There are no women on the six-person expert panel set up by the Abbott Government to review Australia's military strategy and help Defence develop a new 10-year plan.  The Prime Minister said that the panel would "challenge any key assumptions."  Given the difficulties Defence have experienced with sexual harrassment and assault over the past decades it is amazing that the Prime Minister does not understand that it is important to have a gender balance on a panel looking at the next decade. Whether six men can challenge key assumptions without female input is questionable given a male dominated organisation is what has led to the well documented abuse.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Nigerian School Girls

It is extraordinary how wanting to create a religious society in Northern Nigeria apparently requires an uneducated population and particularly uneducated girls.  According to an Amnesty International report released last October titled Keep away from schools or we'll kill you the right to education is under attack. Nigeria has Africa's largest economy, population and oil reserves.  You could reasonably expect such factors to require an education population.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Lynching of Two Rape Victims In India

The level of misogyny in all societies is a cause of despair in the 21st Century.  However, to rape and then hang two young women to hide your crime, as happened in India is an absolute outrage.  Whilst all people from what are considered lower castes have difficult lives, the women live with the constant threat of sexual assault and murder. We need to support our sisters in India and other countries where their lives are seen to be of so little value.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Right to Choose and Rapists and Paedophiles

Periodically ridiculous statements appear in the media from people who do not really understand a situation. To think this of Liberal Upper House MP Bernie Finn would be doing him a favour.  There is no excuse for even raising the matter of terminations for raped women and children. No reasonable person would expect a woman or a child to continue against their will for 9 months carrying a child whose father is a violent, unprincipled man. Not only are you condemning a female to 9 months of distress if they really do not want to carry this child but you are condemning a developing human being to 9 months of negative emotions. What a great start to life.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Iraqi Law Proposal for Marriage at Nine

Iraqi Cabinet this week voted for legislation, based on Shiite Islamic jurisprudence, allowing clergy to preside over marriages, divorces and inheritances. The legislation describes girls as reaching puberty at nine, making them fit for marriage.  Without engaging with the religious views of men who think small children are acceptable sex partners such views are dangerous for female children.  Even in countries where the age of menarche is dropping people do not believe that nine year olds are of an age when they should have sex and risk being pregnant. Young adolescents die regularly in child birth in countries where they are married too young for their bodies to deal with a pregnancy.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Victims No Longer - Mike Lew

SECASA is running its annual residential workshop with Mike Lew for male survivors of childhood sexual assault.  This weekend will run from Friday 22nd August 2014 - Sunday 24th August 2014.  It will take place at Maldon in the Derby Hill Blue Light Youth Camp, Phoenix Street. The weekend is for men for are actively engaged in counselling.  It provides a variety of healing activities, sharing of stories, writing exercises, anger work, group discussions, relation and fun in a safe environment.

Comfort Women and Japanese Government

One of the things that aids the recovery of rape victims is being believed.  To have the Japanese Government consider revisiting its 1995 apology for its wartime crimes against women in the form of enforced prostitution known as 'comfort women' is not only outrageous but damaging for those women who are still alive. 

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Thurgoona pharmacist dropped by Soul Pattinson

Simon Horsfall is a pharmacist in Thurgoona, Albury who says that his local priest advised him against dispensing emergency contraception.   Clearly Mr Horsfall has a right to his religious beliefs.  However, there are complications with sensitive issues such as contraception, condoms and emergency contraception.  Mr Horsfall has apparently put notes in packets of the oral contraceptive pill for over 12 years stating "If your primary reson for taking this medicine is contraceptive then it would be appreciated, that in the future, you could respect our views and have your OCP prescriptions filled elsewhere."  This is relatively honest.  Emergency contraception is a more difficult issue.  There is a window when it is effective which is approximately 72 hours.  To send a person away to go three kilometres to the next pharmacy without warning them about the time constraints is not honest. 

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Lancet Report on Incidents of Sexual Assault Worldwide

New research published in The Lancet reports that 1 in 14 women have been sexual assaulted at least once in their lives by someone other than an intimate partner.  Causing interest in the media has been the assertion that Australia and New Zealand have a very high rate of sexual assault.  But it will show as higher than other regions such as North Africa and South Asia for a number of reasons.  Australia and New Zealand's definitions of rape are broader than most countries. Reporting rates, although known to be low, are likely to be higher than in countries where women are punished for being raped. 

Salvation Army Victims

The Salvation Army should be commended for the Commissioner James Condon publicly stating that the Salvation Army no longer considers its reputation a priority when dealing with victims of child sexual assault. "The priority is the survivor, not protection of the Salvation Army" he told the Royal Commisson earlier this month. A new process is being trialled called 'People First' which provides an unreserved apology and a lump sum payment to victims.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Eminem's Mysogynist Rants

US rapper Eminem has made a career out of causing outrage.  This is often no more than entertainment. You have to have something different to sell in his area or no-one takes any notice. However, entertainment or not the costant denigration of women, the violent rapes and murders he details in his rap songs make this world a more dangerous place for women generally.  His vicious abuse of his ex wife Kim is pure self indulgence and should not be encouraged. 
Australian Immigration Fact Sheet 78 on Controversial Visa Applications refers to  "people whose presence in Australia may, because of their activities, reputation, known record or the cause they represent and propagate, vilify or incite discord in the Australian community or a segment of that community, or represent a danger to the Australian community or a segment of that community."

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Sexual Assault Reporting Anonymously S.A.R.A. and Victoria Police

Victoria Police are to be congratulated on finding a way to accept our information from our S.A.R.A app.  The app has been in existence for over a year and we receive regular anonymous reports from people who have been assaulted.  Sometimes these reports are from other States and Territories. 

Monday, 20 January 2014

Rabbi Moti Elon

Rabbi Moti Elon was convicted of sexual misconduct towards a student and received a sentence of 6 months community order, 3 years probation and a requirement he pay the victim NIS 10 000.  Following in the steps of the Catholic Church hierarchy in providing unconditional support to convicted offenders, a prominent religious Zionist Rabbi Chaim Druckman invited Rabbi Elon to deliver weekly Torah lessons at a yeshiva. 

Friday, 10 January 2014

Forced to marry her rapist - Amina Filali

Amina Filali was raped and beaten at the age of 16 years.  When her family complained to officials the rapist was offered an option that exists under Moroccan Law of marrying Amina.  Amina's family agreed to this proposal.  Amina killed herself rather than live a life of constant rape.  We need to all protest against this sort of legalised violence against women.  Article 475 in Morroco's penal code allows a rapist to avoid prosecution and a long prison sentence by marrying his victim if she is under age. 

Friday, 3 January 2014

Italian Court Overturns Paedophile Conviction For Having Sex With An 11 Year Old Girl

There is something completely unbelievable about Italy's highest court overturning the conviction of a 60 year old man who had sex with an 11 year old girl with whom he had a professional relationship.  The grounds were apparently the lack of physical force and the girl's feeling of love towards her 60 year old social worker.  It appears that the court has never heard of grooming or of children's infatuation with people who show them attention especially if they are from a family where they have been neglected.