Friday, May 15, 2009

League of gentlemen

I really didn't want to get involved in the sordid story of the, erm, incident involving several rugby league players and one New Zealand teenager that has just come out - I don't cover sports 'news'. However, today's top story on the Herald website has enraged me just enough that I feel it is my duty to say something.

In case you don't keep up with the sexual comings-and-goings of rugby league players, a story came out this week that, during a tour several years ago, a group of Australian rugby league players, including the apparently famous and very married Matthew Johns, took a 19-year-old Christchurch girl to their hotel and proceeded to have group sex with her. The woman has finally decided to come forward and, as a result, Johns, the only man named so far, has lost his jobs as a broadcaster and coach, or some such. Perhaps understandably, the now-mid-twenties woman is not too happy about the incident - but today's Herald/AAP article claims that she loved it:
A former work colleague of the woman at the centre of the Cronulla Sharks sex scandal in Christchurch involving Matthew Johns claims her co-worker bragged about the incident.

Tania Boyd has told the Nine Network that the woman in the ABC's Four Corners report, identified as "Clare", had boasted to her workmates about bedding several players and only contacted police five days after the alleged incident.

Well that's nice. But is this what the story is actually about - the sexual perversions of the woman in question? Or is it actually about how several highly-paid sportsmen, at least one of whom was married, took it upon themselves to take a teenage girl to their hotel room for group sex? I haven't been following the story too closely, but is the woman's main claim that the men should be prosecuted, or is it just that this kind of behaviour should come out in the open? Character assassination of the woman in question seems like a pretty low blow. You should be really proud, media - not to mention the 'former co-worker' who blew the whistle in this particular article:
"We all just thought it was hilarious until five days later the police came to work and were horrified she had now changed her story to say she was now a victim of crime."

"She is saying she is still traumatised etcetera, well she wasn't for five days, or four days at least, after that affair."

"I can't work out what's happened. Does it take five days for it to sink in?"

What a champ.

Anyway, as you can imagine, this story has not only hit the top of the most-viewed stories, but has also reached the highest bar of the court of public opinion:

hey you (Waiotaiki Bay): Silly girl out for a thrill is revolted about it in later life, consentual (at the time though now deemed barbaric) fun returns to haunt, is there a flip side perhaps? should she be sewn shut?.

At the time or immediately after is the time for a genuine complaint to laid and acted upon not 10 days after and certainly not 7 years. Needle and thread for this methinks.

Authority (Mt Albert): The root cause is that some dopey girls think enjoying group sex makes them cool and popular so they'll win a trophy boyfriend.

When they realise they're not, they become bitter and twisted, and then revise events to demonise the men and thereby clear themselves.

The girl in question originally boasted of her sex romp. But now she finds it easier to blame everybody else for her problems, rather than accept responsibility for her own life. And she thinks murder is a good solution.
Yeah, that's clearly the root cause. You're truly an 'Authority' in this area.

Honestly, I can barely bring myself to read any more. It's not just the chauvinist retards who blame women for getting raped (I mean in general, not in this case - it was 'consensual'). It's the media that give this kind of article (and these kind of views) a forum, either to sex up a story or in some mistaken attempt at a perverse 'balance'. Some 65-year-old redneck's misogyny I can deal with, because I don't (apart from on YV's) have to deal with it, and they'll be dead soon. It's a different story when it's the media saying that 'she loved it'.


  1. Yes, but Jimmy, how do you know she didn't love it? I find this sort of article moderately refreshing as it's taking an alternative view on a topic. Prior to this, it had only been Matty Johns professing his innocence, which was backed up by the NZ Police deciding not to press any charges at the time.

    Drunk chicks do stupid things. Things they wouldn't do when they were sober. Drunk guys, ditto. And you know what, some people, both male and female, enjoy gang bangs. No my cup of darjeeling, and probably not yours, but some people like that flavour.

    If "Law and Order: SVU" is to be believed, rape occurs when there is sex after the woman says no. Rape doesnt occur when a woman wakes up the next day regretting what she did the night before, or regretting what she implicitly consented to have done to her. Now I'm not saying that she has no right to regret it, or to be traumatised by it. For example, I chose to pay $12 to see "The Wedding Planner", which still haunts me to this day. But I dont blame JLo and McConnahy for my choice to see that bucket of crap, nor do I blame the chick I went with for picking the movie. I consented to seeing the movie, and I have to accept responsibility for that and the consequences that it entails.

    All parties involved are victims here. As a direct result of the incident, "Claire" lost years from her life to depression, and Matty Johns has lost an untold level of trust from his wife, kids, and the public at large. However, it is "Claire"'s utter refusal to accept responsibility and consequences, and the media outlet that sought her out, that have caused this recent explosion of opinion on the matter. And it's nice to hear alternative sides of a story for a change.

  2. EDITITORIAL CRACKPIPEMay 15, 2009 at 2:16 PM

    The whole thing is just so wrong, I don't even know where to start.

    I wish they wouldn't make your views topics for loaded stories like this.

  3. I don't know, JP_Rocks. I'm not sure that I believe that this is an issue of balance. I also don't think that sexual consent is a binary thing.

    And I'm not sure I feel particularly sorry for Matthew Johns or any of the other mystery men involved.

  4. Long time reader, first time commenter...

    I agree with you, James. Consent is not black and white.
    In particular, considering the balance of power in that room that night - a 19 year old girl and 12 burly men - how much power did she have to consent (or not?)
    Sure, maybe she didn't actually say no, but that doesn't equate to giving full and free consent.
    What happened may not be grounds for a court case, but it was certainly totally unfair and immoral for those men to take advantage of her.

  5. Yeah, assuming 'implicit consent' is one thing when it's your partner in a loving relationship.

    When it's one drunk teenager in a roomful of large, horny rugby players, it's rather another.

  6. James I can't tell you how glad I am to hear someone say what you've just said. I agree completely.

  7. Perhaps this was slightly too controversial a topic to try and make this point, because it looks like I failed miserably. I was trying to rant about personal responsibility for our choices and actions, of which there is not nearly enough of in todays society. Everything is always someone else's fault. Apologies for any offence caused.

    For the record, I feel sympathy for all parties involved. Johns and his wife, Claire and her future partners, and anyone else involved or suspected of being involved by their partners. There are no winners here.

  8. One girl and 12 guys? I think all those guys are mostly gay. Its not a binary thing either.

  9. I just wanted to say - nice headline on this post. Top marks.

  10. Dear Mr Authority... I'm a little perplexed by the link to murder you mention in the last paragraph.

    "the time for a genuine complaint to laid." what an odd sense of humour I've been endowed with.

  11. Nothing wrong with consensual sex, nothing wrong with consensual group sex, nothing to see here, move on.
    But Mr Johns doesn't deserve to lose his day time job because of his hobby.

  12. He doesn't deserve to lose his job for engaging in consensual group sex - you're right, Uroskin, there's nothing wrong with that.

    But he does deserve to lose it for irrevocably damaging his own and his employer's public reputation by abusing his public status to participate in the gross exploitation of a(at the time) naive and vulnerable young woman, while he was representing his employers on an official trip.

    At least that's how I see it.

  13. The TV commentator and the players "loved" the woman in Christchurch. Tony Veitch "hated" his partner. Both employment outcomes are identical. An injustice in the former case, in my book.

  14. JP_Rocks, I totally understand your point about not taking responsibility for things they have done and later regret, but I think in this case it's clear that whatever happened that night, it's had some fairly significant effects on the woman concerned.

    And your point "rape occurs when there is sex after the woman says no" is a widespread misconception, and just perpetuates the idea that men are always up for it, and women are the ones that must stop sex from happening.

    Firstly, both men and woman are victims of sexual violence, but secondly, legally, the onus is actually on both parties to get consent from each other - so actually what is more important than saying "no" is saying "yes". The law recognises that sometimes people aren't able to say "no" for whatever reason - you freak out, you think that something worse may happen to you if you say no etc.

    The odious commentators on Your Views and their like are part of the reason NZ has one of the highest levels of sexual violence in the developed world. Hardly something to be proud of.