What has been a surprise this week is the explosion of news about rape and football players. Well maybe it is not a surprise to some. Many thought this sort of thing was in the past what with the sordid details of the last few years. To have it out in the open again this year shows that there are still underlying issues that are not being addressed. We have had in the last few years numerous public cases of footballers and women who are attracted to them getting themselves into messy situations. Most involving copious amounts of alcohol. Most of these involve the women making a complaint of sexual assault against one or more players. Football clubs and police cooperate fully, and there seems to no longer be the “code of silence” amongst players and clubs about “what happens on the footy trip stays on the footy trip”. Yet these incidents keep occurring.
I think Karen Willis, the manager of the NSW Rape Crisis Centre, has written a very good article for the Sydney Morning Herald calling for ethical responses by men – who have to be leaders – in this area. And while I agree with her fully, I want to add a couple of additional elements.
Without trivialising the seriousness of the charges, the damage to “Clare”, and the fallout into the many peoples lives who have been affected by this, our society really doesn't care. Sexual assault of a single women in her home by a masked invader is considered brutal and fully punishable by the full extent of the law. these sorts of offenders usually get big sentences. Yet when a women who clearly made a number of wrong choices, not the least of which was allegedly consenting to sex with 2 men in a backroom of a drunken party, is then sexually assaulted by many, you can just see the pundits lining up to lay blame on her. And yes there is blame to lay. For being there in the first place. But that should not make the seriousness of the crime any less, or the penalties on the “men” who did this. We have the exact same parallel problem in our society with alcohol and driving. We turn a blind eye to those who have a couple of drinks and drive, but then at some arbitrary largely irrelevant point we determine that the blood alcohol of an individual is too high to drive and any individual causing an accident is lambasted by our press and public based on our societal mores of right and wrong. Why the arbitrary measurement of of a blood alcohol level of 0.05? Because we don’t really care about drinking and driving. If we did we would make it zero tolerance.
And back to the case in hand, why do we look at the case of a women who made wrong choices being taken beyond her choice and evaluate that differently from the case of an “innocent” women being attacked in the privacy of her home. I put it to you it is because we don’t really care. We really don’t. We judge her for her decision making and we excuse the “men” who took advantage of her because of the circumstances.
We want to have our cake and eat it to. Society says sexing it up is fine. Promoting IT products with sex is a borderline example, but one that is used heavily by the advertising industry, and for a lot more products than IT. There has been a lot of discussion around the IT “sex sells” concepts in the last few days here in Australia with talk of booth babes in skimpy and sexist outfits. I think like alcohol and driving, that we have allowed sex to be considered non dangerous in small quantities, and then suddenly at some arbitrary level to be bad. I think we have allowed our unethical thinking in regard to these things to promote an unhealthy culture about sex and acceptable behaviour in the workplace.
My position is that the ethical stance for men and women in our society to take is to agree that the best scenario is monogamous relationships where two partners submit to each other for life excluding all others. Thus women would not be going off to back rooms with 2 men, and two men would not be asking a women to go there. Idealistic? Maybe, but I think that should be the societal goal that addresses the underlying issue. Any allowed exceptions to this will create situations where these “consenting multiple partners” entanglements have the potential to get nasty. Like allowing some drinking before driving. We need zero tolerance on drink driving, and zero tolerance on group sex. Consensual or not.
My thoughts today are with “Clare” and her family. I hope that the “men” involved have grown up and learn to apologise and become ethical from now on. Prison sentences would have helped them learn that. No leniency should have been allowed. I also acknowledge that the families of these guys have been damaged. I hope they can learn to deal with it.
Happy to have comments and feedback on this one.
Links to IT booth babe articles:
Kate have you allowed your risqué approach to your article titles to undermine your otherwise good articles?
Interesting reading the NetRegistry blog on this Netregistry nurses at CeBIT: Naughty or nice? This comment underscores my points about accepting it – and the press is surely to blame here – as they use the titillating angle to sell their sizzle.
We shouldn’t be surprised - it made a more fun and titilating (sic) story for the IT sites to write about. Ironically, our stand and brand gained even more exposure because of the additional publicity.
is this a case of celebrities using the paparazzi or the paparazzi using the celebrities?
Ben Grubb’s article at News.com.au Naughty nurses draw fire at CeBIT Australia
And to wrap it all up.
I considered the appropriateness of a photo with this article, and decided against it. The subject matter is too serious to trivialise with a photo. Ethics starts with the individual. Integrity is no compromise on ethics.