Unless you’ve been in a coma for the latter half of the past decade, you will have noticed that there have been some huge occurrences in relation to women and victims/survivors of abuse speaking out and seeking justice. The result was some of the biggest names in Hollywood having their conduct questioned and being held to account for their predatory actions. It would seem this rhetoric is surfacing in many other parts of the world and has finally reached the politically unaccountable “Land Down Under” (aka the Fourth circle of hell.) Since at least the start of 2021 Australian media has been swamped with controversy surrounding the treatment of women.
Since the beacon of hope that was Grace Tame winning Australian of the year, Brittany Higgins and many other brave women have followed suit and spoken openly about their own experiences with sexual assault, rape and abuse within the political sphere, both inside and out of parliament house.
This phenomenon has been dubbed the “Canberra Bubble” via an ABC four Corners episode aired in November 2020 which contained quite a bit of information about how men in politics have been allowed to speak about and treat women, yet they retain their powerful positions.
Eventually news hit of a woman’s suicide, which happened after she attempted to file a report against Christian Porter for an instance of rape which allegedly occurred in the 1980s while they were both students attending the same prestigious school. NSW chief of police almost instantly dismissed the case, despite the Coroner of South Australia wanting an inquest into the nature of this woman’s death.
Well, this seemed to be the straw which broke the camel’s back, so to speak, and the outrage felt by so many resulted in a country wide “March for Justice.” (which is in and of itself a kettle of fish worthy of an article) Prime Minister, Scott Morrison insisted that he knew nothing about the claims made against his party members. He lied, he covered up. Then he used his wife and daughters as a basis of understanding instead of merely listening to women and hearing an issue based in human rights. Protest organisers invited the PM and parliament along to hear concerns at the March 15, March for Justice. The response was something of nonchalance and excuses. He commented about how, as Prime Minister, he’s just so busy (too busy to hear the concerns of 51% of the population, but never too busy to line the pockets of the ultra-rich by commodification of the welfare system. (Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest’s Indue Cashless Debit Card, Anyone?) Even more outrageously, Scott Morrison said something about how protesters should be glad to not be met with bullets for protesting about systemic misogyny, rape and abuse in a country such as Australia.
A news story which included yet more damning evidence relating to the culture of the Canberra Bubble and the LNP surfaced within the past few days. Then a few days after that yet more rape claims have come to light. These stories exposed the common practice for male MPs and staffers to send pornographic materials of themselves to each other. There was mention of how common it is to bring sex workers into parliament house and film the resulting acts with the intent to circulate them. This behaviour is supposedly both prior and current to the LNP and has resulted in at least one man being stood down. The most heavily mentioned occurrence was a solo sex act performed on the desk of a female MP. Apparently, the desk belonging to a woman was the point. As much as this is disgusting and misogynistic, and certainly speaks to the true nature of the people in charge of running the country, is it worth the reaction Scott Morrison finally gave? According to his tearful media release, a scandal involving consensual and solo sex acts was what the Prime Minister of Australia needed to finally understand what women have been saying all along. Did he really require such fickleness
Something I can’t help but notice in all this cultural and political feet dragging; is that consensual or solo sex acts are more abhorrent to the powers that be, to the government, to the church, to patriarchal society at large, than rape and sexual abuse. Rape is fine, but no hanky-panky. Let me say that again. Consensual sex acts between adults are being treated as being worse than full blown rape and molestation.
When news of rape by the countries most powerful men is met with instant disbelief, dismissal, cover ups and lies, I fail to see how emotional tears are finally warranted over tales of consensual debauchery. I suppose you could say it’s reminds me of how I feel about a topical incident which I heard about happening in Pearl River, Louisiana, USA.
In October 2020, A local man called police because he noticed the Saints Peter and Paul Church was lit up, feeling concerned as it was quite late, he looked through the glass windows and doors to see what was happening. Well, what was happening was that the priest, Travis Clark, and two women (both professional dominatrices clad in corsets and boots) were performing and filming satanic-panic themed sex acts on and around the alter. Despite this being entirely consensual, and even though the witness had to put in effort to see what was taking place, all three within the church were subsequently arrested and eventually charged with vandalism/ obscenity. Something which is not as talked about through the media, is that a second priest and chaplain of a local high school, one Rev. Pat Wattigny, could also be stripped of his holy title. It has been documented that Wattigny was sexually abusive with multiple minors, sent inappropriate text messages to a student, also between 2014 and 2015 he molested a 15-year-old boy. After years of being in his position, finally, Wittigny is facing charges. Why? Because of the incident in Pearl River involving consensual sex, of course! There are even rumours circulating that Travis Clark planned this all as a means to get Wattigny’s case looked at properly, and if there’s any truth to that whatsoever, Travis Clarke and the women who helped him are complete and utter badarse-activist-heroes.
Archbishop Gregory Aymond made a statement saying, “Archdiocese is cooperating with law enforcement and will petition the Vatican for the laicization of both Wattinghy and Clark.”
Because sexual abuse and debauched consensual group sex are on par, right? How is the Vatican still able to blatantly get away with covering up child abuse, but convict a priest for acts in which no one was harmed to equal punishment of that of a paedophile priest whose actions did cause harm, Grievous amounts of harm at that? This is happening in the year 2021?
It would appear that Scott Morrison’s Hillsong values are also as skewed.
At the end of the day, what are we to expect from a man who forces a handshake onto a traumatised victim of bushfires he did nothing to aid with? What should be expected from a man who is best friends with the son of the founder of the Hillsong church (the same son who disempowered and silenced his father’s victims so that his father wouldn’t have to answer for his offences?) What should we expect from a government who pockets upwards of $100 a day for food and drink per person, but rule so that jobseekers end up impoverished, homeless and starving? What should we expect from a government which is guilty of completely defunding women’s shelters but suggest that women attempting to escape domestic violence should access their super? What should be expected from a man who considers the airing of dirty laundry more shameful and in urgent need of addressing, than actual reports of rape and abuse?
I for one expect Scott Morrison and his entire excuse for a party to step up and finally start to protect the most vulnerable in society or step down and away from responsibility the LNP are proving themselves unequipped to handle. A cabinet reshuffle is far from sufficient.