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Turnbull’s actions should carry a trigger warning for all women who have survived sexual violence

At a time when we are struggling in this country with the death of two women every week from male-perpetrated domestic violence, and the physical, emotional and psychological injury of thousands more women. At a time when we are struggling with the lifelong scarring of children who witness this violence.

At a time when we are struggling in this country with the sexual abuse of children by men who have authority over them, both historical and current, children whose lives are ruined by predatory males in positions of power.

At a time in this country when we are only beginning to truthfully acknowledge the criminal damage done to women and children by men who abuse and torture and murder us.

At this time, our new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his robotic axeman Immigration Minister Peter Dutton (who used to work as a copper investigating sex crimes, yes, think about that) choose as their scapegoat and human sacrifice to the racist subhumans who comprise the demographic that keeps them in power, a raped and pregnant Somali refugee.

There will hardly be a woman amongst us today who has survived sexual assault, domestic violence, and childhood sexual abuse whose trauma will not be triggered by the treatment of Abyan by Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton.

We will flashback to the times when we cried out into a vast silence for someone to help us, and for most of us, nobody listened.

We will flashback to the terror, the helplessness, the powerless we experienced when a man more powerful than us exercised his privilege and presumed entitlement over our bodies, minds and spirits.

We will remember our impotence. The sense that nothing about ourselves belongs to us, but has been colonised by a male invader because he can, because he wants to and because he has no appreciation of or care for our humanity.

In their treatment of Abyan, Turnbull and Dutton have triggered the memories and the rage of thousands upon thousands of Australian women who have historical and current experiences of the brutality, contempt and sense of entitlement perpetrating men both feel and act out in their violence towards us.

Turnbull and Dutton have given their tacit support to sexual assault and violence against women by their actions in this matter. They may believe they are acting only against one Somali refugee. But they aren’t. They are acting against every woman who has suffered and survived, and they are acting against every woman and girl who can imagine what it is to be violated by a man, and is yet to be so violated.

When they sacrificed Abyan on the altar of their political ambition, they sacrificed all of us.

Oh, brave new world, that has such vile men in it.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.


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  1. keerti

    Please don’t refer to either of these two creeps as men. They are not even human!

  2. Michael Peters

    It’s time – two pairs of us challenge two pairings of ScoMo,ToAbb, PeDut, and MalTur to a week’s R&R at each of our resorts on Manus and Nauru – conditions to be negotiated.

  3. Loz

    It’s time that these people went to Manus and Nauru to see the conditions for themselves.

  4. kerri

    I used to read reports of atrocious state sanctioned behaviour in other countries and was thankful that I lived in a country more civilised, where such appalling treatment of citizens would never occur!!!
    I am reminded of stories from the middle east where raped and pregnant women were taken to the local stadium to be stoned to death for being adulterous?
    Out of the frying pan into the fire simply for being a woman?
    We should be worried! Very worried indeed that the treatment of Abyan is seen as justified.

  5. diannaart

    We will flashback to the times when we cried out into a vast silence for someone to help us, and for most of us, nobody listened.

    I did escape; I even left my home Australia for a while and lived in the USA, using an entire ocean to separate me from him. Not a single neighbour ever intervened. We were not poor, we lived at a time when too many men considered women and children as possessions – apparently too many men still hold these beliefs, either secretly or if powerful enough, quite blatantly:

    Mr Turnbull said he stood by the “tough” and “harsh” measures introduced by the subsequent Gillard and Abbott governments because stopping the boats had stopped deaths at sea.

    Can someone explain to these over privileged nitwits that people who do not get on boats are still not safe!

  6. Triggered



  7. paul walter

    Pessimistic at this stage that we will see the back of people like Bambi Baird and slick Turnbull now entrenching themselves any time soon…public like the pretty pictures but don’t read the printed bits…doh, love a sunburnt country..

    What a missed opportunity the years between 2007 and now have been.

  8. Geoff Andrews

    You’re right, Paul. Apart from Rudd’s aspirational “moral dilemma of our time”, we’ve had the Libs acting like a rabble without a pause and Labor a rubble without applause. I blame Whitlam, of course. Free university in the 70’s and 80’s meant too many reached their level of incompetence prematurely without realising it. Children given keys to the tantalus.

  9. Dagney J. Taggart

    “human sacrifice to the racist subhumans who comprise the demographic that keeps them in power”. Racist subhumans…. Wow. So people like my elderly parents are considered “subhuman” by you because of how they voted?

  10. crypt0

    There are no words to adequately describe the LNP government currently in power in this country.
    Disgust and contempt do not do not start to describe this Lieberal mob, and the ” racist subhumans who comprise the demographic that keeps them in power”.
    I am told that the word is out overseas, and the perception is sinking in that … this is the Australian way.

  11. diannaart

    I have given up waiting to hear it.

    The cries of outrage and vitriol that was dumped on Gillard for doing the same thing Turnbull has done.

    Is that because he’s a ‘he’?

    Or because he’s a big “L” Liberal?

    Or both?

    Double standards rule.

  12. Philb

    This all matters not. People will kill each other in the rush to vote for these scum again. They own the media and they own the other party. I wont call them a Labor party that is an insult to the word Labour. They are slowly going to dismantle what took a hundred years to build. Social security, penalty rates, the list goes on. They have been most expert with the refugee propaganda and the Australian people are falling for it all hook line and sinker. In my own seat of Canning a Litmus test they have just put in a man that believes the world is less than 10000 years old. I despair.

  13. helenmarg

    Appalling government.Get rid of Dutton and Morrison for a start.

  14. trishcorry

    Thank you Jennifer. I sent a very passionate heart felt tweet last night saying the same. This could be any one of us. I’m so upset and feel so helpless. This is a very twisted and sickening situation.

  15. mmc1949

    And before Gillard, Howard. Alongside Turnbull, Shorten.
    The truth is, both major parties are morally bankrupt … the one in power taking the blame, somewhat protecting the rest and in so doing perhaps deluding us that whoever is in opposition is not quite so bad.

    People who vote Liberal ‘are’ guilty of keeping this lot in power. Who else can you blame? Age does not give “sweet old parents” the right ‘not’ to consider their vote.
    Our right to vote was hard won and should be treated with the respect it deserves.

  16. Reg

    There is a consciousness gap that has allowed the subhuman to enter. No excuse EVER to treat children and women like this EVER. Perpetrators must be treated with total disgust.

  17. Stephen

    Dagney you make a good point. The hatred and vitriol from many here is mind blowing. As for the ‘article’ it is nothing but an opinion piece void of facts. Each to their own but let’s not pass it off as ‘news’. It’s just more hatred and vitriol directed at those whose opinions differ to their own.

  18. Dagney J. Taggart

    Everyone who votes for their party are “guilty” of placing, or keeping them in power, if you want to put it that way. Just because you disagree with them doesn’t mean they are “subhuman”.

  19. corvus boreus

    The treatment of ‘unauthorised maritime arrivals’ has been utterly appalling, particularly the brutalising of children and women incarcerated without trial for something which is not a crime. Those who condone treatment like that which Abyan has been subjected to should feel a deep sense of personal shame, and those who have perpetrated and facilitated these abuses should face serious sanctions.

    However, Dagney J. Taggart does make a very valid point.
    Irrational hatred or fear based upon racial prejudice is a detestable trait, but it does not render a person “sub-human”.
    There is even less validity in applying this term to people because they choose to vote for conservative candidates.
    Do we really want to start branding broad swathes of citizenry as ‘Untermenschen’ based upon a dissonance in ideology?

  20. samanthajanerose

    I am both shocked and appalled, but I should hardly be surprised. The cruelty and inhumanity that is offshore processing, that is the ‘Pacific (non) Solution’ … shouldn’t surprise anyone anymore. The lengths that these men will go to to dehumanize, brutalize and oppress really knows no bounds. To compare this to Nazi Germany would be fallacious, so I will refrain from doing so but the actions of this government under Tony Abbott and under Malcolm Turnbull have all the ugly tell tale signs of fascism. We are told to be on ‘Team Australia’ and that disagreement is tantamount to treason. We have seen the good name of Gillian Triggs defamed because she dared to present the facts about the immense harm offshore detention has on people and especially children. We have seen laws passed which prevent staff and doctors who treat and care for these people from speaking out and if they do they face persecution. We have seen draconian laws in which our metadata will be retained for a period of two years which is a gross invasion of privacy and has been struck down in other countries like the UK, Germany and the US. We have seen moves to give police more power to issue control orders to people of increasingly young ages, now potentially as young as 14. We have seen members of the Coalition jump into bed with anti-abortion activists who wish and threaten death and violence to those who provide abortion services, we have seen them fight and rail against marriage equality despite men and women who are LGBT having served in our military, defending their very right to say the things they say, we have seen them support groups like Reclaim Australia and the UPF and the ugly and divisive bigotry they espouse. Make no mistake ladies and gentlemen, this government is rotten to the core, they are fascist, racist and must be opposed in the strongest possible terms.

  21. mars08

    “….. this government is rotten to the core, they are fascist, racist and must be opposed in the strongest possible terms… “

    Yet this government would be comfortably re-elected if the nation went to the polls tomorrow. Sad but true.

  22. Florence nee Fedup

    So says Fairfax-Ipsos poll, So bad fpor Labor, one would have to question rogue poll or not.

    I believe this govt wll take firsy opportunity to go to the polls. Could be the time.

  23. Jennifer Wilson

    Dagney, Anyone voting for psychopaths of any persuasion, LNP or ALP, who claim to believe that by torturing one group of people they will stop another group of people from drowning are not recognising the humanity of others, or their own. IMO.

  24. Jennifer Wilson

    Corvus boreus, I am making no distinction between conservatives and the ALP in this matter. Both are responsible for the situation in off-shore detention centres. Broad swathes of citizenry apparently approve of this inhumane and illegal treatment of others. I am to respect these people?

  25. crypt0

    “this government would be comfortably re-elected if the nation went to the polls tomorrow”
    Yes … I believe that is the situation in Australia today.
    Be they human, subhuman or whatever, I am waiting for the decent Australians to stand up and vote accordingly.
    If Australia cannot find good candidates to vote for, that is a damning indictment on the population and the MSM who tell them what to think.
    Abbott’s form was well known before the 2013 election, and he was elected anyway.
    Two years later even his colleagues had woken up and replaced him.
    As mmc1949 said, “The truth is, both major parties are morally bankrupt”
    Why would anyone vote for them?
    That is for their supporters to ask themselves, and answer if they will.

  26. Bronte ALLAN

    So much for Talkbull being any “different” to Rabbit! Malcolm Talkbull is just ANOTHER misoginist, flat earth, tea party, right wing, conservative, who also seems to tell the occasional “untruth”, & seems to “guided” by anti-abortion quasi-religion thoughts!

  27. Jimmy

    I take umbrage at the pure hatred of men shown in this article. Not all men are perpetrators of violence, control and murder.
    In fact a very small percentage are. Subhuman is a little strong for some ones political views.
    I agree with points of the post, but people, please your not doing the cause any favours with the language and hatred that you are showing yourselves. Dagney has a point as well.
    Take a breath because your hatred does not come across well, especially when most of you espouse cool, calm, rational debate.

  28. mars08

    Oh Jimmy… too bad you didn’t post your comment a few minutes earlier. Unfortunately I’m having pasta for dinner, so I can’t enjoy some of your fine white whine.

  29. corvus boreus

    Feel free to disrespect actions, views, and the people who own them, to the limits of our current hate-speech laws.
    I am not always polite towards or regarding people condoning or espousing views or doing things that I find utterly offensive, and I sometimes make harsh accusation and, occasionally, ludicrous insult.
    I am just very uncomfortable about slinging the term “sub-human” at other patent Homo sapiens. It has frequently been used, historically, as a convenient categorization to justify some truly horrific atrocities.
    Not speaking such is one way to help stem the hate.

  30. paul walter

    Some of you are missng the point. This is underlyingly about Abyan, the Somalian woman returned to Nauru, in which case the Wilson case assumes a new relevance.

    To get my point further, you will need to watch today’s clip of SHY and a mansplaining civil servant at the Drum and that show’s approach itself, preferring Duttons account to Abyans, the lack of an excerpt on 730 (too busy mossie-bashing again) and the notorious history of both the Coalition and the ALP right on issues pertaining to abortion and the other issue, asylum seekers.

    Wilson has predicted this shit, not justified it.

  31. mars08

    @paul walter +1

  32. corvus boreus

    OK Paul, give us some ‘real’, beyond passing on report of tragedy.
    Suggest a workable solution and the practical means to implement it, preferably operating within the bounds of democracy.
    Bear in mind that, of the only federal political party (Greens) to consistently oppose the policies of mandatory detention (both off and on-shore) and deportation/’refoulement’, you have all too recently expressed a desire to hang or shoot their leader.

  33. mars08

    Looking at the “real” would NOT include spending time discussing the tone an individual’s exact level of loathing of racists… when the repercussions of that racism are leading to the death of innocent, vulnerable, isolated, powerless people.

  34. paul walter

    My disappointment with the Greens derives of their shabby treatment of Rhiannon, which signifies that they have followed the ALP in tracking to the political right through the embrace of pomo relativism and inderterminacy, on the bases of a strange anti leftist hysteria. Ican’t agree withthe ababndonment of the sort of first principles I beleive they are abandoning, for populairty within a politically illiterate population. I dont see how you can can solve the rest without a prior understanding of history and its trends first. You cant save the environment AND save the worst of capitalism, the two are simply too contradictory.

    I also (sorry mars) am not convinced that the only solution to people movements is open borders, without parallel reform of the global economic system to fund such movements and a reassertion of the primacy of Habeas Corpus law. You simply can’t expect locales already under threat from neoliberal globalisation to welcome a further wedge as to an open ended flow of humanity from one end of the planet to another- you have to have some sense that people like the Cheneyite Oligarchs who hiijacked the USA are not again and again going to create wars and consequent massive flows of humanity for personal aggrandisement, while those less well off are expected to pay, over and over, in different ways, for repairs.

    In fact I often wonder if the confused brutal and clumsy way such things are handled is itself not another statagem of oligarchy, playing a new form of class war based on racial critieria.

    I dont see why assessment of refugees has to carry a sado element for sinister, divisive massaged public opinion and consumption and the effort needs to made at this time to for an overview critique rather than a flight from reality as to how the real world works

  35. paul walter

    BTW, Mars IS legit for a normative approach.

    I fundamentally agree that the goal should be about alleviation of human suffering first, before more self absorbed priorites are factored in and wish the bastards who run things would come to the recognition that things need to fixed, on a monumental scale. Less $trillions on Iraq type exploits and those monies spent of global poverty and meaningful development, even though hthis goes against the neurotic zeitgeist of the age.

  36. mars08

    I’m just thrilled to see the the ragged “open borders” strawman being propped up for another gig….!

  37. JImmy


    Try a red its more refined and better for you.
    A white whine, you really are in a strange place my friend.

  38. Terry fisher

    Wow, so much man bashing in this article its just disgusting.. I agree with everything, but the focus on men.. Thats blatant sexism and Im sick of noone giving a shit…

  39. diannaart


    The focus is on those who continue to perpetuate violence and abuse – not all men. These people are a small minority of men and women – however, the harm they cause and continue to cause reverberates exponentially across all families and society.

    We cannot change if we are stopped from speaking out, as was the case only a generation ago.

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