Where’s the Media Frenzy…

I find it really concerning that it has been 13 days since a mass coordinated sexual assault was carried out in Germany and I am still yet to see anything more than a snippet of info in the media about this, whereas cricketer Chris Gayle makes an ass of himself once on live TV and it’s all anyone can talk about and it’s all they are still talking about.

Ok so we have an international cricketer who, unintelligently makes a pass, in jest or otherwise, at a journalist on live TV. By all means, bad. But why are we still talking about it? There are worse things.

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Like for example, New Year’s Eve in Munich. As crowds of people gathered outside the main station to get a glimpse of the fireworks welcoming in the New Year, hundreds of women fall victim to a mass, carefully orchestrated attack, including sexual assaults and theft.
To date there have been 516 reports made, 40% of these being sexual in nature with at least 2 rapes. Only 31 people are currently under investigation for assault and theft, not the sexual assaults. Only 1 arrest has been made and that was for theft alone. And as for the rest of the perpetrators, who knows how many there actually were? Reports suggest as many as 1000 men carried out these attacks.

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Of the 31 under investigation 21 are believed to be asylum seekers in Germany illegally. The others are from countries, including Algeria, Morocco, Iran, Iraq, America, Germany, Syria, and Serbia, who are in Germany legally.
See that, not just one nationality, so all you far right people can’t go hurling abuse at all asylum seekers for these crimes, and all you far left people can’t proudly stay silent for fear of being discriminatory. The only people that need to be discriminated against are the criminals, regardless of their religious beliefs and cultural backgrounds, they are just criminals. That is how they should be viewed and portrayed, and they should be portrayed to the media, these things should be reported not covered up.

Even in Germany there have been various cover-up attempts due to a fear that the backlash against asylum seekers will be too great. Despite this, what little information was given to the public has caused a backlash anyway. Protests in the streets of Cologne have taken place on the streets, there have been allegations of authority figures deliberately withholding information, there have been politicians-a-plenty suffering from foot in mouth.

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This did not only happen in Munich by the way, there were eerily similar attacks carried out in, Hamburg, Nuremburg, Frankfurt and Berlin on the same night. Scary isn’t it? Scary that this has happened but also scary that no one was told about it.
Why hide it? Why hide the fact that bad people all over Germany are trying to sexually assault women? It isn’t going to go away if you pretend it doesn’t exist. And for the love of god do not tell women to change how they live their lives in order to avoid being sexually assaulted! I thought we had moved on from that?! Apparently not because that is the advice the Mayor of Cologne has given women.

Acknowledge that you have a problem with sexual assaults and try to deal with it. It isn’t a new problem, Germany already has a high rate of sexual assault, so if you maybe expose this then you can take some steps in the right direction towards preventing it from happening again.
It puts asylum seekers in danger, well yes, I could imagine that a myriad of bigots would ignore the fact that not all asylum seekers are rapists and attack them all anyway. But if you perhaps make a point of publishing the cold hard facts it may minimise this bigotry. If you say nothing people are just going to make up what they like, aren’t they?

Bottom line is not all Muslims are rapists, just some are, just as some Christians are rapists. Any type of person from any nationality can be a rapist. Not all people are bad people, but among the good there is always bad. You cannot blame just one group of people for all the bad on the planet.

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In this circumstance where majority of attackers were of a certain background, you are going to get some blame pointed at that particular culture. But that does not mean everyone should keep quiet about the whole ordeal.
Just because you are a feminist and you believe in equality doesn’t mean you cannot comment. Guess what, some cultures treat women like dirt, that’s just a sad fact. While some of the world is moving forward towards equality, there is some of the world that is moving slower and there is some that are not moving at all.

Why fear any backlash you may receive by commenting on this? Why fear the backlash you will receive while you are standing up for women out there who have been unfortunate enough to have just experienced the most harrowing night of their lives? Women who have suffered through this may never get justice for what has been committed against them, the perpetrators may never be caught and that is a fact. But the more publicity these incidents get the more likely it is that people will be identified and charged, the more chance there is that this doesn’t happen again.

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Not so, Australia Day

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that the following piece may contain images of deceased persons.

 

I have never been one to celebrate Australia Day, well, I have never been one to celebrate being Australian anyway. I am rarely proud to identify as an Australian and these instances seem to be becoming few and far between.
Just recently I have found yet another reason, I had never made this connection before, perhaps because it has been a good 10 years since I have been taught anything about Australian history and then I was too young to make the connection. I had never realised that Australia Day lands on the actual day that the British invaded Australia, instead of it being on, oh I don’t know the day Australia became a federation. Why we would want to celebrate being Australian on the day of the invasion of this continent by the English colonisers and the continued oppression of Aboriginal people since that time?

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The thing is how would most of the population know? It is not like we are taught a subject in school that was called “how the British raped and pillaged the sacred lands and cultures of aboriginal people, and how they continue to do it to this day”.
We are taught Australian history, but the facts seem to be craftily left out of the materials we were fed, instead we were relayed a very white version of Australian history. It is not unless you dig a little deeper and do your own research that you find out the truth, so if you don’t do your own research, you live your life only knowing what you have been taught by your white teachers, at your white high school. Millions of people are raised not knowing how Australia really came to be Australia.

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These people who identify as “Australians” have no idea that they are not actually Australians, they are descendants of immigrants just like everyone in this country is, except for the Aboriginal people. They are the original Australians, for the simple fact that they were the original inhabitants and owners of this country. White people just came here and stole it.
Yes, it was a long time ago and since then we have come a very long way, and I am of the belief that all citizens of this country can call themselves Australian because we are a nation built on immigration and you cannot exclude anyone from that.
But that is precisely the point, we cannot exclude Aboriginals either, we cannot forget that this was their land first, so they should be no less entitled than the rest of us.

So why do we not acknowledge the wrong doing that was committed against them in our history. By ignoring our past vilification and suppression of the aboriginal people, we are only continuing the torment that has been inflicted upon them ever since the first white man landed in 1788.

We should be taught about our wretched history in school, not the glossy, white version but the raw, black truth, we should feel shame for our past even if we have never been directly involved in it. Why? Because just maybe this may lead to history never repeating. We learn about other countries histories of genocide and repression and we are disgusted by it, and yet we seem to voluntarily ignore ours.

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This ignorance is the reason for the continued oppression of and racism towards aboriginal people in Australia. This ignorance is the reason I feel shame in being Australian. I do not feel that I can call myself Australian in the traditionally accurate sense of the word, as I am not descendant of aboriginal people. But I do not wish to identify as an Australian if that puts me in the group of ignorant racists so prevalent in this country, as I am certainly not one of them.

I was born here, so my nationality is Australian, but I am aware I was born on borrowed land. None of my ancestors were directly responsible for any repression of aboriginal people, but I still feel ashamed that they never did enough to stop it either. They never questioned what they were taught. But I did and I still am. I may never know the whole truth, as I am sure a lot of it died with the victims of horrendous crimes, but I will keep searching.
Instead of celebrating being Australian on Invasion Day this year, I will be remembering those who had their lives, their land and their culture taken from them. As well as those who continue to suffer, and I will be committing to the fight that will ensure this ends, and never happens again.

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Racism is Alive and Well in Country Australia

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Last month I attended my first ever protest, it involved a rally against the proposed building of a Mosque in Bendigo, as well as a counter rally which opposed the opposers.
This will be the first Mosque to be built here, and ever since planning was first announced there has been some fierce opposition from members of the general public and certain councillors.
Some kind of opposition was to be expected, but there is a way to express your opposition like an adult and then there is the way that some people have chosen to act.
It is my opinion that these reactions have been completely ignorant, racist and bigoted. It leaves me feeling absolutely disgusted to live in a town where people vilify anyone based on their religion or cultural background.

I do not pretend to know anything about Islam as a religion or Muslim culture at all, I practice no religion and don’t pretend to know anything about any of them, but just because I don’t believe in a religion it doesn’t mean that no one else can. Every single person on this planet is entitled to practise their own religion if they choose to do so, and therefore they should be entitled to a safe and peaceful place of worship in which to practice.
So when the Bendigo Council decided to provide the local Muslim community with a Mosque where they could freely practise their religion, I thought, fantastic! What a step forward for a town that I have always had my reservations regarding bigotry. But then a small number of people who I will openly describe as ignorant racists decided they would hang black balloons around town to show their opposition to the Mosque.

Apparently building a Mosque will result in the “Islamification” of Bendigo, and according to one Bendigo Counsellor building a Mosque here will lead to the rape, murder and female genital mutilation of Bendigo women at the hands of Muslim men. This counsellor, who is a woman, decided the best way to voice this opinion would be to tweet insults, threats and images of infant FGM victims to Mosque supporters. To add insult to injury, to this day she has not been held accountable for her actions, if public figures can get away with racially vilifying people then what message does that send to others.

This backlash over building a place of worship disgusted me, what I thought was a step forward actually revealed exactly the types of people that were living in this town. On more than one occasion during my life I have been embarrassed and ashamed to be Australian, this whole ordeal has been no exception.

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A recurring argument against the Mosque in Bendigo is that bringing Muslims here will result in the female members of our community being raped and murdered as punishment for their behaviours. Well, let me just say this, recently in the suburb where I live, there was one woman who was bludgeoned to death in her own home by her partner, and another woman was kidnapped while going for a run and held captive, where she was repeatedly raped, for over a day.
The men who committed these crimes were not Muslim, they were white Australian men.

There is plenty of oppression of women going on in our own backyard without any Muslim involvement. The fact that death at the hands of an intimate partner was a leading cause of death for women between the ages of 15-44 in Bendigo according to a 2013 Liveability fact sheet, while only 0.2% of the Bendigo population followed Islam according to 2011 Australian Bureau of Statistics census, that’s 202 people by the way, is pretty much proof enough to say that Muslims are not the perpetrators of all of this violence against women.
Unless of course each of those 202 Muslims are male and they each killed over 5 intimate partners, then you could say that bringing more Muslims here would create a real issue in violence against women. But alas that is not the case, we cannot blame Muslims alone for all the rape and murder in this town. See what happens when you do a little research, you uncover some truthful statistics instead of making things up as you go along?

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Going to the rally only made me more ashamed. Yes I was standing on the better side, but I had a great view from there. What I saw on the other side of that barricade was a crowd of people that make me ashamed to be Australian, a group of poorly educated or simply ignorant individuals that think it is ok to discriminate against a minority, for no justifiable reason. Brandishing patriotic flags to reinforce just how Australian they really are.
A group of people who are led by convicted felons, who claim to know just as much about the religion they are insulting as those who practise it. These people stood in front of a jeering sea of flags and quoted passages from the Koran as evidence in their plight, because growing up in country Victoria gives you an excellent knowledge of the Koran and Islam.

What I saw on the other side, the “good side”, was in some ways pleasing, but others disappointing. I saw people from all ages and demographics coming together for a common cause, this is definitely a positive. What was disappointing was that one of the arguments these people used was the actions of police, apparently police brutality is unfairly imposed on only one side of the barriers, according to the politically left group, the police directly target activists. And then the far right protesters also believe they are targeted by police, so they cannot really do anything right.
Police are only doing their job, which is ultimately controlled by the government, so instead of shouting abuse at the police how about you concentrate on the real problem and work towards getting your voice heard. But what can I expect, ignorance is a disease that infiltrates at all levels and does not discriminate between sides of the protest barricade.

Another disappointing thing is that the majority of people on this side were not locals, actually majority of people on both sides were not local. They were imported activists.
To me, that is not good enough, where is the voice of Bendigo? Why don’t the people here give a damn about what is happening in their own backyard? And if they do, why are they too spineless to stand up for what they believe in?
From what I can gather, the residents of Bendigo live their lives with their heads buried in the ground. They refuse to acknowledge the glaringly obvious and choose instead, to live in ignorant bliss. If they do raise their little heads out of their hidey holes they don’t seem to care about anything that is going on, they just sit back and think that whatever happens will be golden. They accept no responsibility for what is happening in their society and so are happy to sit back watch the world go by.

Another thing I noticed at the rally is the apparent lack of Muslims, I saw one person who openly identified themselves as Muslim, and I am not even sure he was a local. So out of the entire Bendigo Muslim population maybe only one turned up at a rally, does that maybe suggest that they are peaceful people who just want to live their lives quietly out of the spotlight and do not want to get involved in the screaming match between two groups of predominately white, imported activists.

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After the rally I looked forward to watching the news to see how the media would portray the events of the day. Alarmingly, but not unexpectedly, the local and national news sided with the racist bigots, and all they wanted to report on was the fact that there were people opposed to the Mosque making noise. Never mind anything else, all that matters is what a few racists think, but then again why would the media ever report in favour of a minority group of people who are being vilified.

Then there were the Facebook posts that circulated following the rally, I read one in particular that was just so far off the mark that giving up on humanity was an option for me.
Firstly you cannot refer to people of colour as “blacks” or Jewish people “Jews”, saying “we even had blacks and jews on our side” is just plain racist! So thank you for making it very easy for me to justify calling you one.
The lies that were spread by this individual were almost laughable, I was reading these gross exaggerations thinking “I was there and that never happened. Were we even at the same rally?” No, there was not 1000 people there, try halving that. And even less were participating in the rally, it really was quite a fizzer.
No, police were not brutal against anyone, they did not herd you into a pen like sheep. You wanted the front seat at the town hall, so they provided you with a space that would allow you to go about your business with minimum hassle from the opposing rally.
No, it was not the most brutal rally I have seen, have you ever bothered to watch a news report? Of course you haven’t, because nothing matters more than you, so why would you concern yourself with any other happenings in this world. This rally was the tamest rally I have ever seen.
No, 150 of you guys did not bust through 3 police lines to put out a burning Australian flag, it was more like two of you got through 2 police lines and were very quickly ushered back, and you know what I didn’t see any capsicum spray, let alone 10 full cans being used on you.
No, the police aren’t left or right bias, they were not bias because of the way they were facing because there were two lines of them, and they were facing both ways so as to maximise vision of the scene. They were doing their job for god sake.
But you can just keep spreading your lies to the plethora of ignorant people who couldn’t be bothered attending the rally, so that they may spread their own misinformed opinions and continue to breed this population of ignorance.

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Now here is the only thing that seems to have survived out of the rally, in fact days later people are still talking about it. The burning of the Australian Flag.
At the protest there was allegedly two Australian flags burned, I only saw one at the very end of the protest. Now, in case you were not sure, this is the most efficient way to incite hatred in those far right Australians out there, it has after all meant death threats and a myriad of insults from random strangers for the unknown accused person.
In my opinion, not a smart move, why do something that is going to make them so obscenely angry? They do not need another excuse to behave like hot-headed idiots. You are not going to achieve anything by burning a flag, ergo pointless exercise.
Do I think that the burning of the flag is as big of a deal as people are making it out to be? No. I am not that patriotic, the Australian flag to me is a reminder of our brutal past. A past where we stemmed from white criminals who raped and pillaged someone else’s land, and if that wasn’t bad enough we then continued to persecute, punish and discriminate against the indigenous inhabitants of this land in unspeakable ways, some of these actions still survive today, and all of this was done in the name of the motherland, whose mark is still presented on our national flag.
I do not like to be reminded of that, it is not a past I am proud of, so I don’t care for flying that flag around. But would I burn it? No, it would achieve nothing and just make me the target for abuse, there are other ways to get your point across.
Also, for the record, it is not an offence against the law at the present time to burn an Australian flag. That’s right it’s not illegal. However because of a huge band of angry patriots, the burner of the flag was hunted down and fined for lighting a fire in a public place and inciting in a riot, not burning the flag because that is not illegal, but to satisfy those angry patriots she had to be charged with something.

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Over all, I do not believe the events of this weekend’s protests had an impact on anything, there really were no positives to come out of it, and it is not going change the fact that the plans for the Mosque have been approved and that it is going to be built here, no amount of kicking and screaming by you racists is going to change it now.
The rally only highlighted how backward our community is, and has given me more things to be ashamed about, but it has also made me angry, and more aware of the fact that it is time to stand up for what I believe in.

Her womb is none of your business…

What kind of society do we live in where a woman cannot even go to work without being harassed?

It seems that when a woman gets to be of a certain age their womb becomes the business of the entire community, and apparently the intrusiveness of the people in that community knows no bounds. Even the people you work with seem to think they have the right to dictate what you do with your body. When you go to work and have the state of your womb questioned on a weekly basis, I think we got ourselves a problem.

So you are 26, and you just go married, the next logical step is apparently to immediately pop out a kid right? So why aren’t you pregnant? You have to be pregnant, you are pregnant, right?

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In case you haven’t realised, this is not ok. It is never ok to ask a woman if she is pregnant, or to assume she is pregnant just because she is 26 and recently married. Heaven forbid she would like to pursue her career or enjoy her newly married life before she decides, on her own, what to do next.

That’s right, it will be her decision when or IF she decides to have kids. It will not be the decision of society, regardless of society’s attempts to force her into the misogynistic stereotype of what she should be doing with her body.

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She will decide what to do with her womb and when to do it. You have no say in what she does with her body, and you have no right intrude in those decisions. You cannot ask her if her womb is occupied, you cannot ask if she is planning to occupy it soon, and you cannot tell her she should be occupying it.

Especially when you work with her and she has to put up with this every day at work, she shouldn’t have to put up with this intrusive misogynistic bullshit from her peers. People who should be her equals are treating her like a walking talking womb, who’s only purpose now that she is married is to become a breeding cow.

Yeah, that’s not ok, that is never ok.

A woman is not just a womb, she may have a womb but that is her business, not yours, so quit asking about it. Try treating her like your equal and minding your own fucking business for a change. Did you ever think that a woman might be capable of making her own decisions? Or that she is ENTITLED to make her own decisions about her body? She does not need your unwanted input.

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Why are there no Feminist groups in Australia?

I have been searching for prominent feminist groups or organisations in Australia, you know big ones with a presence in more than one city, but I couldn’t seem to find any, there were a couple of small ones but nothing that looked promising for Australia.

It is a little worrying, that Australian women have no role models and organisations to follow on home soil, no feminist coverage of the current events in our country. Sure, we can follow overseas feminist news and support foreign organisations, but there is still plenty of problems that need to be addressed in Australia first.

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Let’s face it, Australia is far from being a front runner in equality, especially when it comes to locations outside the capital cities…in say, country Victoria for example…so the need for a major feminist organisation is a very real thing.

I am talking about those large organisations which are known globally, get noticed and could actually really make a difference with their work. That is what I want here, that is what this country needs.
Without an organisation that can lead the way for feminism in Australia, our country will just continue to go backwards on the equality front.

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There is such a stigma attached to feminism in Australia, here feminists are still thought of, by a majority of people, as the bra burning, hairy, man-hating women that society has long made us out to be. I mean, we haven’t even legalised gay marriage yet, how far behind do we want to be for god sake. It is about time feminism and equality had some kind of voice in Australia and it is high time that voice was heard.

It is time Australia crawled out of that archaic cave they have been held up in for centuries and realised they need feminism in order to keep up with the rest of the world.
Perhaps there are groups out there that I haven’t found yet, that need a hand to become greater, I would love to help. Or maybe I could just start my own?! Now that would be something, I could be the head of a raging, angry, feminist movement here in Australia!