This post was originally published at The Daily Blog on 13 June 2013.
[content note: violence against women, domestic violence]
Wait, sorry, I’m completely mischaracterizing that story, what I meant to say was
A leading Waikato scholar and opera singer is fighting to clear his name after admitting assaulting his ex-girlfriend three times.
… because that’s how the Waikato Times chose to frame a story about a violent thug who
… grabbed his victim by her clothing and threw her into a chair. He then threw a bag at her and slapped her.
Later that month he choked her.
The last and most violent incident – in October 2011 – saw Douglas grab the woman by the throat, leaving her struggling to move or breath. Her glasses were broken in the attack.
I’m assuming that use of the word “victim” in the first quoted sentence is a terrible oversight on their part, since apparently the real victim here is a scumbag who thinks $500 is decent reparation for abusing his partner and just cannot handle the idea that
for the rest of his life he has to apply for a visa every time he travels
HOLY FUCKING SHIT, Y’ALL, HE HAS TO APPLY FOR A VISA.
TALENTED YOUNG MEN DO NOT APPLY FOR VISAS.
THAT SHIT IS FOR REAL CRIMINALS.
Not talented young men who choke people and have bright futures.
Guess what, Chase Douglas, 23? When you’re an abusive piece of shit, your life should be harder. You should have to declare that crap and if declaring the facts of your abuse gets in the way of your star-spangled career, you fucking cope with it.
What kind of message do we send to victims of intimate partner violence, who are overwhelmingly women, especially women of colour, trans women, and women with disabilities, if a dude who throws his partner around and chokes her on multiple occasions gets to walk away scot-free?
Why the fuck do you think we have such low reporting rates for this kind of violence?
Fuck, let’s just be glad he’s not an All Black. The case would have been discharged already amidst a tearful press conference and Dame Susan Devoy labelling him a hero.
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.
So, Ngati Tuwharetoa want to charge Ironman NZ for the privilege of holding an event on Tuwharetoa land.
Cue the usual rightwingers-who-would-normally-defend-property-rights-to-the-death suddenly whinging that some natural landscapes and features should belong to ~the community~ (not-subtext: “and not those greedy brown people”).
Property rights are always sanctified when possessed and exercised by the right sort of people – read non-Maori. Where Maori are attempting to protect and exercise their property rights the goal posts are shifted. Property rights are great, but you Maori must make exceptions for sporting events, fishing competitions and anything else we decide. Apparently, property rights enjoy a shifting definition.
The answer – and we can all see this coming – is racism.
But another aspect which I want to highlight is the sports-as-religion aspect.
All the criticisms of this which I’ve seen have said “oh well if it were a commercial operation, of course we wouldn’t have a problem with the landowners charging a fee, but this is different.”
Newsflash: It’s not.
Ironman New Zealand is as much a commercial venture as a jet-ski hire business would be. The entry fee – if you get an early-bird registration – is $785 per entrant. Apparently an extra $40 a head makes this totally untenable, if you go by this Dominion Post story which just happens to not mention the former figure.
But somehow, in the Kiwi psyche, it’s different because we like to pretend that sport is all about the love of the game and the pinnacle of human physiology and, well, sportsmanship. We really, really love to close our eyes to the notion that professional sports are professional. That sport is a career choice (note: generally if you are a dude, less so if you’re a team of multiple-world-champion women). That sporting bodies are, frankly, in it for the money.
We see this every single time the NZRFU tries to whip up nationalistic fervor for the All Blacks (usually with a degree of success, because a lot of people still buy this bullshit). Suddenly it’s all about Our Boys In Black.
It’s the reason our news media spins every story of Dan-Carter-signs-with-provincial-French-team as a Great Betrayal Of The Nation, as though Dan Carter is bussing tables in Ponsonby in the off-season and plays purely for The Love of The Game. (I have no doubt Dan Carter loves rugby, I just think he may also love a big juicy paycheck, like most of us do.)
The racism against Maaori in this story works especially well because it plays on this meme. Because it means that Ngati Tuwharetoa aren’t just greedy bastards, they’re greedy bastards who aren’t going along with patriotic sports culture. It emphasises the idea that Maaori aren’t “Kiwis”, aren’t like us, aren’t part of our society, aren’t playing their part.
All I can suggest is that if Ironman have an issue with paying Maaori landowners for use of their land, they could try hosting the event on Gibbs Farm for free. Because apparently the right would be totally okay with that.
Dean Knight, writing for the Herald, makes what I would consider a fairly uncontentious point: yes, it would be lovely if people’s sexual orientations didn’t matter and no one cared, but the fact is our society still does treat heterosexuality as normal and everything else as aberrant, and people do care. His case in point is the All Blacks. Sure, you can argue that the sexuality of any individual All Black shouldn’t matter, but then they’d have to stop doing underwear commercials and selling their wedding pictures to the Woman’s Weekly, and that would probably be the killing blow to the New Zealand economy.
Oh, he also notes rugby culture in general might be just a tad homophobic.
Cue the outrage in the comments, which I do not recommend reading unless you’re feeling particularly in need of eye-rolling exercise or bitter cackling. It’s almost like the Herald’s online commenters didn’t actually read the piece, the way so many jump in to say “but it shouldn’t matter if an All Black is gay!”
Yes, my dears, but don’t you dare sit there acting like it doesn’t.
That’s just ironic. It’s the ones who start in on the blatant (oh but it’s just a FACT, you know) homophobia who will rob you of valuable warm feelings towards your fellow New Zealanders.
The big upside is that Knight makes some really key points about how rugby institutions have to be open-minded and accommodating for players who don’t fit the hetero blokey mold, and gives examples of how athletes from other codes have navigated playing-manly-sport-while-gay. And he got published in the NZ Herald while doing so.
Would be nice if the Herald showed the most basic modicum of commonsense comment moderation though.
The beautiful irony of this entire post, though, is the hat-tip I must now give. See, I don’t really read the Herald at all (though if I want online NZ news, it is marginally better than Stuff, though that’s not difficult.)
So I would never have seen this article were it not for the efforts of men’s defender and friend of Ideologically Impure, kiwi_prometheus. Had k_p not been so offended by the notion of a gay All Black that he just had to bring it up at The Standard, so outraged, so flabberghasted that anyone could question the tumescent, masculine heterosexuality of the All Blacks … well, this post couldn’t have happened without him.
Now up at The Standard and reproduced below for those who choose not to tread there.
Guts. Backbone. Chutzpah. Grit. Will. Vision. Courage.
The one thing all of these words have in common is that Phil Goff could quite easily have used them instead of “balls” when he said:
“It’s time to make a decision that will build a stronger future for New Zealand. We’ve got the balls to do that. John Key doesn’t.”
And I know that Phil knows that, because he’s quoted using at least two of them elsewhere in that story.
Normally you’d cue up a big ol’ Queen of Thorns rant complete with naughty cusswords and all-caps. But seriously? Phil, save us the trouble of firing up a whole two brain cells to figure out your subliminal messaging. We get it. You’re a Man’s Man and you speak like Common People and The Days Of That Nasty Bitch Helen Are Behind Us.
You’ve been listening to Chris Trotter and you wanted to make it very clear, to talkback land and those nasty white-anting progressives at the same time, that you’re A Safe Pair Of Manly Man Hands and Not A Pussy.
You’ve chosen to put yourself firmly, obviously, in the camp (ha) of Damien “gaggle of gays” O’Connor.
Or alternatively you’re a bit shit at figuring out the implications of your own words.
In either case, those of us clinging to a phantom hope of a Labour/Green/Mana-or-Maori coalition actually delivering good outcomes for women, non-whites, queers et al can surely, at this point, take it as read that your party gives not a shit for us if we’re in the way of taking power. (And somehow expects us to vote for you anyway.)
I mean, when Jordan Carter’s pre-emptively parroting the line on Twitter I think we can safely file this crap under “Labour election key message”.
Or I’m just vindictively destroying the Left from within. Again.
[TW domestic abuse and rugby violence apologism]
My, has it really been 3 years since I last wrote about our fucking sick misogynist boys-will-be-boys violence-excusing rugby culture?
This time it’s Shaun Metcalf, whose soulful puppy-dog eyes probably helped him get his “second chance” at being on the Warriors team after a tragic mistake, an exuberance of youth, and terrible accident …
Oh wait, no.
In 2004 Shaun Metcalf was 16 and fucking a 15-year-old girl – possibly cheating on his “long-time partner” with whom he now has six-year-old twins – and when said 15-year old girl got pregnant, he and his mates responded really poorly, by, oh what was it?
LURING HER TO A FUCKING PARK IN ORDER TO KICK HER IN THE STOMACH IN ORDER TO INDUCE A MISCARRIAGE.
Just, you know, average adolescent shit, boys-will-be-boys stuff.
But it’s okay, because let’s all forget Young Men Being Fucking Thugs Apologism 101: “Let’s not let this terrible
deliberate calculated assault mistake ruin a young man’s life!”
Cue everyone’s favourite “oh but they’re boys so they’re different” quote machine, Celia Lashlie!
‘We can all get caught up in the emotional image of young men booting a young woman in the stomach to cause her to abort her baby, but these were two young people … she got pregnant, he was way out of his depth, and he did a really cruel and dumb thing.
”He was caught in the moment, and what he did was the equivalent of a young man putting a noose around his neck because his girlfriend tossed him out. He has to be allowed to move forward and put his life together, and I think the ability of the NRL and the Warriors to take this young man in and help him do that is role modelling and something they should get credit for.”
WHERE DOES ONE FUCKING BEGIN.
“She” didn’t fucking get pregnant on her own, Celia, and it’s really awesome how your shitty sloppy language manages to buy into all kinds of tropes about evil bitches ruining men’s lives by having evil functioning uteri.
“Cruel and dumb”? That’s one way of putting luring a woman into a situation so you and two of your mates can stomp on her stomach.
“Caught in the moment”? Pretty long fucking moment, Celia, what with the calculated decision and the gathering of the bash-buddies and the luring of the victim and the stomping on her stomach in an assault specifically designed to induce miscarriage.
“Equivalent” of what the fuck now, Celia? Shaun Metcalf didn’t try to commit fucking suicide, he deliberately set out to cause internal injuries to a woman he’d chosen to stick his dick into.
But hey, enough about Celia Lashlie’s blatant victim-blaming and abuse-apologism.
Because the fucking cherry on top is of course fucking rugby culture and our wonderful fucking wilful ignorance about the obvious fucking paradoxes involved.
NZRL chairman Selwyn Pearson said ”…What he did was disgusting and abhorrent but you don’t get life for murder, and I consulted a lot of experts who all said that the best thing for the boy in terms of his rehabilitation was to get back into sport.”
Point 1, Selwyn-of-the-vomitous-comments-which-I-haven’t-quoted-because-there-is-not-enough-fuck-in-the-world: He’s not a fucking “boy”. He’s 23.
Point 2. Yeah, it’ll be fucking awesome for Shaun Metcalf to get “rehabilitated” by thugby culture. He’ll apparently be surrounded by people who know that spousal abuse doesn’t have consequences for All Blacks, and rape charges are a great Women’s Day opportunity, and teaming up with your mates to violate a vulnerable woman is practically part of the job description, and will eternally be excused because “well she shouldn’t have …”
Gosh. I can’t think why people might not be pleased to have this hero-worshipping bullshit crammed down kids’ throats …
First antichoicer to imply it’s illogical for me to be outraged by assault against a pregnant woman because I’m prochoice is invited to suck it. The rest of you can fuck right off.
He was so keen on shooting harmless animals that he went out one night and killed a harmless human being. And don’t forget that shooting from a public road at night on DOC land is dangerous and illegal.
And even other hunting enthusiasts think you’re a fucking tosser if you do it.
Where I get steamed over the Meng-Yee “article” is where apparently, we are meant to somehow overlook the completely predictable, negligent killing of another human because the tool who did it ticks all the right boxes in the eyes of patriarchy / NZ bloke culture.
Andrew Mears is a caring and thoughtful man, and a great father to their 15-month-old son
This is especially admirable because of course men don’t ever care about their offspring, especially at the gross pukey bobble-headed stage. And a son! SURELY, JUSTICE SYSTEM, YOU WOULD NOT DEPRIVE A SACRED BOY-CHILD OF HIS STRONG MALE ROLE MODEL (who likes hunting and shooting
people, like a Real Man). DON’T TURN THIS SACRED BOY-CHILD INTO A GAY, JUSTICE SYSTEM!!!
If you are a friend of Andrew’s you are a friend forever.
HE IS A GOOD MATE TO HIS MATES LIKE A PROPER MATE.
He loves getting out with our son, loves the outdoors. He has always been keen on camping and tramping .
HE IS A PROPER BLOKE. Also, PLEASE DON’T TURN THIS SACRED BOYCHILD GAY.
We love spending time with our son, we love taking the dog for a walk, we love seeing family at the beach.
Family man! They go to the beach! He’s totally normal, and it’s totally normal to be a bloke and a bit of a tool and
kill people make mistakes!!!
You know from the day I met Andrew I knew he was going to be an amazing father.
Fortunately she’d read that month’s Cosmo and knew how to Not Frighten Men Off By Mentioning Babies On A First Date. But he was totally her Mr Right. Don’t destroy their perfect romantic true love!
And he has really supported me. … I recently went through post-natal depression
He’s a bloke who was even supportive during weird girly hormonal shit! And you know, I would totally praise Andrew Mears for that, if Brooke Mears didn’t go on:
but something like this puts your problems into perspective you know.
You KNOW? I TOTALLY know, right, I mean, sure I was depressed but at least some fucking tool didn’t kill me while I was at a conservation campsite because he and his mates had no fucking impulse control.
the hardest part for me is knowing my darling husband has caused so much pain
Not that HE KILLED SOMEONE. BY BEING A TOOL.
This is the flip side of the coin to articles which will wax lyrical about what a rape victim wore, how much she had drunk, where she was and how she was Clearly No Lady. And just like those things don’t actually matter because another person had to make a decision to rape someone, it does not actually matter that Andrew Mears is a Good Lad from a Good Family who Has A Wife And Child To Support.
He was a fucking tool and he fucking killed someone. End of. I am sorry for Brooke Mears, because it cannot be easy being married to a fucking tool who has killed someone and Goddesses know it’s got to be shitty facing your partner going to prison when you’ve got an infant to take care of.
But I have to raise a cynical eyebrow at shit like this:
He is the last person ever you could imagine going anywhere near prison.
Why’s that, Ms Mears? Because he’s white, middle-class, heterosexual? Because he’s a Nice Young Man from a Good Family? He shot someone. While, to re-quote the Fundy Post, shooting from a public road on DoC land. Um, in our society we have these things called “laws”, and when you break them, and someone dies, you’re a criminal. But I’m sure the Nonsensical Sentencing Trust would totally agree with you.
And, you know, at least Ms Mears is focusing on the real tragedies.
What has been on my mind is that Rose will never have the opportunity to get married and have children.
And thus basically her life was probably a complete waste of time and the Patriarchy Directorate will be erasing her name from the Book of Worthy Females directly.
We are not seeking pity.
… Yes, yes you are. I’m sorry, Ms Mears, but I haven’t seen a pity-grab so disingenuous since Tony Veitch’s “I make no excuse, except to say” fuckwittery.
Douchebag “hunter” kills innocent human by ignoring all basic safety and legal considerations. And somehow, Granny Herald turns it into the perfect storm of patriarchy fail. Gold star!
Remember, kiddies: [insert sports team here] are national heroes, veritable gods among mortals, brilliant role models for our kids. Exhibit A.*
*I don’t mean to hate on Stuart Nash at all, it was just the perfect example for this particular cultural paradox.
Buying New Zealand-made is something I like to do when funds, and ethics, permit.
Strike one company off the list: Charlie’s. You see, there’s only so far a company can push the “haha, all good blokes here, let’s be mildly offensive” cart before it ends up in “we’re actually bigoted dickheads pathetically insecure about our masculinity, which could probably go some way to explaining our horrific rates of domestic violence” land.