In more recent times, coercive control has been exposed as one of the more insidious abusive tactics employed by intimate terrorists. Survivors often refer to this kind of psychological abuse as ‘the worst part’ of an abusive relationship, and to some extent I agree. As a result of increasing awareness in this space, Australia’s attention has turned to the issue of whether to create specific criminal offences targeting these behaviours. This is not unprecedented – international jurisdictions like England, Scotland and Wales have had similar laws in place for some time.
Despite my desire for domestic abusers to be held accountable for the psychological torture they inflict upon their victims, I remain intensely ambivalent about the criminalisation of coercive control.Many Australian women are already criminalised for fighting back against abuse and I’m keen to ensure that we don’t create another arena wherein the law can be weaponised by perpetrators to further marginalise and punish genuine victims of domestic abuse.
The economic and personal cost of engagement in lengthy litigation as a victim or respondent is not insignificant, regardless of the jurisdiction. I cannot begin to count how many days of my post-separation life have been spent writing affidavits, reading court materials, attending appointments with police and lawyers, showing up to court and generally stressing about being embroiled in a legal proceeding. This represents significant time that I have had to take off work, but more importantly it was time when I was emotionally less available to my children, who also suffer when their parents are at legal loggerheads. This cannot be underestimated or ignored in our quest for a ‘just’ outcome.
For years, anthropologists and evolutionary biologists have struggled to explain the existence of menopause, a life stage that humans do not share with our primate relatives. Why would it be beneficial for females to stop being able to have children with decades still left to live?
According to a study published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the answer is grandmothers. “Grandmothering was the initial step toward making us who we are,” says senior author Kristen Hawkes, an anthropologist at the University of Utah. In 1997 Hawkes proposed the “grandmother hypothesis,” a theory that explains menopause by citing the under-appreciated evolutionary value of grandmothering. Hawkes says that grandmothering helped us to develop “a whole array of social capacities that are then the foundation for the evolution of other distinctly human traits, including pair bonding, bigger brains, learning new skills and our tendency for cooperation.”
AU — New South Wales. A serial killer who photographed himself wearing the dress of the fiancée he had just bludgeoned to death is due for release into society. The killer, who began referring to himself in the feminine during his prison stay, is expecting to receive taxpayer-funded gender-affirming plastic surgery following release.Reginald Arthurell has served 23 years of the 24-year sentence he was handed after murdering 54-year-old Venet Raylee Mulhall in 1995.Mr Arthurell was an inmate with two manslaughter convictions on his record when, through letters, he charmed Ms Mulhall, a devout Christian serving in the Prison Fellowship. The convict was baptized in prison after claiming he had found God due to Ms Mulhall’s influence. A divorced mother of four, Ms Mulhall was five years Mr Arthurell’s senior, with a face left permanently paralyzed and disfigured by an operation to remove a brain tumor. She helped Mr Arthurell secure parole, agreeing to have him released into her care.
[T]he proceedings of the Court were based on a history of illegal prescription and administration of sex hormones to an underage youth, for reasons that were not validated by international practice. It might be expected that such illegality would have been examined by the Court, but it was not. It was passed over: stated reasons were accepted without question and the father was virtually commended for his vigilance.
The father, however, had a long history of domestic violence, and the poor youth, Imogen, and her sister, had existed in turmoil, descending into mental illness. The psychiatrist for the mother who opposed the administration of cross-sex hormones maintained gender confusion was but a symptom that had emerged from a panoply of prior psychiatric disease. He advocated a year of psychotherapy. Despite there being no childhood indications, the father’s psychiatrist argued for the primacy of gender dysphoria. Justice Watts aligned with the argument for hormonal transgendering. In the process, his rejection of the ideas of the mother’s psychiatrist became more ad hominen.
Strangely, it does not appear the Court wondered at the influence of the father over his natal son. Sigmund Freud might have asked if conflict had been avoided by the natal son’s adoption of the opposite sex. The possibility that psychotherapy which might have explored and ameliorated such tensions has, however, been precluded by Justice Watt’s preference for hormonal action.
The LGBTQ+ movement around the world is pushing women’s needs aside to make way for men’s demands: the demand for surrogacy, the demand to legitimize the right to buy sex from prostituted women, and the demand that men who identify as women be allowed to enter all women’s spaces.
What once started as a fight for justice for lesbians and gay men has become a movement that erases same-sex attraction as a sexual orientation. The few lesbians who dare state that being lesbian is a sexual orientation based on sex, not gender identity, are accused of being exclusionary, hateful, prejudiced, and of making the lives of men who identify as women difficult.
But lesbian teens are, as other teens, looking for a sense of belonging — a group that they can relate to. We have clubs for people who collect stamps, saunas for gay men, but no clubs for lesbians.
I’m a lesbian tomboy who grew up in an age where the concept of being “born in the wrong body” didn’t exist. If I were a child today, I wouldn’t have stood a chance against trans activism. I can’t bear to think what might have happened if I had been assessed at The Karolinska University Hospital, which hosts Sweden’s largest gender identity clinic, or the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.
The picture that emerges is something much more complex than the familiar narrative of ‘born in the wrong body’. None of these girls appeared to be trans until their teenage years. Some are lesbians – but as one young woman explains to Shrier, being a lesbian is ‘just not very cool… it’s a porn category’, whereas being trans is celebrated. Others have eating disorders or issues with self-harm: for them, taking male hormones and having surgery to remove their breasts seems like another way to attack the body.
Shrier argues that this is being driven by social contagion. Trans identification spreads through schools, through friendship groups, through ‘influencer’ videos that offer a rose-tinted take on transition. But the medical pathway is not something to be taken lightly. Hormone treatments lead to lifelong infertility alongside other health problems. What’s euphemistically called ‘top surgery’ is actually an elective double mastectomy, while ‘bottom surgery’ to masculinise genitals is rarely undertaken and subject to heinous complications.
The American Journal of Psychiatry has issued a major correction to a recent study. The Bränström study reanalysis demonstrated that neither “gender-affirming hormone treatment” nor “gender-affirming surgery” reduced the need of transgender-identifying people for mental health services. Fad medicine is bad medicine, and gender-anxious people deserve better.
A major correction has been issued by the American Journal of Psychiatry. The authors and editors of an October 2019 study, titled “Reduction in mental health treatment utilization among transgender individuals after gender-affirming surgeries: a total population study,” have retracted its primary conclusion. Letters to the editor by twelve authors, including ourselves, led to a reanalysis of the data and a corrected conclusion stating that in fact the data showed no improvement after surgical treatment.
The New Zealand law commission found there was some value in giving the decision-making function to a professional body rather than a jury and recommended including the model as part of the specialist sexual offences court in future.
The Victorian commission’s research revealed two areas of concern around jurors that sit on sexual offence trials. For one thing, often jurors will bring their own attitudes into the courtroom, including common misconceptions around sexual harm. Some studies suggested that jurors are more influenced by their own attitudes over the evidence.
“Another concern is that the presence of a jury may be harmful for complainants,” said the commission, adding: “It can be difficult to give evidence in front of a group of people and especially in small communities where complainants and jurors might cross paths. The need to persuade a jury may also lead to more intense questioning than needed.”
Interview with Charmaigne Weldon
My own experiences of domestic and family violence have given me a profound insight into how the direct harm of this violence can be compounded by later interventions, such as the removal of children from their communities. . . .
While many within government agencies may believe that sharing information about clients at risk may help to prevent domestic and family violence, this poses its own risks. In order to gain the trust of Aboriginal women and their families, maintaining and communicating respect for privacy are of fundamental importance. Without that trust, many domestic and family violence offences will go unreported. It is essential too that a WDVCAS operates as an autonomous women’s service of high integrity and not just as a handmaid to the police and other government agencies. . . .
High ethical standards, an understanding of our history, and sensitivity to our cultural protocols are profoundly important when working with Aboriginal women and gaining their trust; as is an awareness of their experience of repeated betrayals by white authorities. Closing the gap will first require breaking down problematic attitudes that currently discourage our women from engaging with services that could otherwise support positive changes in their family lives. . . .
As the recent protests have made clear, it is time the Australian Government explored other criminal justice models, such as the women’s police stations in South America and the less punitive Scandinavian prison systems which focus on restorative justice, for alternatives which do not destroy Aboriginal communities. To win the trust of Aboriginal women, services must acknowledge the wrongs of the past and show a commitment not to repeat them.