Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Rape and unreason

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  • Nigel McNie,

    I am heartened by the storm of protest his ranting has received. People care. The message is getting out. Maybe we will see the culture change we need in our lifetimes after all?

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2012 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • David MacGregor,

    We seem, collectively, to accept that columnists like Jones, Jeremy Clarkson and A.A. Gill (who all hail from a certain cohort - ah, let's just call them white, middle aged and with access) are some sort of 'antidote' to panty-waist reason/political correctness or even balance. They play to a crowd that feels marginalised and increasingly irrelevant in contemporary society - white, middle aged men mostly. They hide behind the smoke-screen of a sort of John Cleese in-character ranting that was once funny because it was a parody but isn't when it is 'the thing' itself.
    On the other hand being worthy but dull won't cut it in today's media circus either.
    Jones should observe the Marquess of Queensberry's rules when addressing matters in print: A man hanging on the ropes in a helpless state, with his toes off the ground, shall be considered down. Re-prosecuting the victims in his column is hardly 'a fair stand-up...match'

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Nigel McNie,

    Maybe we will see the culture change we need in our lifetimes after all?

    I was really heartened to see a couple of people criticise Jones whom I'd seen run the 'sensible precautions' line themselves in the past. People change their minds between arguments, not during them. OTOH, I just had a guy on Twitter call me 'silly' for not telling my daughter not to walk at night. I love it when men lecture women about rape, like we've never really thought about it before.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4637 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I've thought like this in the past, and it was you who helped to change my mind on that (and god knows how much other stuff). And so, this morning, I have been able to talk with a woman, younger than me, who was espousing the same sort of ideology as your silly man.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve,

    I sat on the jury of a rape trial for three days in 2009 (I think) - it was one of the most disheartening experiences of my life.

    As I remember it, the scenario went something like this:

    The victim, a woman in her early 40s who would probably be described as a bogen by some, was approached by a younger man she knew through friends. He invited her back to his place to drink and smoke some weed.

    They went to his place and had some drinks (8% bourbon and cola, to stay within stereotypes) and smoked a little weed with his flatmates. He then started to get a bit touchy feely with her, but she rebuffed him and then decided to leave. They all (the accused, victim and two flatmates) went downstairs and outside, but once they got outside he grabbed her, phsyically dragged her upstairs and locked the flatmates outside. He then took her to his room pushed her on the bed and ordered her to undress.

    By her testimony she was afraid as he'd physically overpowered her and she basically shut down and just did whatever she was told out of fear.

    In the mean time the flatmates called police who arrived after he'd assaulted her but while she was still locked inside. They spoke to her through a window where she, at his instruction told him she was fine, but unsatisfied and based on the flatmates' statements he was arrested and charged.

    In the summing up of the case the judge explicitly told us that a defence to rape, given that she had not, according to her testimony fought or shouted or explicitly said stop, required that a "reasonable person" in the circumstances would believe they had consent to have sex.

    I was the youngest on the jury (at about 29) and one of 4-5 males I think. I was one of only three who believed he should be convicted. The rest of the jury argued points like "well she didn't say no" and "she should have known better than to go to his place with him" and "they were doing drugs and drinking"

    There was no dispute about the main claim of the events by the defence, only that the victim hadn't made it clear they weren't a willing participant.

    In the end, mainly because I and one other juror made it very clear we wouldn't change our opinion, we declared that we couldn't reach a verdict.

    After returning our non-verdict we became aware that it was a retrial. I'm going to assume that after two failed attempts to get a conviction that neither the police or victim wanted to go for a third try.

    It was absolutely clear to me, from evidence presented by the victim and witnesses (the accused didn't testify) that there was no way any reasonable person could believe they had consent after physically overpowering someone and detaining them.

    Like I said - one of the most disheartening experiences of my life.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Someone on Twitter (I saw it retweeted) talked about all the criticism coming from "vested interests".

    I sent an all caps email to a friend talk about how, yes, indeed, I do have a vested interest in not being raped. But there were more swears.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I was really heartened to see a couple of people criticise Jones whom I’d seen run the ‘sensible precautions’ line themselves in the past.

    There's nothing wrong with suggesting that people consider their personal image and how they might appear to others. But in the end none of it matters - no matter how "foolish" a person might be in getting themselves into some situation, nothing ever justifies the actions of another in attacking that person.

    It's exactly the same as situations where cops kill some unarmed drunkard and people say "well he should have listened to their orders" - ignoring police instructions shouldn't ever be an offence punishable by death.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Russell Brown,

    A chap called Nat Dudley has helpfully rewritten Jones’ column for him.

    “They were unlucky to come to a country that believes that women can prevent rape by their actions – by hiding away and by not dressing ‘slutty’. This is shown at the highest level in our judiciary. This is a country that doesn’t seem to want to change. Perhaps we should issue tourists with a pamphlet warning them of that.”

    This.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3886 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I was really heartened to see a couple of people criticise Jones whom I’d seen run the ‘sensible precautions’ line themselves in the past. People change their minds between arguments, not during them. OTOH, I just had a guy on Twitter call me ‘silly’ for not telling my daughter not to walk at night. I love it when men lecture women about rape, like we’ve never really thought about it before.

    Oh yes. And Jones did plenty of that.

    It was beside the point of the column, but Albert Park isn't unlit, it's a common thoroughfare and it's right in the centre of town. I also suspect he pulled his claim about the rate of rape of tourists here out of his arse along with all his other factoids.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Morgan Nichol,

    If women don't want to get raped they shouldn't do stupidly provocative things like make feminist critiques of video games or have avatars with their faces or be all uppity about being a human and deserving of some modicum of respect or pretty much exist.

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 313 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    Someone on Twitter (I saw it retweeted) talked about all the criticism coming from “vested interests”.

    Does this person understand English?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I also suspect he pulled his claim about the rate of rape of tourists here out of his arse along with all his other factoids.

    Factorrhoids. Shitty and irritating.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3886 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    It was absolutely clear to me, from evidence presented by the victim and witnesses (the accused didn’t testify) that there was no way any reasonable person could believe they had consent after physically overpowering someone and detaining them.

    Like I said – one of the most disheartening experiences of my life.

    Shit, it was dispiriting just reading about that ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Does this person understand English?

    I couldn't possibly comment.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Shit, it was dispiriting just reading about that ...

    Yup. The three of us on the jury arguing for a guilty verdict were two guys and one woman. The other guy was in his 50s I think. Seemed business line. The woman was a little older than me I'd say. I was flabbergasted (not something I often am) to see women on the jury making those types of justifications especially. Maybe I shouldn't have been. It was all surreal and awful.

    Fully expected we'd wander into our little room, talk for 15 minutes about what a scumbag the guy was and convict him, but nope.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Morgan Nichol, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    I understand from discussing this with a lawyer that women jurors tend to be the least forgiving of rape complainants.

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 313 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Morgan Nichol,

    I don't have time to go find the research but yes. Because if you can come up with a reason that that woman got raped, then if you don't do that (if you're a good girl), then you won't be.

    Because there but for the grace of short skirts/being drunk/being in the wrong place at the wrong time, etc.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Normally with Sir Bob's ravings, you can just dismiss them as deliberate provocations of an attention-seeker who loves shit-stirring. But then I read Dylan's jury experience and I think, no, this isn't the same as Sir Bob saying he doesn't respect people who wear sunglasses on their heads. There will be people who read his column and think, yeah, he has a good point. It's those same people who could easily end up on a jury. And what if at the next trial there aren't other jurors who are as firm in their stance as Dylan and the other two jurors at that trial. How depressing.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    I found it unbelievable that the editors in what purports to be a respectable newspaper would allow such a dishonest and disgusting column to be published.

    There is nothing acceptable about saying these things. It is even less acceptable to publish them.

    They may as well publish p0rn and be done with it if page views are a measure of success.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4431 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Read the Jones column and the accompanying comments, leaving my own comment along the lines of;

    Interesting that this story is accompanied by an ad insert for "removing urine stains" for the story is an urine stain and some of the subsequent comments have made it worse

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2524 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Comments?! Oh god, I'm not going there.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Morgan Nichol, in reply to Tom Beard,

    Listen Tom, you're an implausible target, but if you don't want to get raped you should stay out of the comments.

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 313 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    Well well well...:

    Across the country there were significant reductions in burglaries, theft, robbery and illicit drug offences, but increases in sexual assaults and domestic violence offences.

    But apparently that increase isn't bad because:

    In Counties Manukau, the crime rate also dropped, though recorded sexual offences climbed by 16 per cent.

    Police said in a statement that this figure reflected the fact the more people were reporting sexual crimes.

    "This can be considered a positive result, attributed to a higher level of trust and confidence in Counties Manukau Police officers and as a result more offences reported, rather than more offences occurring.

    "In many cultures, sexual offences are considered shameful and victims may be pressured by family to not report the crimes."

    Well, I hope they're right about that.

    It's a pity they still have a link to that obnoxious screed in the sidebar.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    They may as well publish p0rn and be done with it if page views are a measure of success.

    That would at least be honest and a lot less offensive.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

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