Tag Archives: Sexual Violence

Sexual Violence is (or should be) an Election Issue

trigger warning

Last week, I was honoured to represent Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP at the launch of Thursdays in Black Aotearoa’s report, In Our Own Words.  Thursdays in Black is an international student-led movement focused on building a world without rape and violence.

In September and October 2016, Thursdays in Black Aotearoa undertook a nationwide online survey of 1400 tertiary students, asking about their experiences of sexual violence both prior to and during tertiary study; their experiences of sexuality education during secondary study, their access to sexual violence support services at tertiary level, and so much more.

In Our Own Words is a stunning piece of work. While the authors take care to note it is not a prevalence survey, the sample size is large enough to draw some very telling conclusions. Continue reading Sexual Violence is (or should be) an Election Issue

‘Grooming’ and Racialisation Politics

In the wake of 9/11, contemporary Islamophobia has become globalised, especially in the ‘West’. In turn, ‘a global stock of clichés, stereotypes and folk myths about the Muslim ‘Other’’ are frequently drawn upon to inform common sense about local circumstances and local events. These processes can underpin ‘a seemingly never-ending series of moral panic spirals in which the perceived deviance of Muslims is amplified’.

In recent research, Waqas Tufail (a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Leeds Beckett University) and Scott Poynting (adjunct Professor at the University of Western Sydney) have traced how Muslim communities became demonised following a case of ‘grooming’ and sexual violence in Rochdale, UK. Continue reading ‘Grooming’ and Racialisation Politics

Rape and Patriarchy

By Hughillustration, via Wikimedia Commons

Last week in Wellington saw two incidents from separate schools in which teenage boys demonstrated their entitlement to make sexually derogatory comments about girls and women on Facebook pages.

Some of those seeking to explain the boys’ behaviour have sought to minimise their culpability by claiming these were boys with good values who must just be joking.

The “can’t you take a joke” refrain features as a key display item in the women’s movement’s museum of feminist backlash memorabilia.

Rape is no joking matter. It is profoundly disturbing that boys in 2017 might consider it still to be so. How do we explain the fact that boys whose entire lives have been lived in what some would term a post-feminist era come to not only hold such views but seek peer esteem through sharing them?

There are many clues to this so-called mystery. The most useful starting point lies in acknowledging the tenacity of the patriarchal footprint on our culture. Continue reading Rape and Patriarchy

Constructing Rape

What can the Scott Kuggeleijn rape case teach us about how we think about sexual violence?

New Zealanders love sport. Cricket and rugby are two sports in particular that are afforded considerable status and occupy a position of national prominence. However, while our professional athletes are revered for their impressive sporting talents, they don’t always all behave in exemplary ways, as some of the evidence presented in the recent trial of Cricketer Scott Kuggeleijn suggests.

The acquittal of Kuggeleijn on rape charges and the discourse surrounding the trial reveals a lot about how we think about sexual violence, the narratives that frame our societal understanding of it, and raises important questions for the future if we are to move toward a safer society for women in particular. Continue reading Constructing Rape

A Woman’s Words: What are They Worth?

lipno2New Zealand newspaper reporting on rape presents some grave concerns in relation to how women as victims are discussed, objectified, and silenced. The 2016 trial of ‘Northern Districts’ cricketer Scott Kuggeleijn has showed this all too clearly.

Kuggeleijn took to the stand after a woman alleged that he raped her, at her Hamilton flat in May 2015. Comments from The New Zealand Herald and Stuff showed little progress from sexist attitudes towards women, and the abhorrent culture that surrounds rape and sexual violence in this country. Stating that the complainant was dressed “very provocatively” with her “breasts out” and “quite revealing with a short skirt and pink top” (Feek, 2016) only serve to remind us that women, and their appearances, are, in some way to blame for rape (Feek, 2016).

Kuggeleijn’s defence lawyer suggested that the cricketer acted as any other man would when he tried to have sex with a woman after she had earlier said ‘no’: “If I said to you that 100 men who have been in that situation and tried again you would have a forest of hands. There’s nothing horrible about that, it’s just a reflection of life really, and what was Kuggeleijn other than one of these men?” (Akoorie, 2016). Continue reading A Woman’s Words: What are They Worth?

Intimate Partner Sexual Violence: The ‘Real Rape’ Stereotype

With thanks to Jehane, who made this photograph freely available with a Creative Commons licence.
Photo: Jehane. Republished under a Creative Commons licence.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, we have the worst rates of sexual violence perpetrated by intimate partners in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (NZ FV Clearinghouse, 2011). But, despite this shocking statistic, a dangerous ‘real rape’ stereotype exists. This stereotype is a mainstream perception that sexual violence can only be perpetrated by an armed stranger in a dark alleyway. Continue reading Intimate Partner Sexual Violence: The ‘Real Rape’ Stereotype

Rugby, Violence and Athletic Privilege

rugby-violence3We need to talk about NZ’s sporting cultures

Despite the numerous on-field successes for New Zealand rugby, the behaviour of some of its players and officials off the field has raised tough questions about our country’s sporting culture. Cases of violence towards others and mistreatment of women by some of New Zealand’s rugby players have led to limited repercussions. A national conversation regarding why these events occurred, and how they may be addressed, is long overdue.  Continue reading Rugby, Violence and Athletic Privilege