There was a horrific rape in Hamilton. The two men have been sentenced to 16 and 15 years in jail. They seem to be completely unremorseful. They tried to claim that it was consensual sex, but given that they first abducted the girl that they assaulted, it seems a completely unrealistic claim. Fortunately, the jury wasn’t convinced at all.
The details of the crime are horrid – all reported in the paper.
And courtesy of Stuff, there’s a massive serving of victim blaming at the end of the article.
TIPS ON STAYING SAFE
Travel in pairs
Make sure people know where you are, and when they are next likely to hear from you
Be aware of your environment
Do not travel with strangers
Here’s a screen grab of the helpful hints.
And here’s a link to the article, for the record. Don’t don’t don’t read the article – it’s full of details about the crime. Rapist pair show no remorse
I find this astounding, that at the end of an article describing the brutal treatment of a young woman, a news site could include these “safety” tips, implying that somehow, it was the young woman’s fault that she was raped. This is rape culture in action – blaming the victim, and making it very clear that if only she had done something different, none of this would have happened.
I don’t have access to a physical copy of the Waikato Times, where the story was originally published. To the credit of the Waikato Times, the helpful hints don’t appear on their website. They’re only on the aggregated Stuff website.
We visited the Battle of Bosworth exhibition today. I found some very clear evidence that at least one of my friends had visited it too.
So which one of you was it?
I was on Radio New Zealand Nights last night, talking about rape culture. I found it very, very challenging. It’s a topic that’s easy to talk about with my fabulous feminist friends, because we start from a base of knowledge and analysis about rape and rape culture. Bryan Crump, who hosts Radio NZ Nights, had done some background reading for the talk, but I was intensely aware that our audience had probably not heard much about rape culture at all, or preferred not to think about rape, or even found it offensive. And of course, some people would be have experienced rape or sexual assault themselves, so hearing a discussion about it could be difficult for them.
You can listen to the recording here: RNZ Nights – Discussion of rape culture – MP3 – 16’34″
If the link won’t work for you, you can download podcasts direct from the Radio NZ site: RNZ Nights – Audio from Monday 8 April.
I’m very grateful to the wonderful women who have discussed rape culture, particularly Melissa McEwan, TallulahSpankhead, Emma, Coley Tangerina, tigtog and the Hoydens, Luddite Journo, anjum rahman and of course, Julie Fairey. NB: all these links go to posts about rape and rape culture.
And off-line, my dear friends Jackie Clark, and Cat Pausé.
There’s a new man in the Vatican, and he seems to be a humble man. He’s not interested in all the pomp and glory, not does he want to lead an isolated life. So instead of living in the grand (grandiose?) papal apartments, he’s going to live at St Martha’s House.
His reason for doing this? He likes living in community.
Pope Bergoglio’s fondness for community life in St. Martha’s House is quite obvious to everyone. The chance of meeting people, sitting down for meals with them, sharing parts of his day with the other residents and celebrating mass in a chapel that is able to hold a good number of people: all these reasons contributed to Francis’ decision to stay, which he communicated to the other guests of St. Martha’s House, first of all to the fifty priests and monsignors who work in the Roman Curia and were able to return to their rooms following the Conclave.
Isn’t that nice? The Vatican Insider certainly thinks so, saying that:
Bergoglio has essentially chosen normality. A normality and approachability that has struck representatives of other Christian denominations in recent days, particularly the Orthodox delegations representing the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow, who were glad to have had the opportunity to sit down to table with the Pope.
It’s all about “normality”.
Except there’s just one critical facet of “normality” that Pope Francis and the Vatican Insider have overlooked.
St Martha’s House is a no-girls-allowed zone. The hostel is for priests and prelates. And in the Roman Catholic church, those priests and prelates are all men. So there will be no chance meetings with women, no possibility of a casual conversation that might give the pope an insight into women’s lives and women’s realities, no passing the time of day with members of half the human race.
Mind you, it’s not quite true that there are no women in St Martha’s House. The House is run by members of the order of Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul. That’s right. There are women there, to do the housework.
And that’s normal, isn’t it?
It turns out that plenty of new mothers aren’t exactly forthcoming with Plunket nurses.
For people from outside New Zealand, Plunket is an in-home baby and new parent support service. When you have a new baby, and after you have left your midwife’s care, or hospital care, you sign on with a child and baby health support service. Someone from that service will visit you at home while your baby is tiny, to give you advice and assistance with everything from bathing the baby, to feeding it, to managing older siblings. Once your baby is a little older, you will visit the support provider’s rooms. The support provider will carry out a series of “well child” checks (height, weight, developmental milestones, general health). Plunket is the oldest of these services in New Zealand, and for a long time, it was the only provider of such services. It is much lauded, with good reason.
But… it’s very judgey, even when it’s not meant to be. You will breastfeed your child for six months. You will worry if your child is not lifting her head at 3 months. You will never let the baby sleep with you. All the rules for looking after small babies and children, laid down in black and white.
Here’s the problem. Even when Plunket nurses try not to be judgey, they are. You can be made to feel very small for having strayed from the guidelines in any way. And those guidelines turn out to be not very flexible at all. When my younger daughters were about 18 months old, I took them in for a regular checkup. They were doing well, but then I was asked how much milk they drank each day. About 400 to 500mls, I said. Neither of them were fond of milk.
I got the look. “You really should get them to drink more milk. They should be drinking about 600mls a day.”
My older daughter was with us, so the Plunket nurse took the opportunity to check up on her too. She was about four at the time. “And how much milk is Miss Four drinking each day.”
About 800 to 1000mls. She really liked milk. “Too much. She should only be drinking 600mls a day.”
So it turned out that the “guideline” was in fact a rigid rule, and any straying from that was not to be discussed in the context of the whole child, and what else she was eating and drinking.
I am a highly educated, middle class, white woman, and I felt intimidated, and judged. And really, even if I was doing all the “right” things, it would be hard not to feel judged. Health service visitors come into your home and assess what you are doing with your children. It’s very intrusive, even when it’s very helpful. My Plunket nurse was also a source of some great advice, especially with respect to managing twins. Even so, at times I found the advice, well, judgemental.
But for all that, take a look at the story about new mums not necessarily being honest with Plunket. It’s all framed as being a problem with the mothers.
Lying to Plunket nurses has become commonplace among first-time mums as they shy away from confrontation and questions about their baby’s milestones.
Let’s turn it around, and think about the source of the problems. How about…
Pressure from Plunket nurses is so great that young mothers feel they have to conceal things.
Then this becomes a story about how the support structures around new parents aren’t working, and a story about the need for better training of Plunket nurses and other health care workers. Simple stuff, like how to frame a conversation. For example, here’s a bad conversation.
Mum: I’ve started my five month old on solids.
Nurse: Really, she shouldn’t have solids until she’s six months old.
And here’s a simple way to talk about exactly the same issue.
Mum: I’ve started my five month old on solids.
Nurse: Okay. What was your thinking around that?
Mum: She seemed to be very hungry, and she’s a big baby for her age. It’s only a little amount of rice cereal, in the evenings.
Nurse: Yes, I understand that. Just take it gently, and try to keep it down to just a little bit for the next month or so.
Framing. It makes a difference.