Monthly Archives: August 2008

“Lashing out” – the damage just keeps on going

Cross post

When I first started blogging, over a year ago now, there were some sickening cases of abuse in the newspapers in New Zealand.  One of the comments I made, here and here, was that I would believe that New Zealanders were commited to ending domestic violence against women and children when the All Blacks started donating their ‘Player of the Match’ awards to Women’s Refuge.  Only when the macho rugby union heroes of New Zealand (not my heroes, you will understand) stand up, in public, and make it very, very clear that giving the bash to the missus and the kids is completely and utterly wrong, will I start to think that perhaps a cultural change might be underway. So far, it hasn’t happened.

However, it turns out that rugby league star Ruben Wiki is a long time donor to Women’s Refuge. Ruben, you’re a champion.

But as the NZ Herald reports, there’s a problem.

Wiki had wanted to donate some of the proceeds from a $170-a-head gala luncheon held in Auckland in his honour last week to Women’s Refuge, but organisers put the kibosh on that proposal because of a potential conflict with the event’s main sponsor, Radio Sport.

Radio Sport used to employ Tony Veitch, the blokey sports presented who has just resigned from his jobs, because he ‘lashed out’ (his words), and allegedly pushed his former partner down the stairs, kicked in the back, so hard that some vertebrae were cracked or broken, and then left her there for a while before getting medical help for her.

(The details are here, commentary on Veitch’s non-apology is here, there’s a lengthy discussion here (over 1000 comments, on the most reasoned of the big NZ blogs), and a bit more here from another thread at the same venue. And Hand Mirror writers have addressed other aspects of the whole sickening issue here and here and here and here.)

Lovely. So now, not only has some very serious harm been done this Tony Veitch’s former partner, but now his former employer is so concerned, not about domestic violence but about their own image, that they won’t even tolerate donations being given to Women’s Refuge, the people who work at the coalface. The thing is, it wouldn’t even have been tokenistic for them to be involved in this, to enable Ruben Wiki to give some of the money raised to Women’s Refuge. Wiki has apparently been donating to them for years.

Wiki declined to speak to the Herald on Sunday about the controversy, but it is understood that over the years he has been a regular contributor to the coffers of Women’s Refuge.

So what’s going on here? Is Radio Sport so desperate to protect their former star that they won’t even let a real sportsman, someone who doesn’t just talk the talk but gets out there and plays the game and does so stunningly well (apparently – I don’t follow league, or indeed any sports at all, but the man has captained the Kiwis so I’m guessing that he’s a rather good player) continue doing what he has done for years? Are they not prepared to countenance doing anything at all that might help to repair the damage done by domestic violence?

Maybe it’s an employment or judicial matter. Any explanations would be welcomed. In the meantime, I have a sour taste in my mouth. Again.

Friday Feminist – Sylvia Soderlind

Cross posted

Because of this.

The metaphor of rape seems peculiarly attractive to male post-colonial writers. What happens, one may ask, when the literally colonized woman tries to speak, if her place has been usurped by the cross-dressing colonized (and that only metaphorically) writer who has invaded and appropriated the margin by relegating woman to a metaphoric status (not a new phenomenon, to be sure, but more disturbing, I would argue, when it results in depriving her of a reality specific to her lived experience).

Sylvia Soderlind, “Margins and Metaphors: the Politics of Post-***”, in Theo D’Haen and Hans Bertens (eds.), Liminal Postmodernisms, 1994

Apt

The fabulous political theatre going on in New Zealand today is enormously entertaining (and yes, very serious too, and I am working on a post about the players).

But in the meantime, the advertising banner at the top of the NZ Herald page when I was reading the latest story was very apt.

Because rape isn’t rape if a 12yo ‘consents’

A 24 year old man ‘had sex’ with a 12 year old girl. He got a sentence of 2 years and 10 months, but it has been suspended.

Why? Because the child “was an enthusiastic participant in the relationship.” That’s according to the judge.

Perhaps it’s worth reminding m’lud about the law. Children.Can’t.Consent. That makes it rape. No ifs, not buts, no maybes, no excuses.

Since when is a suspended sentence appropriate when a grown man has raped a child?

Sadly, the trope is all too familiar.

And a note to the media. It’s not sex. It’s rape. Another all too familiar trope.

Update: Hoyden about Town posts on the same horrible sotry, and links to the Adelaide Advertiser article, where the word ‘rape’ is never mentioned at all.

It seems the man was ‘immature’ and sexually inexperienced. Read – he wasn’t getting any. Clearly, that meant he was entitled to take a 12 year old’s body.

Lawns and other things

When you give your seven year old daughters bikes for their birthdays, this is what happens to your lawn within just a few days.

Terrible for the lawn.

But wonderful for the girls. Their delight and growing physical confidence is a joy to behold. There have been a few spills, like at least one per day, including some nastyish ones on the gravel drive, but after a sob, a hug and a drying of tears, they get straight back on, without any parental urging at all. They are now agitating to be allowed to ride to school, despite the exceedingly busy road we go along to get there.

I have said yes, conditionally. The conditions are that I need to have finished up my temp job, and they need to be able to get off their bikes without crashing, and we will be going via the longer but much, much quieter side roads, instead of along the shorter but far too busy arterial route into the CBD.

My job, however, is going to continue for a while longer. This is a good thing. When you are working in a temp job, and the contract is due to come to an end, and you can see that they still don’t have enough staff and there is work needing to be done, and no new staff are due to start any time soon, then if you are not asked to stay on, it might indicate that perhaps you aren’t doing as well as both you, and they, had hoped. So I was pleased to be asked to stay on. And I am, in any case, very much enjoying the content of my job, and the people with whom I am working, even if I don’t like the juggle between home, the job, the tutoring I’m doing at the university, and my singing.

So, on with the work. I might however, be back to blogging just a little bit more. My parents have left today, after a visit which we all enjoyed enormously. Instead of blogging I have been sitting up late with them, talking and drinking. They are such a bad influence on me. But I will miss them, their conversation, their company, their empathy, and their grandparenting (they are wonderful grandparents).

Even though it’s on with the work for a few more weeks, I have cut down my hours a little. Through hard and bitter experience in past years, we have learned that we can manage about one and a half jobs between us, before things turn to custard at home. We have for the past few weeks been doing about one and two-thirds jobs, and that extra one-sixth, just five or six hours a week (of actual at-desk work, not lunch breaks and the like) has been enough to make things tricky for us. I will be at home two days a week, which means that I will have time to run alongside the girls as they ride to school. (For the pedants among you, who will already have noticed that two days a week at home means a 60% job rather than a 50% one, I also come home early a couple of days a week, to collect the girls from school.)

How long before I get a bike of my own, do you think?