Like poking a wound

I’m a glutton for punishment. Not only did I read the Sam de Brito column on Sunday, and Brian Holden’s anti-women rant yesterday, but today I read Miranda Devine’s piece in the SMH: Nobody died, so why is she demanding a king’s ransom? I know, I must be nuts.

The start is actually quite funny, with gems such as:

Now Abbott is no better than a rapist. What an insult to a family man who is anything but anti-women.

That’s right, Devine thinks Abbott is anything but anti-women. Oh, how I chortled.

It is just this kind of hysterical overreach that is behind the $37 million sexual harassment lawsuit launched against David Jones by its former publicist, Kristy Fraser-Kirk, 27. By claiming that absurd amount, she has lost credibility. The sympathy and respect she earned from her initial dignified and private handling of the case flew out the window. She is no longer seen as a victim but as another litigious, gold-digging, high umbrage woman egged on by lawyers using feminism to advance a personal cause.

Devine is conveniently ignoring the fact she also uses feminism to advance her personal anti-feminist cause. And is “high umbrage woman” another way of saying “high maintenance and without a sense of humour”?

But this is what it boils down to:

Playing up your victimhood rather than getting on with life invariably makes for an unhappy life.

I’m sure women who have been raped, assaulted and harassed will suddenly slap their foreheads and say, ‘of course, if I’d just gotten on with my life instead of reporting the crime, then I wouldn’t be unhappy about the illegal thing that happened to me’.

That is not to say that Mark McInnes, 45, wasn’t a sleaze who got away with much more than he should have in the way of predatory, overbearing behaviour towards female underlings. And that’s not to say the David Jones’ board should not have known of the CEO’s proclivities, even if it didn’t know of specific sexual harassment, as it has said. If even half of what is in Fraser-Kirk’s statement of claim is true, McInnes deserves everything he got.

How very generous of you, Miranda, after that nice spot of victim blaming.

The worst Fraser-Kirk alleges of McInnes would have distressed most women but it should not ruin her life – unless she dwells on it.

Oh, no, back to the victim blaming.

In any case, comments by the designer, Alannah Hill, making light of Fraser-Kirk’s lawsuit, tell you how complicated sexual politics can be today, with some women evidently welcoming McInnes’s passes.

No, it’s not complicated at all. If someone says they’re not interested, then don’t grope them. And don’t keep asking them for sex. How complicated is that? Suggesting that because some women welcomed his advances so therefore he couldn’t sexually harass anyone is like saying that just because someone has had sex once, then they can’t be raped.

[Hill] has since apologised but her remarks demonstrate the divide between the women of Fraser-Kirk’s generation Y who refuse to accept disrespectful behaviour from men and the more laissez-faire attitude of older women.

Hysterical legal hyperbole does not help women of any age. Greedy lawsuits only damage women in the workplace by making male colleagues resentful and wary. In the real world, this is a severe handicap for women making their way on their own merits.

And here we are, back at blaming women for everything.

Yes, $37 million is a fucking shitload of money. But since laws against sexual harassment in the workplace clearly don’t work, and many people in management still don’t take the issue seriously, why not go for the colossal kick in the financial nuts? It might finally work.

21 responses to “Like poking a wound

  1. “Now Abbott is no better than a rapist” – what a fucking idiot. Nobody is suggesting that.

    People are questioning what type of person makes rape jokes while trying to win over women.

    Oh fuck this shit. Honestly.

    I applaud you for your ability to wade through this heaving steaming pile of actual literal bullshit.

    • My ability to wade through this steaming pile of shit is directly related to the size of the pile of academic articles on my desk.

      Why are you following the election campaign? (Boganette is in NZ, for those who don’t know her awesome blog.)

      • I too am a glutton for punishment.

        Well that and I was born in Qld and grew up in Sydney. And my sister still lives there and she rings me half-hourly screaming & hyperventilating down the phone: “YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE WHAT HE DID” etc. She’s paying me back for the calls I made before National got in over here. And well…after National got in too.

        Thanks for calling my blog awesome šŸ™‚

  2. As another NZer with a passing interest in the Aus election, I’m following because a) I have family living in Australia b) this is the first female PM c) I read blogs that refer to it (like yours šŸ™‚ ) d) and relating to c, I like having a world perspective on feminism and women in politics.

  3. It never ceases to amaze me that people think going to court is an easy way to get money. There is nothing on this earth that I would rather do less than take a case like this to court. Also Ms Devine didn’t bother her bum doing any research into legal damages clearly. You can only claim what you can quantify.

  4. Heehee, ‘poking a wound’

  5. Okey dokey I will first say that McInnes is a sleaze for so many different reasons and his victim deserves punitive damages however $37 million is a touch on the ridiculous side. Before I am beheaded let me explain why I say this.
    Firstly aside from the multi billion dollar James Hardies gund set up to compensate thousands of asbestos victims, a compensation claim for asbestos related illness (which are always fatal) was a few hundred thousand dollars. Secondly war widow Breeanna Till whose husband was killed in Afghanistan gets a miserly $300 odd a week. Thirdly I have been blinded in one eye due to my employers negligence and will be lucky to get any money at all.
    Compared to slow painful death, loss of a partner or maiming, getting mauled whilst awful cannot on any objective view be worse, especially not $37 million worse.
    I say go for $3 million and get them to deal down to 2.

    • Like I said, it’s a fucking shitload of money, and way more than people get in compensation cases, but that should be an argument for increasing those payouts.

      I can’t imagine what $37 million even looks like.

      Maybe lawandshoes can fill us in on what she’s likely to get if she wins…

  6. I find 37 million obscene when you consider that loosing an arm in a industrial accident only allows for a paltry sum in compensation.

    • This is where I struggle too. The DJs board wouldn’t give a shit about a couple of million, so she does have to kick them in the financial nuts. But, you’re right, someone who lost a limb at work wouldn’t get nearly as much. But I think that’s an argument for increasing the compo for accidents, rather than criticising this particular case. Because, seriously, something has to change in corporate Australia to get rid of harassment.

  7. Fantastic blog.

    it is my bet the $37 million is purely to get the story on the front page, and keep it there. No one, including the pro bono lawyers, think that money will be awarded; only talked about.

    • Why, thank you Janine (I’m blushing a little). Welcome to the News with Nipples. I think you’re right – the $37m was to get everyone’s attention, so the shareholders and boards will start to demand that companies finally get rid of harassment.

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