Sydney widow granted possession of deceased husband’s sperm

Jerome Doraisamy writes for Lawyers Weekly:

The NSW Supreme Court has ruled in favour of a woman seeking possession of a sperm sample previously removed pursuant to an order of the court from the body of her late husband.

The decision follows a recent landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of Queensland, which held that a woman was entitled to possession of sperm extracted from her recently-deceased partner who had committed suicide.

That particular decision was criticised by numerous Australian family law practitioners.


The tampon tax we never deserved looks set to soon go

Australian women could save between $10 and $40 a year now that the federal government has bowed to pressure to remove the country’s “tampon tax” from female sanitary products.

But this really isn’t about economics, it’s a matter of principle and it just so happens that a federal election is looming.

After 17 years of public campaigning since the GST was introduced, Treasurer Scott Morrison announced over the weekend that the federal government would remove the tax on tampons if it gets the unanimous support of state and territory governments.

The GST is currently applied to tampons and sanitary products on the basis that these items are a luxury-spend, while GST is not applied to condoms or Viagra as these are deemed essential health items.

Just last month, India announced it would scrap a 12 per cent tax on women’s tampons and sanitary products, as part of significant reforms to bring the fast-growing nation under the umbrella of a single tax system.

Since the GST was introduced in 2001, the federal government has collected just over half a billion dollars in total revenue over 17 years, thanks to the sale of tampons.

If you consider that some women have been paying for sanitary items for the past 17 years, that equates to between $170 and $680 per woman.

‘A boob factory’: Cheap implants marketed to welfare recipients

Cheap breast implants have been marketed to women on welfare at clinics where the surgery is carried out by doctors who aren’t trained plastic surgeons, under a business model described as a “boob factory”.

TCI is now the subject of a class action by patients who suffered complications following breast augmentation surgery.

Several other clinics around the country are operating under a similar business model to TCI, with implants costing under $6000.

Surgery at these low-cost providers is typically carried out by doctors who aren’t plastic surgeons, and when complications arise, they can be ill equipped to deal with it.

The number of women suffering complications after attending low-cost surgeons has led to a world-first breast implant check clinic being set up at Sydney’s Macquarie University.

Anna Kerr
Principal Solicitor
Feminist Legal Clinic
PO Box 273
Summer Hill NSW 2130
Mob: 0402 467 476

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Privacy rights for sexual assault victims

Julie Zhou writes for Right Now:

When a victim of sexual assault sees a counsellor, the last thing she should have to worry about is whether records of her counselling session might be subpoenaed by her former partner and used in family law proceedings against her. Unfortunately, this is the reality many women face, as the Commonwealth remains the only jurisdiction in Australia without any form of protection for sexual assault counselling communications.

Sexual assault communications privilege restricts a litigant’s ability to subpoena communications between victims of sexual assault and their counsellors and use that information as evidence in Court. Currently, every Australian State and Territory has some form of sexual assault communications privilege.

While the design and degree of protection offered by this privilege is different in each State and Territory, all jurisdictions require that the person seeking to obtain and use sexual assault counselling records demonstrate to a court that:

  1. They have a legitimate forensic purpose for issuing the subpoena, and
  2. It is in the public interest to produce the sexual assault counselling records.

Given the high rates of sexual assault in domestic and intimate partner relationships, it is alarming that the Commonwealth is the only jurisdiction without any form of sexual assault communications privilege. As family law falls within the Commonwealth jurisdiction, victims of sexual assault in family law proceedings are left with no privilege over their counselling records.

Since as early as 2006, the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has recommended that a sexual assault communications privilege be introduced into the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) to protect the counselling records of sexual assault victims in the Commonwealth jurisdiction. However, that recommendation has yet to be adopted.

With widespread support from the counselling sector and women’s groups, how long will it take for there to be meaningful protection in family law for the counselling records of sexual assault victims?

I’ve quit the Labour Party because it has betrayed women

I was elected as a Labour Councillor to Cambridge City Council in 2014 and re elected in May this year. Just five weeks after the elections, the Council’s breach of the 2010 Equality Act surfaced on Twitter. Just ten days after the Act became law, an amendment to the Council’s Equality policy had been voted through committee. This amendment abolished women-only facilities in the city including toilets and changing rooms – and plunged the council into illegality. It meant that male-born transwomen could access female facilities.

The council further breached the Act by failing to consult with women and by not conducting an Equality Impact Assessment to assess potential negative consequences on those affected by the change.

Because of All Women Shortlists (AWSs) we now have a House of Commons, especially on the Labour benches, that is more representative of the wider population than ever before – but let’s not forget that the wider population is 51pc women, so that improved representation still falls short. AWSs still have work to do. But now, the present iteration of the Labour Party is busily re-writing history to claim that AWSs were never ever exclusively designed for women, so that the Leadership can justify instating natal-male transwomen into women’s places within a mechanism that was designed to circumvent sexism. This is biologically-based sexism – in the Party, without first consulting with ALL women members. It is treachery.

France Bans Street Harassment, Approving Hefty Fines For Catcallers

French lawmakers have approved a measure outlawing sexual harassment in the street, rendering catcalling and lewd or degrading comments a crime punishable by on-the-spot fines of up to 750 euros — or more than $870. The country’s Senate passed the legislation late Wednesday as part of a broader package of measures targeting sexual violence, which the lower house of Parliament advanced earlier this year.

Also included in the legislation are provisions to more broadly protect minors under the age of 15, making it easier for alleged underage rape victims to prove a lack of consent and extending the deadline to file their complaints by a decade. Under the terms of the law, massive fines and potential prison time also await anyone found to have taken pictures of people under their clothing without their consent, a practice often known as “upskirting.”

The law, which takes effect next month, has been a centerpiece of a yearlong campaign supported by President Emmanuel Macron’s government — and boosted in recent days by a viral video that drew millions of views and waves of condemnation.

More reports on how the system is failing victims of violence against women globally

Unhelpful attitude of police figures among issues brought before TNSCW

The failure of the police and the administration to address their grievances is the reason why women approach the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women (TNSCW), according to its members.

Data from the commission reveals that of the 813 petitions, 125 concerned domestic violence, 60 cited property disputes, 55 were against sexual harassment at the workplace, 49 were to do with dowry harassment and 47 mentioned the police’s unwillingness to solve matters.

“A lot of women have alleged that a few police officers colluded with their husbands and harassed them and their families. They insisted that they file for divorce. They have cited instances in which officers were also unwilling to conduct a thorough enquiry,” she said.

Only two-thirds of eligible sexual assault survivors choose to undergo a “rape kit” and less than one-third subsequently hand over the forensic evidence to police, say researchers at an Ontario hospital with a dedicated emergency department program for victims.

Across Canada, only 33 in every 1,000 cases of sexual assault are reported to the police; six lead to prosecution, of which three end in a conviction, says the study published online Tuesday in the Emergency Medicine Journal.

As part of the Ottawa Hospital program, sexual assault victims are offered the opportunity to undergo a rape kit — the collection of evidence that includes bodily fluids, fingernail scrapings and DNA samples, such as those left on clothing.

Yet many victims decline to go through the process, which can take eight to 10 hours and may feel like a second violation, Sampsel acknowledged.

The system is providing ‘green light’ to perpetrators of violence against women in Australia and globally

Queensland provides “an absolute green light” to perpetrators of sexual violence, women’s and survivors’ support groups say, as they call for urgent reform to a system they say is governed by murky consent laws, untrained police and inadequate support services.

The call follows a Guardian Australia report on Thursday which revealed police had shredded the rape statement of a woman known as Lyla – having not previously spoken to her or investigated her claim – then later told her they couldn’t “wave a magic wand and fix all of your problems”.

In the age of #MeToo, Queensland is going backwards. Crime statistics show reports of sexual assault increasing.

“There are issues about never getting phone calls back, issues of having to relay highly sensitive details of trauma at the front desk of a police station.

“Even having male police officers conducting the interviews is really troubling.”

Fears that women still face “Russian roulette” when they report family violence because some police might not take them seriously have merit, the head of Domestic Violence Victoria says.

“All our friends think you call the police when you’re in danger and they help you. We know that’s not how it works,” they said.

“It’s like Russian roulette, sometimes you get someone who will help. Sometimes, like Mum, you get someone who doesn’t take you seriously.

Defendants are “gaming the system” in specialist domestic violence courts by intimidating partners into not appearing in the expectation that magistrates will drop charges, a critical report has said.

The report, commissioned by the police and crime commissioner for Northumbria, Dame Vera Baird QC, was based on the monitoring more than 220 cases in the north-east of England. It suggests those in which the complainant does not appear are dismissed too readily and that criminal justice services are under-resourced.

The defendants, almost all men, continued to exert coercive control over their victims through the mechanism of the courts system, the study says. Too few independent domestic violence advisers (IDVAs) were seen at court and irrelevant mitigation pleas such as the perpetrator being drunk were regularly offered, it notes.

Birth Needs a #MeToo Reckoning

The success of the #MeToo movement has hinged on the unity of many voices to flip power dynamics that once kept countless victims silent. As that dialogue expands, more people are recognizing a similar pattern of health-care providers overriding people’s “no’s” in birth. It’s even coined its own term: “birth rape,” referring to when a woman’s rights and autonomy over her own body are taken away, or disregarded, during childbirth, and if her body is subsequently violated in the process—from unwanted medication being administered without consent, to forced C-sections. And, while traumatic birth in many countries, including the U.S., has often been dismissed, some countries, like Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela actually have “Obstetric Violence” laws on the books. Obstetric violence involves dehumanizing treatment, abusive medicalization, and loss of patient autonomy.

People who have experienced maltreatment during birth are not alone; they’re not even a small exception. Health-care provider bullying and coercion during childbirth is so ingrained in obstetric culture that the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) issued an opinion statement that condemns the practice. The opinion says, “It is never acceptable for obstetrician-gynecologists to attempt to influence patients toward a clinical decision using coercion. Obstetrician-gynecologists are discouraged in the strongest possible terms from the use of duress, manipulation, coercion, physical force, or threats.” The paper concludes, “Pregnancy does not lessen or limit the requirement to obtain informed consent or to honor a pregnant woman’s refusal of recommended treatment.” The World Health Organization, too, has called for action, research, and advocacy in order to prevent and eliminate disrespect and abuse during facility-based childbirth.

Myths about Domestic Violence debunked

A resource for judges in Australia that is designed to improve the understanding of family violence has been updated and dispels a number of myths about domestic violence that can impede justice and put women at risk.

It makes clears that victims of DV cannot always ‘just leave’ an abusive relationship, that physically separating will not always stop the violence and that attempts to control a partner can be as serious as physical violence.

“Although there is a widespread belief in the community that mothers frequently fabricate allegations to influence family law proceedings, the research to date indicates that it is more likely that they will be reluctant to raise allegations for fear of having their motives questioned, and that the making of false allegations is much less common than the problem of genuine victims who fail to report abuse, and the widespread false denials and minimisation of abuse by perpetrators,” the book reads.

Despite wanting to leave barriers that prevent victims from doing so include a lack of financial resources, concerns for the welfare of children, family and pets, disability, a lack of alternative, safe accommodation, inadequate formal support systems, religious and cultural beliefs and a fear of retaliation by the perpetrator.

“Research has shown that one of the most dangerous times for a victim is in the months after separation when the perpetrator may use a variety of tactics to reassert control over the victim.”

Research indicates that, predominantly, women are the victims and men are the perpetrators of this form of violence.

In 73% of female homicide cases, the current or intimate male partner is the perpetrator/offender.”

Australian Summit Against Sexual Exploitation targeted by sex industry lobbyists

Caitlin Roper and Sabrinna Valisce write in Feminist Current:

Last month, the Australian Summit Against Sexual Exploitation (ASASE) was held at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). The conference hosted presentations from a range of speakers, including radical feminists and abolitionists like Julie Bindel, Dr. Renate Klein, and Sarah Mah, as well as sex trade survivors such as Simone Watson.

The event was an amazing success, with powerful speeches and discussions. Unfortunately, the conference was targeted by pro-sex trade lobbyists associated with Vixen, a Victoria, Australia-based red umbrella group that lobbies for the full decriminalization of prostitution (meaning they would like to see pimps and punters/johns decriminalized, as well as prostituted people).

Holding signs with slogans like “Fuck you pay me” and “Blowjobs are real jobs,” they shouted abuse and obscenities at Professor Taylor and members of the audience, trashed display tables and threw objects at members of the audience.

Two of the slogans written on red umbrellas read, “No bad whores, just bad laws,” and “Rights Not Rescue,” so I attempted to open a dialogue on that basis. Simone and I made clear that we were in full agreement with both these slogans. (In fact, Simone’s brilliant speech only hours earlier was titled, “Rights Not Rescue.”)

Through this dialogue, it became clear that the protesters had no real idea what they were protesting. They believed ASASE was a religious right organization, with membership, that was also anti-abortion and anti-same sex marriage. Absolutely none of this is true. ASASE has no membership or particular religious or political position.

Yet again, the pro-sex trade lobby have exposed themselves for their callous disregard for the wellbeing of women with their tactics of verbally abusing, intimidating, and harassing survivors of prostitution and child sexual abuse.

Judge Sued for Denying Name Changes to Transgender Children – U.S. Sixth Circuit

Stephanie Whitaker, Jennifer Shaul and “Jane Doe” have sued Kirby for violating the Equal Protection Clause. Their attorneys want a declaratory judgment, attorney’s fees and costs.

They allege Kirby “has a pattern and practice of treating name change requests from transgender adolescents differently than other name change requests.” They say the judge either denied their requests, or treated them differently.

In Whitaker’s case, the parents wanted their 14-year-old daughter to have a name change to reflect her gender identification as a male. Kirby said it’s a decision she can make when she becomes an adult.

Argentina senate rejects bill to legalise abortion

Argentina’s senate has rejected a bill to legalise abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Lawmakers debated for more than 15 hours and voted 38 against to 31 in favour, despite the fact opinion polls showed the bill had strong public support.

Pressure from the Catholic church prevented its approval, according to female activists who supported the bill. Argentina is the homeland of Pope Francis.

“The church put pressure on senators to vote against the bill,” said Ana Correa, an original member of the #NiUnaMenos (“Not one woman less”) feminist movement that supported the bill.

The lower house had already passed the measure and President Mauricio Macri had said he would sign it.

Rejection of the bill means that abortion remains legal only in the case of rape and danger to the life of the woman.

“Senators and anti-rights can go to sleep pleased that they saved the lives of people who literally speaking do not exist and pleased that they fought
for women to keep dying,” tweeted Malena Pichot, a well-known comedian and legal abortion activist.

IRS Grants Tax-Exempt Status to Lesbian ‘Pussy Worship’ Church

Adrienne Gonzalez of Going Concern writes:

“The Pussy Church serves Women and Girls only. Males are not permitted to participate, regardless of how they
identify. We expressly reject the concepts of gender identity, transgenderism, and gender as being meaningful to
de×ning what a Woman or Girl is,” PCMW writes on its website. “We come together to form a congregation of
adherents to our female born, lesbian-feminist-based religions beliefs and traditions,” it reads. “At Pussy Church, we
serve Women and Girls and our emotional and spiritual needs. We cannot serve these needs in the presence of men,
as men as a class are the cause of the harm that women experience globally.”

I’ll be honest: they ain’t wrong. Though Antonia Elle D’orsay of The Trans 100 disagrees.
“This church is relying on a religious belief founded in secular materials which are often explicitly hostile to religion
as a whole,” she told Forbes. “It would be like the IRS recognizing a group which promotes slavery texts as a basis —
there is no genuine religious belief there.”

You mean … like the Bible? I’m no theologist but that thing is jam-packed with all kinds of messed up stuff. Take St.
Paul in 1 Timothy 2:12 for example: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be
silent.” Or, perhaps slightly more on topic, sage advice for the beholden in 1 Peter 2:18: “Slaves, submit yourselves to
your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.”

The Pussy Church isn’t the first example of a controversial religious order enjoying the beneits of tax-exempt
status. I mean, donations to the Westboro Baptist Church for them to purchase “God Hates Fags” signs for their
next protest are tax-deductible for Christ’s sake.

Rape Crisis support services in Glasgow facing funding crisis

Caroline Wilson of the Glasgow Evening Times writes:

The Glasgow Rape Crisis support group said it had been forced to shut the waiting list for face to face support due to a loss of funding, which has had a “significiant impact” on service provision.

It is understood that funding was withdrawn by Children in Need, because of an apparent lack of provision of men, affected by sexual abuse.

In a statement, the White Ribbon Campaign, said: “After supporting Rape Crisis Glasgow and Clyde for six years Children in Need have decided to withdraw their funding because they do not think the Centre does enough for men and boys.

“With nearly 2,000 rapes and attempts being reported in Scotland every year and the demand on Rape Crisis Centres being greater than ever these services are essential.

“Given that more than 90% of all reported rapes are committed against women it would seem more appropriate for Children in Need to consider providing funding to services geared up for male survivors rather than withdrawing this award.

Violence Against Women Act Is About To Expire

Melissa Jeltson of HuffPost US writes:

The Violence Against Women Act — which directs the national response to crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking — will expire at the end of September if lawmakers don’t act fast.

While VAWA was reauthorized in 2000, 2005 and 2013 with bipartisan support, the current House bill does not have a single Republican co-sponsor to date. As time runs low, advocates are growing increasingly anxious.

VAWA, which was authored by then-Sen. Joe Biden and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, was the first piece of federal legislation to address domestic violence as a serious crime.

The law provides grants for law enforcement training, victim services and prevention efforts and led to the creation of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Yvette Cooper calls for urgent review into release of rapist police officer after just seven years of double life sentence

Samuel Osborne at the Independent reports:

Yvette Cooper has demanded an urgent review into the “disturbing and incomprehensible” decision to release a former police officer jailed for raping and sexually assaulting vulnerable women just seven years into a double life sentence.

The chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee made the call after it emerged over the weekend that Stephen Mitchell, who was warned he posed such a danger to women he may well spend the rest of his natural life behind bars, had in fact been allowed out following a decision by the Parole Board.

Mr Justice Wilkie said the Northumbria Police constable was a “ruthless sexual predator” when jailing him at Newcastle Crown Court in January 2011.

Rape Crisis England and Wales described the case as “deeply disturbing” and said it highlights “the urgent need for greater clarity around Parole Board decision making”.

Showing anger can backfire for women lawyers, studies say; law prof suggests ‘gender judo’ response

Debra Cassens Weiss writes in ABA Journal:

Deborah Rhode, director of the Center on the Legal Profession at Stanford Law School, has a favorite New Yorker cartoon that shows a king and queen in the throne room. The queen turns to the king and remarks, “But when a woman has someone’s head cut off, she’s a bitch.”

The cartoon gets a laugh when she shows it to women, Rhode says. Women lawyers can identify with the feeling that when they take the same action as a man, they may be judged differently. And research backs up their perception.

The research suggests that women lawyers are more likely to be judged in a harsher light than men when they display assertiveness, self-promotion or anger, according to University of California at Hastings law professor Joan Williams.

The double standard is highlighted in Williams’ soon-to-be-released survey of nearly 3,000 lawyers, as well as a separate study of courtroom closing arguments.

The study participants were asked whether they would hire the lawyers. The participants used positive aspects of the angry closings to justify hiring male lawyers but referred to negative aspects of anger to justify not hiring the female lawyers.

The women lawyers who showed anger were deemed to be less competent, as well as shrill, hysterical, grating and ineffective, according to the ASU Now article.

Rhode tells the ABA Journal she agrees the double standard still exists, and it affects women in any leadership role. She describes the problem as a “likability confidence tradeoff,” in which women need to be assertive enough to command confidence but not so assertive as to seem abrasive.

Van Badham … Desperate to be relevant … ?

Bronwyn Williams from the Tasmanian Times writes:

On 27 and 28 July a group of people met at RMIT Melbourne to attend the Australian Summit Against Sexual Exploitation (ASASE) – Without exception, the speakers and attendees at the gathering are persons – academics, activists and social workers – dedicated to ending the sexual exploitation of women and girls, and the untold harms it causes.

Outside the venue, on the afternoon of the second day of the conference, was a loosely organised ‘queer street party’, advertised on Facebook as ‘Protest ASASE’ – Those involved in the summit were politely referred to as ‘TERF and SWERF scum’ and exhorted to ‘FUCK OFF’ by the party/protest organisers.

There are an estimated 40-42 million people in prostitution worldwide and around 80 per cent of them are women ( An even greater majority of those buying sex are men. The average age of entry into prostitution is 13 to 14 years. Most are there because they are trafficked and/or they have no other way of supporting themselves, their children and their families. It is not a ‘choice’ in the way women like you understand the word, it’s a grave, humiliating and dangerous invasion of their personal integrity. It’s as far from a choice as anything could possibly be.

And, a very vocal, well-organised trans activist movement has so far secured the passage of laws in a number of jurisdictions around the world that prevent women from gathering together in safety and security, and they want more. They want to become legally female on the basis of their own self-identification. No other change to a person’s legal identity is allowed in this way – for example, neither you or I could become a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander identity just because we felt like it. It would be both absurd and offensive for that to be the case.

But, somehow, we’re meant to suspend our collective disbelief, and recognise a person with a penis and testicles towelling off in the change room of our women only gym as a true female – as one of us. You might be capable of that level of cognitive gymnastics, and you’re not alone by any means, but some women just can’t do it.

Women’s rights are circling the drain, disappearing faster than you can imagine into an Orwellian nightmare where they can no longer speak the truth about their sex. The sex trade lobby is telling them their bodies are commodities and being used is ‘empowering’. Trans activists are erasing every aspect of their biology from language and social discourse.…-desperate-to-be-relevant-…-/

Silencing and Censorship in the Trans Rights debate

Since 2012 in Tasmania, a number of examples of bullying, threats and intimidation by trans activists against people with different points of view have been brought to light in the media. Until now, several other cases have not been reported.

This article will outline those cases and also provide a broad introduction to media reports on no-platforming and censorship at universities, proposed changes to anti discrimination laws, and acts of silencing and intimidation against critics of trans rights tactics and campaigns.

Australian feminist activist and scholar Germaine Greer, while stating that transgenderism is not her issue, has been repeatedly targeted by the trans rights movement with attempts to have her no-platformed and banned from speaking at universities because of her views on transgenderism. As Claire Lehman said in relation to no-platforming on The Drum –

‘While the stated aim of this approach is to reduce harm, the end result is enforced ignorance. No-platforming does not change people’s hearts and minds, it intimidates people into silence. It is an anti-Enlightenment movement’.

Please take care to notice a few things:

• Most of the people censored are women, particularly radical feminists and lesbians

• In some of these cases, people were censored for alleged transphobia, but other kinds of bigotry in the same context (particularly misogyny) were not censored

• Sometimes there is no evidence of transphobia at all, but an accusation of transphobia alone is worthy of punishment

• Transgender people represent an estimated 0.3 % of the US population

• The transgender interest lobby is worth millions of dollars, mostly spent on advertising

• It’s not difficult to see that the amount of rights, sociopolitical power and social recognition that the very small transgender lobby has accrued in a very short time span is vastly disproportionate to the amount of power other marginalized groups (women, people of color, LGB people) have accrued after rallying for much, much longer periods of time.

For instance….there are some protections that trans people have that women and other minorities don’t have (such as, 6-figure fines for “misgendering” while no such fine exists for using racial and misogynistic slurs).

It’s highly unusual, and perhaps even suspect, that a special interest group representing a minuscule portion of the population has become this powerful, this fast, and yet claims that they are “silenced” and “invisible” to society.

And it’s also highly unusual/suspect that 0.3% of the population has been this effective in censoring entire political organizations (such as Deep Green Resistance) and political ideologies (radical feminism).

The Andrew Gaff overreaction is as sickening as the punch

Kate Halfpenny in New Daily writes:

What happened to Andrew Brayshaw is disgusting, but it’s such a contrast when a bloke is hurt doing his job – playing a game in which violence is part of its intrinsic appeal – and gets mass national attention, yet women are bashed and killed every day and it routinely merits a mere couple of paragraphs.

When Phillip Island mother Samantha Fraser was killed at home in July, why weren’t there whole TV shows dedicated to her death? She died. She didn’t just get a broken jaw. She died. Her kids have no mother anymore. Because she’s dead.

In 2017, when a 27-year-old Broadmeadows woman was cut into pieces in front of her children, her eyes gouged out while she was alive and her fingers cut off and shoved inside her, why weren’t TV shows dedicated to what should happen to the perpetrator? She died in the most hideous way. She isn’t alive anymore.

But nope. No panels of experts weighing in on what punishment was suitable, no thousands of newspaper columns saying the same thing. Not much sympathy, but then the one or two women killed every week in Australia aren’t alive to get the sympathy, and it’s not like their deaths are part of a multi-million-dollar industry.

This week showed how we respond when one man gets hurt in the workplace.

Men, imagine if it was you being killed every week by women.

Imagine if we were stronger and meaner than you, and filled with vengeful thoughts and hate over money and child custody and because you didn’t look good enough or you looked too good, or whatever else was getting our goat.

Imagine if, literally, one of you was being picked off every couple of days by a woman.

And then a couple of tributes were written, a couple of tongues were clicked in sympathy, then you were forgotten because women were busy watching footage of an unseemly one punch at netball that ended in a dislocated jaw.

UN grills Australia on multiple failures to protect women against violence

As a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Australian government is expected to present to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination every four years but the last time they presented was in 2010.

The Committee commended the apparent admission of various Australian governments at failings in the prevention of domestic violence, and reiterated that clearly, “something is not working properly.” But the commendations stopped there.

Given Australia’s global economic standing, the Committee was extremely concerned by cuts to women’s shelter services and the housing, financial and legal services upon which the most vulnerable women rely. The Committee criticised Australia for cutting specialised services designed to help women escape violence in the home and replacing them with mainstreamed services. The Committee considered it unreasonable to expect a woman who has been the victim of male violence to seek refuge at a shelter that now also serves men.

Committee expert Ruth Halperin-Kaddari asked about reduction in women’s access to justice due to “major cuts to legal aid across the board.” Quoting the 2014 Productivity Commission Inquiry she reminded us “women are more likely to experience unmet legal need than men, and that indigenous women are more at risk, and more legal need is unmet in rural, regional and remote areas.”

Committee’s Rapporteur for Australia Patricia Schulz was deeply critical of why the government had decided to merge the Family Court with the Federal Circuit Court before the results of the review they commissioned to ensure the family law system meets the contemporary needs of families and effectively addresses family violence and child abuse. She also expressed concern about the influence of false claims by the so called ‘Men’s Rights Activists’ on family law officers, policies and practice at the expense of the safety and protection of women and children in situations of domestic violence.

It’s OK to cry in the courtroom even if you’re a judge, law professors say

Judges can’t be expected to be emotionless robots, two legal experts have said after a defence lawyer questioned a B.C. judge’s ability to deliver a fair sentence because she cried during a victim impact statement.

Defence lawyer Jacqueline Halliburn has asked provincial court Judge Monica McParland to recuse herself from a Kelowna, B.C., courtroom because of what she argued was an “overall tone of bias” against a person who pleaded guilty in a sexual interference case.

Jeremy Melvin Carlson was charged in 2016 with sexual assault and the sexual interference of a person under the age of 16. Carlson, who is transgender and is in the middle of a male-to-female transition, pleaded guilty to sexual interference of a minor.

Janine Benedet, a law professor at the University of British Columbia, said it’s significant that the judge cried during the sentencing stage of the trial, which means the accused had already been convicted.

“As a society, we should have a revulsion to the sexual abuse of children, there’s nothing wrong with finding that distressing,” she said.

How did a confident, successful woman become a poverty-stricken recluse?

Financial violence can happen to wealthy people, to people living comfortably and to very poor people. It has nothing to do with how much money is available, it’s about how money is used to control someone. A study by RMIT estimated that at least 16% of women and 7% of men in Australia were aware of having experienced financial violence.

Violence is not just physical assault. Violence is about power. That Andrew didn’t hit Emma does not mean he wasn’t violent, it just means he used financial and emotional violence to exert power over her. The result was the same. Emma was frightened, isolated, trapped in a relationship she wanted to leave and will spend years trying to recover.

Help is available to people suffering financial violence. The royal commission into family violence recognised the dangers of economic abuse and made recommendations to address it. Banks, essential services and financial advisers are doing more to support their employees to recognise and act on the signs, and improve how they respond to debts accrued in the context of family violence. But the most important step is for the victim themselves to understand it as abuse.

Women more likely to survive heart attack if treated by female doctor

Female heart attack patients treated by male doctors have a worse chance of survival than those treated by female doctors, a study suggests.

Previous studies based on data from Australia and Sweden have revealed that men and women experience different care if they have a heart attack, while UK research has shown women are more likely to be misdiagnosed.

Now researchers say the gender of the doctor might affect female patients’ chances of survival.

[A]nalysis showed that men and women had similar chances of survival when they saw female doctors. But male doctors were linked to worse outcomes, particularly for women.

Female patients treated by male doctors were about 1.5 percentage points less likely to survive a heart attack than male patients in the care of female doctors.

[T]he longstanding idea that a heart attack patient is generally a middle-aged man with risk factors such as smoking, being overweight and having diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol could be putting women at a disadvantage.

Anna Kerr Principal Solicitor Feminist Legal Clinic PO Box 273 Summer Hill NSW 2130 Mob: 0402 467 476 anna Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. This e-mail transmission is intended only for the addressee and may contain confidential or privileged information. Confidentiality and privilege are not waived if you are not the intended recipient of this e-mail. If you receive this e-mail in error please delete it and any attachments and notify us immediately by reply e-mail. Feminist Legal Clinic does not warrant that any attachments are free from viruses or other defects. By opening attachments you assume all liability for any loss, damage or other consequences that may arise. 

Pakistan: 12 Girls’ Schools Burnt Down Overnight In Gilgit-Baltistan

Twelve girls’ schools have been burnt down by unidentified persons in coordinated attacks in Pakistan’s restive Gilgit-Baltistan, triggering protest by local residents who sought safety for educational institutions which are often attacked by the militants, a media report said on Friday.

Girls’ schools are often attacked in the northern areas of Pakistan.

In December 2011, at least two girls’ schools were partially damaged in low-intensity explosions in Chilas.

Earlier that year, unidentified men had also blown up two girls’ schools.

In 2004, girls’ schools in Chilas came under a string of attacks. Nine schools of which eight were girls’ schools were attacked and destroyed in five days in the area in February.

According to a report, about 1,500 schools have been destroyed in the tribal belt during the last 10 years.

Nobel Prize winner and education activist Malala Yousafzai was also shot by the Taliban in 2012 for advocating girls’ education in Swat.

In 2017, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its report stated that attacks by the Taliban and other militant groups disrupted the education of hundreds of thousands of children, particularly girls, in Pakistan.

Evie Amati found guilty over 7-Eleven axe attack

EVIE Amati, the transgender woman who attacked overnight customers in a suburban 7-Eleven with an axe has been found guilty of wounding with intent to murder in a unanimous verdict by a jury.

She had pleaded not guilty saying she was suffering mental illness while committing the attacks.

But a jury did not believe her and found her guilty on two charges of wounding with intent to murder and wounding with intent to murder against two store customers and attempting to wound a pedestrian with intent to murder him.

Ms Amati’s barrister Charles Waterstreet told the trial on its first day that Ms Amati was on a cocktail of drugs and had “lost her mind”.

But Crown prosector Daniel McMahon told the trial that Amati had lashed out with an axe after becoming angry because of a romantic rejection because she was transgender on the night of the incident.

Amati denied she was angry, saying she had “experienced rejection countless times before”.

There’s no such thing as ‘dirt blindness’. Men just need to do more housework

The Danish use the word hygge to describe the feeling of cosiness, warmth, and comfort that a well-kept house is supposed to provide. Yet creating this pleasant environment requires work and, unfortunately, the bulk of that work is done by women.

While attitudes towards gender roles have become less traditional, there are still gendered expectations about cleanliness of the home and children.

Any dirt, mess or failure to provide clean, immaculately dressed and polite children to the world is most often a judgement against women – a sure sign of bad mothering. Inherent in this assumption is the idea that men don’t see mess, or are oblivious to the cleaning and mental work associated with ensuring that the household runs properly.

What’s more, the types of domestic work that are outsourced is usually the work often done by men, such as gardening or household maintenance. So the benefit of domestic outsourcing is usually marginal for women.

Because of men’s lack of desire to twirl a brush around the toilet bowl, or their general lack of concern about having a clean house, we tend to think of them as being “dirt-blind”. But really it’s because men aren’t penalised for messiness in the same way that women are.

For women, cleanliness in the family home is a further extension of prevailing social norms dictating that women must be clean, hairless, perfumed and pretty. In this regard, doing housework is a way for women to “perform” their gender.

Men not doing housework also fits with long-held ideas about men and dirt that begin with boys and the outdoors. Thus, keeping house is as much about gendered expectations as it is about actual dirt. Men do see dirt, but they aren’t told from a young age that leaving a mess makes them bad men.

A Conversation with the Women of WikiLeaks

Whatever your thoughts on WikiLeaks, it’s undeniable that it is perhaps one of the most game-changing institutions of this century. Women, Whistleblowing, WikiLeaks, published by OR Books, at least attempts to throw some of the spotlight back onto the women who have had an active and prominent role in the unfolding of events that have changed national security discourse today.

When it comes to women, the discussants agree that their contributions are often dismissed. This ironically plays into their favor, because it gives them greater room to act. Conversely it also means their sacrifices are not acknowledged.

Avila says that “in my country, the fight against the mining industry is led by women community leaders, and there are now attempts to charge them with sabotage and terrorism just for defending their territories … The story is not covered by the media because reporting on women fighting against mining corporations conflicts with the corporate capture of the media.”

The premise of the conversation also highlights a key point: The fact that women are excluded from media conversations about WikiLeaks is another symptom of the endemic problem of social and economic inequality that sidelines women along with many other traditionally marginalized groups – minorities, those in the developing world, the poor. Ideas that appear to be solving problems, like WikiLeaks, need to be proactively inclusive, otherwise they could end up harboring those same inequalities.

Why the AFL’s new format for women’s footy is ‘bastardry’

The suggestion that the AFLW be restricted to a competition of six home-and-away games and two weeks of finals in 2019 (from seven and a Grand Final), despite the addition of two new teams, has, unsurprisingly, provoked a storm of protest.

The new dawn of that magic occasion last year, when they had to turn thousands away from the first AFLW match at Princes Park, suddenly seems very distant.

The AFL misjudged it then, originally scheduling the opener for a training ground, before shifting it to a larger venue. Even then too many came, AFL chief Gillon McLachlan personally apologising to disgruntled fans outside the stadium.

McLachlan was a champion of the women’s game. He was, rightfully, praised for his leadership in getting the competition up and running.

Now he has cast himself as a latter day Petruchio, making the women beg for morsels at his table.

As the players have said, they simply want a fair dinkum competition. This is not difficult. The AFL needs only increase the number of games to nine – allowing every team to play each other once – and two weeks of finals.

Anything less, and the AFL stands accused of the worst tokenism, cynical virtue signalling without substance.

Girls are flocking to the game across Melbourne.

Now the AFL is in danger of telling them that they belong in the corner.