A journo friend sent me this link and suggested it was one for NWN: An abusive battlefield for women at ADFA.
Many journos send me stories to blog about because they can’t. They have been silenced by heavy-handed policies that ban them from saying anything negative about their organisation and about their competition. Which means that anyone working for Fairfax or News Ltd can’t critique anything written by anyone else working for Fairfax or News Ltd. It’s something I’ve written about here before (in a post I had legalled yet my editor at the time still tried to bully me into removing it), and also in the NSW Writers’ Centre magazine, Newswrite, about how my job was waved in front of me when I wrote about one of the organisation’s other publications.
This silencing goes on in newsrooms too. In the last place I worked, any attempt to talk about the way we covered stories meant I was Trouble. A Difficult Employee. It meant I’d never get a pay rise, never get a promotion, and was encouraged to leave. Audiences (and journalists) were abandoning – and ridiculing – the publication, yet the editor, Mr Toupee, was not to be questioned. Surely the most obvious question to ask when audiences are laughing at you is: maybe we’re doin’ it wrong?
But I digress.
Back to the ADFA story:
MORE than 70 per cent of female students at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) have experienced some form of sexual harassment, according to a high-level inquiry.
Despite this, the majority of women surveyed by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick were positive about the military academy.
The second sentence sits uneasily with me. Instead of giving more information about that statistic – and that 70 per cent of female cadets are sexually harassed is ridiculously, outrageously high – the journo (Ian McPhedran) moves on to imply that the Broderick review says “hey, women get sexually harassed but it doesn’t bother them so we shouldn’t worry about it”. The information in that second sentence is important, but it shouldn’t be used to dismiss the first sentence.
I’ve had jobs that I’ve enjoyed, even though some dickhead sexually harassed me. The douchecanoe wasn’t someone I worked for or with, just someone in the same company on a different publication, so the two issues were separate. I’m not saying this is the universal experience. But it is tied to what the McPhedran article doesn’t mention – and I don’t know if the Broderick review asked – about whether the harassers a small group of fuckwads or if they are the majority of cadets? If it’s the former, then it’s easier to stop. If it’s the latter, then there’s a cultural problem inside ADFA and also outside ADFA if we are raising loads of people who think this is ok.
And, of course, since the article is about men doing bad things to women, the journalist has used language that removes the men from their actions. Check this out:
The Broderick Inquiry is one of six launched by Defence Minister Stephen Smith in response to the “skype sex scandal” earlier this year when secret film of a female student having sex was shared among male cadets.
There is no mention of the male cadet who made the film. There is no mention of the plan the male cadets made beforehand to film the sex. The film just happened. Possibly as the female cadet was having sex with herself. Oops. I don’t know about you, but that happens to me all the time.
But the true “joy” in this article is in the five comments that some bright spark at dailytelegraph.com.au decided to publish. I hate to think of the ones they didn’t publish:
Ubique1964 of Sydney Posted at 8:16 AM November 03, 2011
LOL is she really serious:- Ms Broderick has made 30 recommendations for cultural change to attract more women into ADFA and the military. They can’t control the woman in the Defence Force now and they want to add more fuel to the fire, look out fellas. Yes that is right, I AM implying that it is not always the blokes fault.
Yep, that’s right, ADFA can’t control the women who are forcing men to sexually harass them. Probably by wearing their army uniforms just a little too tight. And saying hello to fellow cadets. That’s a true sign of a slut who is asking for it.
Dan of Sydney Posted at 9:04 AM November 03, 2011
This sounds like a friday night at any pub in Australia. A storm in a teacup.
Dan of Sydney likes to sexually harass women on Friday nights. My guess is he’s a complete loser with no social skills who gropes women in crowded venues because that’s as close as he’ll ever get to a woman’s body.
Ex Digger of 10 years of Sydney Posted at 10:55 AM November 03, 2011
And if they can’t handle the unwelcome suggestions, I wonder what will happen to their feelings once some insenstive jerk starts firing Ak-47 rounds or an RPG at them! Perhaps they could complaint to the UN about the unwelcome advances made by the bullets and how the enemy should be made to stop such actions against females. And then of course, see a lawyer about compensation… Heaven forbid we should hurt anybodys feelings whilst training them to be unfaltering “leaders” on the battlefield. Nobody likes a soldier until the enemy is at the gate.
Can you imagine having to work with this knob? Being groped by your workmates is just part of the training, and if it hurts your feelings, then you aren’t tough enough.
I judge a news site by the stories they run and by the comments they publish. To be seen as a credible news source, you can publish the stories and comments that add to intelligent/useful discussion, or you can be the dailytelegraph.com.au.