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“Until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter” – Proverb

“The first is an old habit of men of this ilk of asserting that women are not to be believed but men are. There is a long brutal tradition of asserting that men are credible but women are incredible, men are objective, women are subjective, and this guy has just treated us to how a man might argue that, and in doing so he has unwittingly succeeded in demonstrating something else. He has imagined reasons why she might be unreliable and he seems to give them a credence that maybe we shouldn’t give our imaginings.”

Rebecca Solnit

I started reading one of the many books that I have in my “YOU REALLY SHOULD FINISH THIS” pile which is in a special shelf on the bookshelf just below my “READ NEXT” group. This is well away from my “YOU KNOW THAT YOU SHOULD READ THIS ONE DAY, BUT WHO ARE YOU KIDDING WHILE YOU HAVE THOSE OTHER TWO PILES” pile.

Anyway, this is a great book for when I’m not sure what to read because it’s a collection of essays by Rebecca Solnit entitled Whose Story Is It?

Today I just happened to be up to an essay entitled The Fall Of Men Has Been Greatly Exaggerated.

It seemed serendipitous in light of Grace Tame’s interview yesterday. When asked by Ros Childs, “The federal government is announcing details of a national strategy to prevent child sexual abuse awareness. I presume you have been involved in the drafting of that, what can we expect?”, Ms Tame looked surprised and replied that she hadn’t.

But she certainly lived up to her first name. She answered the rest of the questions with grace and class and made a lot of people wonder why she isn’t standing for parliament. (Give her time, give her time. She might actually do that, or she might actually decide that she’s the sort of person who can actually achieve something useful!)

Anyway, the Solnit essay spent some time focusing on a tweet about the woman who alleged that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when he a drunk teenager. The tweet suggested that the woman had possibly been drinking and so her testimony and memory were unreliable, whereas Kavanaugh could be relied on even though it had been suggested that he’d been drinking for quite a while before the party.

Whatever the actual events of any past incident, unless we have video footage we can only reconstruct them from the testimony of the people who were there at the time. And that’s the whole trouble with events which are disputed, we can only go on what’s most likely to be the truth.

If I trip on the trunk of a tree and say that I tripped on the trunk of a tree in my front yard, the tree won’t dispute it, so most people will accept that’s what happened without cross-examining me. The difference in a case of sexual assault is that nobody will ask why I let the tree grow or whether I should have kept out its way. And nobody will suggest that the tree the presumption of innocence. The PRESUMPTION of innocence unless I prove my claim in court.

It’s become rather strange that we’ve come to equate the word “presumption” with the word “proof”. Just because I can’t prove that the tree tripped me, doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.

Yes, the Solnit article made me glad that we live in Australia where things like the Brett Kavanaugh incident could never happen. He was questioned about it. We’d never allow such a thing to happen in this country because a person has the right to the presumption of innocent and if they’re innocent, what could an investigation show? I think that was Scott Morrison’s logic when saying that there’d be no investigation into Porter because the one that the police didn’t do was more than enough.

As for who paid his legal fees, it’s a mystery. And it seems that a million dollar donation is exactly like a lot of little donations to a GoFundMe campaign, so we really should check both before worrying about things like why would anyone make such a large donation if they didn’t either want something in return. Whatever, it’s a shame that this is preventing such a promising minister from being a member of the Cabinet. Someone should get to the bottom of it. Maybe Alan Jones could ask a few questions. He’s good at finding out things.

Anyway, Solnit’s essay is well worth a read, so I’ll let her have the last word::

Men with power magnify other men with power, sometimes by commissioning articles by or in defense of men who’ve assaulted women and verbal attacks on those women who were physically attacked or who spoke up for them, as we’ve seen in various New York publications this year.

 

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18 comments

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  1. pierre wilkinson

    No wonder Grace Tame was not included in the discussions regarding child sexual abuse… as an articulate, compassionate, intelligent victim she displays honesty. integrity and empathy, three things virtually unknown in the current government

  2. Florence Howarth

    Take it from one who knows. No one in the child abuse area wants to hear from victims, no matter how much they have educated themselves about sexual, child abuse or DV. Professional workmates tell you talking about your experiences lead them to feel you are a client, not a fellow professional. What surprised me Grace was listened to at all.

  3. Gangey1959

    Interesting concept.
    If a federal minister cannot name or define who has paid his legal costs for a case which he withdrew from proceedings because he was going to lose, and therefore in at least the eyes of the public and We the Voter prove his own guilt of the offence for which he was suing for defamation in the first place, did the tree fall in the forest, or is it a case of We the Voter not being allowed to see the tree for all of the woodchips ?
    (I hope that I never have to walk across the pm’s carpet. There are so many lumps and bumps that it is a safety hazard.)

  4. Florence

    The figures in the Go Fund Me were all put on the register. The several over $800 were listed separately. Porter has not even bothered with the amount received. Is the money taxable?

  5. Florence Howarth

    In my comment above, the fellow workers were the woman. The men never treated me that way.

  6. Terence Mills

    Peter Dutton has once again tried to muddy the waters by comparing Porter’s Blind Trust to Sarah Hanson Young’s Gofundme crowd funding for her legal expenses.

    True, some donors to Hanson Young chose to make donations anonymously, this was their choice and they were small donors, with total overall donations of $62,458, have a look here : https //uk.gofundme.com/f/SarahHansonYoung-LegalFund

    In the case of Porter we are talking about a legal construct that Porter has designed specifically to hide the donor(s) to his legal expenses fund and the government are supporting him. Morrison has said that the ‘mums & dads’ who contributed to Porter’s one million dollar fund deserve their privacy (anonymity). He won’t even reveal the total amount donated to his trust. I don’t for one moment believe that there are any mums & dads involved unless Gina classes herself as such.

  7. Michael Taylor

    Terry, no matter how far apart the dots might be, Dutton will always try and connect them.

  8. BB

    Florence Howarth.
    Take it from one who knows. No one in the child abuse area wants to hear from victims, no matter how much they have educated themselves about sexual, child abuse or DV.

    Indeed, so few in society really genuinely care if you have been sexually abused. (“Religious” people IMO are the worst…)
    Just a very small percentage of people care in the world. Oh yes, so many make out that it’s all so dreadful, justice, justice.
    Sadly most in society feel so bloody guilty they prefer to turn a blind eye, to refute the truth, to somehow blame the victims.

    I know. I know from my lived experience, expecting understanding, compassion, empathy, an apology! Ain’t gonna happen!
    I was a very young victim of a boarding school pedophile, the very teacher who supposedly was there to safeguard me.
    The worst mistake I ever made was to tell, to talk about it, to open up. I’ve even been shunned by members of my own family.
    Too late for me now, I look back on a life of broken relationships, lost friendships, never able to even reach my full potential.
    So now all I can do is to warn anybody who has been a victim, think twice, thrice and more before you tell anyone.. Anyone!
    What terrible advice eh, but such is the awful true reality victims face. Physiologists, other “professionals”. They don’t help!
    I know, I’ve seen plenty, but eventually I resent them, they remain aloof, a stranger, when what I needed was a good hug.
    I never spoke out as a child, the pedophile threatened me, intimidated me, “I would be expelled for being a very bad boy.”
    The shame of being expelled, of what my parents would say, made sure I kept quite, a child is easily exploited when young.

    And society at large will do whatever it can do cover up the crimes. To refute, to obfuscate the truth, denigrate the victims.
    Nothing has changed, or is ever likely to! That folks is the sad stark naked truth… Most people do not wish to really know.
    A few token pedophiles have been jailed, but get out of jail quite quickly on appeals or let out because of “good behaviour”.
    They live in institutions, a church, a religious order, who protect them, cover up their crimes, accuse the child of being evil.
    The authorities crack down on a few groups here and there. A few token task forces have limited successes.. I thank them.
    Some kids are saved.. BUT the vast bulk of victims will never be adequately compensated, and “apologies” are empty words.

    I am ok, it’s all in the past, I cope ok, sink or swim eh, so I have “moved on” with life, because I have a strong inner character, but I have ended up on my own because once trust is broken it’s very hard to give out or get back again. And that’s a shame.
    My heart goes out to all those who have not made it and never will, to all those victims who have taken their own lives, to all those who live in constant fear of even their own shadow… The hidden underbelly of child sexual abuse, and broken adults.

    Keith Davis wrote a series of articles here at AIM…

    JAGGED #1 – Introduction to the book.

  9. Phil Pryor

    From Merde Dog, Moron-Scone, Barnaby Rootem-Drinkon and the rest of the sludge and floaters, they disgust me.

  10. leefe

    “No one in the child abuse area wants to hear from victims … ”

    By and large, no-one in any area, public or private, wants to hear. It’s too hard. Give them a nice convenient perpetrator to howl after and they’re at it, pitchforks and all; the victims are left, bruised, battered and bloody, to drag themselves off to a quiet corner and succour their own wounds in darkness. If they survive long enough …

  11. Harry Lime

    Morrison has shown himself to be the most disgusting,cowardly,self centred hypocrite ever to have insinuated himself on the Australian public.When you consider the likes of little Johnny rotten and the execrable fucking Mad Monk,he’s lower than a snail’s dick.And if any of his stinking government from Skull Dutton down to the lowliest backbencher had any integrity at all,they would be long gone.Federal ICAC? not fucking likely when many of them would end up doing porridge.The Liar is beneath contempt,let them go down like the festering bag of maggots that they are.As for the Nationals, they are just a crazed red necked rabble touting for the fossil fuel sector.They could do us all a favour and blow this fake and his misgovernment out of the water…thats if theres any left after Wombat Joyce and Bucketmouth Taylor have finished selling it to their mates in the Caymans.

  12. BB

    Physiologists, …………….. Bloody autocorrect, spellcheckers… BAH!

    Psychologists is whom I meant….!!!

    (PS… Look I know they mean well, are good folk… but sorry, I have yet to meet one that really understands.)

  13. leefe

    BB:

    I really think it’s one of those things you cannot understand unless you’ve lived it. The vast majority of psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists have not. Lucky them.

  14. Florence Howarth

    I work in child protection & disabilities. My experience of abuse was my oldest daughter anused by a stepfather from, I think, when she was seven until she spoke out at about fourteen. I was pregnant at about twelve. At fourscore years, like BB, I have more than coming to terms with the trauma. My concern was I never felt the professionals I was working among or had dealings with really knew, maybe care about abuse. That is why I felt the need to speak out, genuinely believing I had something to offer.

    BB, I don’t believe we shouldn’t speak out. That would be wrong. That is why we need to get behind the likes of GraceTame, all others that do.

  15. BB

    Yeah I know Florence, of course we should speak out, but when we do we just get traumatised all over again…Is that fair?
    That has been my lived experience, sad but that is what has happened to me, to so many, justice denied. It’s a slap in our face.

    But that’s not to say I do not admire or feel thankful to all those who do still try and speak out…

    BUT it’s of little wonder to me that so many do not speak out..
    Look at Brittany’s recent experience, ridiculed and her partner vilified. Called an ungrateful cow, and worse..
    By none less than those in positions of authority, the government itself.. FFS. The hypocrisy never ends. The blatant denials.
    The perpetrators get hustled away out of sight, hidden till all the “furore” dies down, till the next scandal dominates the news.

    Will Porter ever face accountability, it’s ironic to think that such people become the 1st law officer of the land!! FFS.

    Nope, sorry, but now I advocate to, if possible, to keep quiet, it’s safer.

    And so what has Grace Tame achieved? Good on her for trying, and of course others will also speak out, but it’s a hard path, and few have the resources to fall back on, the knowledge to speak out, for mostly it’s the weaker ones who are abused.

    Myself, I spoke out, and it all got thrown back at me, now too much of my life has passed me by, I now must take care of myself.

    Society is not ready or mature enough to accept or atone for the sins that our societies and brutal cultures inflict upon those who can’t defend themselves, innocent children, the infirm, the sick, the old and frail…

    Pell is a typical example of how the wicked escape justice, and please don’t anybody tell me that man was innocent!
    He had the might of the Vatican wealth, the might of the church to pay for fancy lawyers to extradite him from jail.

    How many times do ordinary people who have been abused actually get justice?

    Look at the way the church fights to limit, to minimise any pay out on any redress compensation schemes.
    It’s rubbing salt into an open wound, and the clergy laugh behind our backs..
    They smirk.
    Where do you think Scott Morrison learned how to smirk… At his religious meetings…. that’s where!

    The amount of effort and resources the church throws at disproving all allegations of sexual abuse.

    There is no justice, most politicians don’t care, most lawyers are crooks, and most judges can be bought!

    The number of guilty that are brought to justice is miniscule… The guilty laugh at “justice”, and continue to abuse.

    But for those abused, we suffer for a lifetime, to speak out and then fail to get justice just compounds the hurt, the trauma.
    The best we can hope for is that someone in our life shows some understanding, has empathy and compassion.
    I’m not asking for or want sympathy, but that is what moist people think is a good thing to give, and if we object, we get labeled as ungrateful, I know this to be true. There are so many hidden catch 22’s that it’s best to just remain silent.

  16. Arnd

    Hey, Rossleigh, you seem to have quite a number of piles of books yet to read? Has nobody ever told you that “The more books you read, the more stupid you become!”?

    At least that’s what Mao said. Well – that’s what I read what Mao said, anyway. In a book. In Jung Chang’s Wild Swans, if I remember correctly.

    I think Mao was right, actually. Sort of, anyway: Einstein supposedly observed that “The more I learn, the more I realise how much I don’t know!” My experience, exactly!

    The problem that necessarily emerges, is that it puts those who do know (the limits of their own knowledge) at a distinct disadvantage when pitted against those operating with the brash, singleminded deciveness bestowed by profound ignorance.

  17. wam

    I wrote in anger about the church’s treatment of women abused by their husbands in the 50s and 60s. I assume they still prefer women to get bashed and raped by their husbands without the pill or an abortion to leaving to live alone.
    The bible is by men for men with women and children trained to be the vectors of their own incompetence.
    Eventually enough women will avoid the church indoctrination and realise their god is not a man.
    Sadly, that is a dream because women will stoically bear the burden of the cross. They will bow their heads in prayer and accept the blood of jesus as renepogel for the men.

    ps
    Florence gifts are not, usually, taxed but if you are on welfare and money appears in your bank you are no longer on welfare and the tax man is stripping the covers off your returns.
    I have written many times over spending by the rich. Especially those who brag about not paying income tax who have no income but can have 500 pound wedding in england or $5m engagement rings.
    Things like that should be an indicator of income, don’t you think??

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