The recent treatment of female MPs who bravely made a stand against sexual violence in the New Zealand parliament has caught the attention of the world’s media.
The UK’s Daily Mail wrote:
Women have stood up one after another to reveal their stories of sexual violence before being forced to be quiet and leave New Zealand parliament. When the women MPs continued, Speaker David Carter ruled their personal stories of sexual violence out of order, turning their microphones off and ejecting them from the Chamber.
Many of those opposition Labour and Green MPs that weren’t ejected on Wednesday then staged a walkout in protest. The women MPs stood to make points of order and demand an apology from New Zealand Prime Minister John Key for remarks made on Tuesday.
‘As the victim of a sexual assault, I take personal offence at the Prime Minister’s comments, and ask that you require him to withdraw and apologise,’ Green party co-leader Metiria Tureia said.
Green MP Jan Logie and Labour MP Poto Williams then made similar statements, but were asked to sit down.
The Speaker then allowed Green Catherine Delahunty to speak ‘on the assurance that it’s a fresh point of order’. Instead, she said defiantly, ‘as a victim of sexual assault’, before the Speaker interrupted her. ‘I take personal offence and would like a personal explanation from the Prime Minister,’ Ms Delahunty continued as her microphone was switched off.
When Labour’s Nanaia Mahuta continued in the same way, Speaker Carter said: ‘I now will require any member who takes a point of order along the same lines to immediately leave the chamber.’ Many did just that, but it didn’t end there…
More female MPs left the chamber, including Marama Davidson, Clare Curran and Megan Woods.
New Zealanders often portray their country as a great place to be a woman. Many Kiwis even believe their country was the first to “give women the vote” and use that as an example of the high regard they have for women in their society. But the sad reality is that sexual violence is “rampant” in New Zealand, there is a ‘blame the victim’ culture, and the country has the highest rate of domestic violence in the OECD.
Explaining their decision to walk out, Ms Delahunty said: ‘We’ve walked out because every woman in this country needs to know that women parliamentarians will not put up with this.’ ‘The Speaker today threw out women from the House of Representatives for standing up and saying they were victims of sexual violence. What message does that send to young women?’ Ms Curran said.
Exactly, young female victims of sexual abuse know only too well that raising sexual assaults complaints never ends well for them. Take the two ‘Roast busters’ incidents as an example of how seriously they’re regarded by the criminal justice system.
Mr Key has refused point-blank to apologise for his comments, and has been supported by the male speaker of the NZ parliament who ‘didn’t hear his remarks’
Mt Key recently attracted international attention for harassing a young female waitress by repeatedly pulling her hair which was usually worn in a pony tail. The young woman refuted Key’s assertion that he’d given her a bottle of wine and she’d told him everything was ok.
Click below to watch the video on You Tube.
Key: “It sucks but it is what it is”
Readers may remember sexual assault survivor Tania Billingsley who was attacked by a Malaysian national Muhammed Rizalman Bin Ismail (above) in NZ as he burgled her home.
Tania’s complaint was ‘botched’ and her attacker allowed to leave the country, despite news reports that Malaysia was willing to waive diplomatic immunity so he could be tried in New Zealand. However, a New Zealand official told them it would be ok for him to be tried in his home country.
Tania went public and waived her right to anonymity when she saw how Mr Key answered questions from the media on the story…
“I just remember the first, the very first thing I watched on it, and just seeing him looking bored and annoyed at having to be talking about it and just saying there’s nothing that we can do pretty much. ‘Oh it sucks but it is what it is.’
“And that’s what I was getting. I don’t feel from him any sincerity in his concern for me.”
‘SEXUAL VIOLENCE RAMPANT IN OUR SOCIETY’
Billingsley believed the trauma she experienced had become a ”backdrop” to political drama ”instead of a really real and traumatic experience”.
In an essay released on the 3rd Degree website, Billingsley spoke at length about her opinion of New Zealand society’s reaction to sexual assaults as seen through the reaction of politicians to her case.
She believes New Zealand’s attitudes towards sexual violence needed to change.
“I would like to put a personal challenge to the Government,” she said. “The fact that sexual violence is still so rampant in our society is proof in itself that you are not doing enough.”
She said it was easy “to do a McCully” and avoid responsibility for the problem but “sexual violence is present in all parts of our society and therefore needs to be addressed by all parts of the Government. There have been recent actions towards addressing this but it is not enough.”
Police said they did not oppose Billingsley’s application for her name to be made public, ”as we wanted to support [her] wishes”.
— Idiot/Savant (@norightturnnz) November 11, 2015