This post was originally published at The Daily Blog on 28 April 2013.
So. Another All Black is accused of assaulting his partner. And once again, the rugby establishment is pretending there’s no big deal, and the mainstream media are acting like his mother is some kind of objective witness, like someone who wasn’t there and didn’t see it is in some kind of position to judge the seriousness of the issue because, well, he’s her boy. And an All Black.
The point I want to particularly examine is the idea that it’s OK for Savea to continue playing because, well, his rugby bosses “involved” his partner/victim in the decision.
Like that’s just a casual conversation.
Like there’s no pressure on her to back down, to minimise what happened.
Like there’s no precedents for her to look at and understand that odds are good Savea will walk free even if he’s found to have assaulted her.
Like her mother-in-law hasn’t already undermined her case and set the “she’s just being hysterical he’s a hero” propaganda ball rolling.
Like we haven’t just had a really clear international example of the shit that gets dumped on women assault victims when their attackers are prominent sportspeople with the weight of an entire community’s idolisation on their shoulders.
And like he’s not an All Black, a hero of the nation, whose every sporting achievement has to be shouted from the rooftops.
No no no, this was totally a discussion between equals, with no power dynamics or social pressure on her at all.
It is simply fucking obscene that Steve Tew or whoever else was involved in that decision thought it would be appropriate to (a) put the pressure of that decision on her and (b) exploit her involvement to justify their decision to let him tour.
But then I guess Tew’s words say it all:
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said Ms Rodgers had been involved in the decision to allow him to play.
“After all she was the victim,” he said.
Yeah, after all.
Now, obviously the case is still before the courts and no details have been released, so I’m just going to give this final tip to Julian Savea’s parents: sit down, shut the fuck up, and do some background fucking reading on the screeds of abusers and criminals whose parents thought they were a lovely lad/girl who’d never do anyone any harm.