Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sexual Assault.

I've just been watching The 7:30 Report and I am still furious - not I hasten to add at the program which handled a sensitive subject with tact and balance. The subject was the handling of sexual assault accusations involving footballers.

I'm not making any comment on specific cases. That's a matter for the police and State prosecutors but let's make this clear for anyone who doesn't get it that any sexual act which does not include informed consent whether committed on a woman or man is sexual assault. Rape. Informed consent means someone is not unconscious or under the influence of drugs or alcohol to an extent that affects their ability to refuse. It includes the right to say no even at a late stage. It also means that no matter what the social status or occupation of a person they have the right to refuse and that right has to be respected. It doesn't matter if the victim is a prostitute, a bus driver or a nun, whether she or he agreed to have sex with someone else before or whether he or she changed their mind after initially agreeing. It's still sexual assault. It's still rape if they do not consent.

I'm spelling this out because a certain percentage of people (mostly men) don't seem to get that this is not 'the boys having a bit of fun'. I wonder how they would feel if it had been their sisters, wives or girlfriends treated with such disrespect. I suspect they'd be thinking my girl wouldn't put herself in that position but I'm pretty sure these other women didn't intend to make themselves vulnerable either.

In many of the cases that have been reported the victim's character is blackened and even if the case is proven there's a lingering suggestion that maybe she's pulling a fast one. She's got a few bruises? Well she likes it rough. Why anyone would accept that I don't know. If someone gives a man a black eye no-one says 'Oh he likes it', do they?

What it comes down to is she - or he - may well have made foolish decisions but does being foolish excuse someone assaulting you? I was once told by a gang rape victim that although she had had too much to drink it didn't give a group of men the right to attack her. She was right.


Satima Flavell said...

Yes, this is a foul crime that is not taken as seriously as it should be by the police or some sporting bodies.

Imagine me said...

I get really upset about this. A few years ago I was told by four different women in the space of six months that they had been sexually assaulted - in a variety of different situations - and I have to say if that many out of my general aquaintances told me I hate to think of how many others there were as well. Even worse is that all of them have suffered in coping with the experience ever since. There's an entirely false conception that because it is not visible it's not important - they'll get over it but in so many cases they don't.