Scientists call for convicted baby killer Kathleen Folbigg to be pardoned, released

Ninety medical and scientific experts are pushing for convicted serial killer Kathleen Folbigg to receive a full pardon, arguing she is not responsible for the deaths of her four infant children.
Folbigg is currently behind bars after she was convicted of the murder of three of her children and the manslaughter of another.

Genomic sequencing has found that two of Folbigg’s daughters, Sarah and Laura, had a genetic mutation, said Australian National University’s Carola Vinuesa.
“The team found a novel variant never before reported in a gene known as CALM2, which encodes for calmodulin,” Professor Vinuesa said.
“Calmodulin mutations typically are associated with cardiac arrhythmia that can cause sudden unexpected death in children and adults both while awake and asleep.”

The scientists also found Folbigg’s two boys also had a genetic mutation which has been shown to cause epilepsy in mice.
There was no physical evidence indicating she murdered the babies, but prosecutors pointed to a series of ominous diary entries.

Source: Scientists call for convicted baby killer Kathleen Folbigg to be pardoned, released

Women are (rightly) angry. Now they need a plan

If the lessons of second wave feminism are any guide, Australian women now need to not only get angry, they need to get organised.

In the 1980s, government policy was routinely audited for its impact on women. But in the 1990s, feminist policy “machinery” was steadily dismantled.

Today’s Office for Women has a tiny staff and a low profile. It was not consulted on any of the major COVID-related policy shifts, like JobKeeper or changes to superannuation.

If our parliament is full of men who ignore, belittle and disrespect women, and women who enable these men, it is because we, the voters, have put them there. But we can also vote them out.

A women’s candidate survey, ready to roll out at the next federal election, is just one strategy from the women’s movement of the 1970s that might be worth reviving today. Women need to maintain their rage, but they need to turn it into political action, too.

Source: Women are (rightly) angry. Now they need a plan

The People Haven’t Risen Up For The Same Reason Abuse Victims Don’t Leave Their Abusers – Caitlin Johnstone

This is what so few people understand about abusive relationships. People see friends and family members stuck in relationships that are obviously horrible and say “She should leave him! Why doesn’t she just leave??” If the abuse happened in secret the first question your loved ones ask when you escape is “Why did you let it go on so long? Why didn’t you leave sooner?”

Abusive relationships aren’t just one partner doing cruel things to another. If they were, there would be no relationship: there’d just be a woman getting assaulted one time by her boyfriend and then immediately leaving. Abusive relationships necessarily include the construction of psychological barriers to leaving, or else they would not exist. Victims of abuse are kept constantly confused, off-balance, insecure and unsure of themselves, because their abuse always necessarily includes the element of psychological manipulation.

This is why people stay in abusive relationships, whether it’s abusive relationships with significant others or abusive relationships with empires.

Vast fortunes are poured into keeping us from realizing that we are being exploited by powerful wealth hoarders while our nation’s resources are sent to fight wars of planetary domination. That our ecosystem is being destroyed for profit with no real plan for what to do when it’s gone. That we are being increasingly oppressed and impoverished to keep us from having enough awareness and wealth to dethrone our rulers. And that it doesn’t have to be this way at all.

Source: The People Haven’t Risen Up For The Same Reason Abuse Victims Don’t Leave Their Abusers – Caitlin Johnstone

A Morrison government minister has been accused of rape in a letter sent to the Prime Minister | The New Daily

A rape allegation against one of Scott Morrison’s own Cabinet Ministers has been referred to federal police after a letter was sent to the Prime Minister detailing the allegations.

The alleged sexual assault dates to 1988, before the unnamed senior minister entered politics.

The victim, who was 16 at the time of the alleged crime, took her own life last year.

The letter came with a detailed statement prepared by the complainant for her lawyer and was shared with the ABC’s Four Corners program by a friend of the alleged victim.

Ms Hanson-Young said the information she had received regarded a “disturbing and a very serious allegation of a criminal nature against a senior member of the government”.

Senator Wong said it was her understanding the complainant, who was 16 at the time of the alleged attack in Sydney, reported the assault to NSW Police and South Australia Police.

Source: A Morrison government minister has been accused of rape in a letter sent to the Prime Minister | The New Daily

Madonna King: Our schoolkids aren’t immune to sexual assault – they need our help most | The New Daily

For years, schools have been silently dealing with a tricky and vile problem: Counselling sessions, often on Monday, with girls aged as young as 13, who are traumatised from sexual assault.

But in our own “me too’’ moment, and lifted by the courage of Brittany Higgins, school girls across Australia this week are speaking up to tell their own awful stories of being raped by peers while drunk at parties.

Former Sydney school student Chanel Contos is gathering the stories, and claims to now have hundreds and hundreds of sexual assault allegations.

Most of those are levelled at students of all-boy schools in Australia, but include some boys admitting their wrongdoing.

Dr Briony Scott, from Sydney’s Wenona School, highlighted that this week, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald that “the extent of peer-on-peer assault in this country and the number of sexual assaults against adolescents, within any community, is breathtaking’’.

No school principal is shocked by the rising number of allegations; they deal weekly with the trauma and heartache and shame some girls struggle with, after an encounter they can barely bring themselves to talk about.

Source: Madonna King: Our schoolkids aren’t immune to sexual assault – they need our help most | The New Daily

Review ordered over Qld woman’s fire death | Port Macquarie News | Port Macquarie, NSW

Fearing for her safety, the 49-year-old grandmother had moved into a gated community at Logan, south of Brisbane. She made sure it had good security including 24-hour cameras.

On February 9, she took out a temporary protection order against ex-partner Gary Hely.

Neighbours have told The Courier-Mail that Ms Langham went to police “daily” with security footage and told them of four occasions when Mr Hely had breached that order in the space of a week.

About 9pm on Sunday, she made her final request for help – a triple-zero call to report a disturbance outside her townhouse.

Police did go to Ms Langham’s home, but not until after midnight. They could not determine if Ms Langham was there and left.

By 4am on Monday they were back, when the property was engulfed in flames in a fire police believe was deliberately lit.

“Despite what we’ve learned and seen in other instances such as Tara Brown and Hannah Clarke and her children, here we are again. A person who is a victim of violence has needed to be protected, and we have not been able to protect her.

“We are not satisfied with that, and we will be relentless in trying to find out what has happened.”

When asked what else Ms Langham might have done to protect herself, Mr Gollschewski said: “I don’t know what more Doreen could have done.”

Police are yet to formally identify the bodies found inside the blackened Browns Plains home. Autopsy results are still pending.

Source: Review ordered over Qld woman’s fire death | Port Macquarie News | Port Macquarie, NSW

Production and distribution of child sexual abuse material by parental figures | Australian Institute of Criminology

Child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is widely available online. Existing research indicates that the parents and parental figures of victims are notably represented in offender populations. However, there is limited research in this area. Drawing on Australian media and legal databases, this study created a database of 82 cases of CSAM production and distribution perpetrated by parents and/or parental figures from 2009 to 2019. The study found that perpetrators are most often the male parental figures of the victims, and victims are predominately girls under nine years of age. The findings reveal distinct patterns and scenarios of parental CSAM offending that may inform prevention, early intervention and improved responses to victims. The study documented the significant impact of parental CSAM offending on victims and the need for specialist victim support.

Source: Production and distribution of child sexual abuse material by parental figures | Australian Institute of Criminology

ANU gender-neutral language rules, gestational parent, chestfeeding

Australia’s leading university has encouraged staff to use “parent-inclusive language”, such as “chestfeeding” instead of “breastfeeding” and “human milk” rather than “mother’s milk”.

Similarly, the terms “mother” and “father” should be replaced with “gestational” and “nongestational” parent, according to the Australian National University’s Gender-Inclusive Handbook.

Source: ANU gender-neutral language rules, gestational parent, chestfeeding