NZ Herald is shite: Marama Davidson responds to the Bob Jones article



I have gone for jogs at night on my own, where I like. I walk at night, on my own, where I like. I have kayaked at night, alone. I have swum at night in the ocean, alone. I have done these things since I was a teenager. One night as a very young woman when we lived in Clendon, South Auckland, I was going for a run from our house. A police car pulled up beside me and cautioned me that it was night time and I should not be out alone ‘in this place’ and offered to take me home. I told them ‘it’s okay my house is just here’ and ran up the driveway. I waited until the police car had driven off before I left that driveway that of course was not mine. I wanted to complete the rest of my run.

I am a rape victim waiting to happen according to Bob Jones.

Well we know that is bullshit. Let us get the painfully obvious out of the way.

Men. You should not rape.

Women. Just be.

And lots more intelligent stuff about how rape also happens in the home, how rape culture is perpetuated every day in too many ways including that it is the fault of women, how it goes mostly unreported and how for our communities to be strong and healthy we ALL need to take this issue seriously.

Okay. So with that out of the way – New Zealand Herald you piece of shite! 

Do any of you have mothers? Because you just threw her under the bus by paying any attention to the dithery, foolish, revolting opinions of a sexist out of touch old man.

Surely you understood when you read Jones’ piece that he was drunk off his arse laughing at us all when he wrote this? Or did you have a fantasy dream that you had turned into The Civilian and are now in the business of taking the piss?

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I know I know. Your readership flew through the roof with the outrage. I am that naïve that I cannot comprehend how you sleep at night if this is your sensationalist goal: to publish a despicable, ill-informed, unbalanced piece of nonsense writing that further perpetuates rape culture! Well I wasn’t one of those upping the statistics. I have not posted your link anywhere. I have instead read this re-write from Nat Dudley that leaves the original article intact but runs a bus through it at the same time. This saves us all from going anywhere near the despicable Herald piece itself.

Let me now put this blog into some context. I am sitting in my lounge trying to write this and I cannot see my floor for the chaotic mess. We are in school holidays and I have my three young children plus niece and nephew here – that’s five kids hanging off me while I try and engage in some sort of coherent debate on the issues. One of those kids is currently goobying my ear with kisses. Two of them are having a punch-up outside. Two want to be fed. Damn it kids! Can you not see I am trying to have a feckin opinion in an adult world here!

My voice will not be given privilege on this issue like the voice of dithery uncle Bob. I need all of YOU to help do that please. I am an under 40 year old Māori mother of six children who is not in paid employment and I have limited means. Dithery Bob – is not. Someone do a count up of how many times the piece of shite New Zealand Herald has given platform to the likes of me please. And then do a count up of how many times we have been subjected to ill-informed and harmful rants of rich old conservative white men.

Yep, I totally just said that.

So surrounded by these beautiful children that I am blessed with, in my house that I am thankful for, and wrapped up in a gift of a life that makes me spiritually wealthy – I squeeze out a space to have to respond to the travesty that is our mainstream media. Is it any wonder, that the voices that are too often missing are the ones that we most need to hear if we want our beautiful Aotearoa to stand up and be proud of who we are?

This is all complete head and heart writing today. I have no time to research any statistics. I have no time to go back and properly read Catriona MacLennan’s piece that Jones responded to. I have no time to canvass the media in any depth for what else has been written since the dithery uncle foolishly opened up his trap. But it does not matter because I can fart out more sense than Bob Jones. Privilege folks, privilege. I am asking us collectively to think about who are the voices that are privileged, and who are the idiots that amplify them. Help those other lesser heard voices please and trample on the privilege. This is the message that I am neglecting my children for today.

The New Zealand Herald is a waste of you, Aotearoa. Do not read them, read me instead. 

Okay, coming kids……….


  1. Well said Marama. too many old, fuddy duddy bigots. Alot of enlightened ones too, but its the Bob Jones of this world that actually let the human race down. Keep strong and keep fighting the fight.

  2. as a friend of male abuse victims (at the hands of a female) I dare correct your small point (that would entirely escape the mainstream too) that women are actually capable of abuse and rape.

    I know this is a sideline to your article, but it just occurred to me with the “women: just be” line.

    Women AND men: be respectful to each other, and jog/ride/kayak where you want. 🙂

    Aside from that this is a fantastic, well-timed, well-written and very satisfying article to read. Keep doing what you’re doing.

    • Thank you for your kind criticism and support. I totally agree. In my whole advocacy I talk about mana tane being integral to mana whanau. I wasn’t so much ignoring that point as I was assuming it.

      And may we all keep fighting! 🙂

    • Aē tika. Part of rape culture, and the system of inter-connected oppressions in general, is the promotion of violence and sexual violence as a means to gain or maintain power over others. Sometimes it’s a member of an, overall, oppressed class who takes advantage of that, so you see women supporting sexism, POC supporting racism, gay people supporting homophobia – and all those small government politicians who come from poor families, used welfare to succeed in life, and now want to deny it to others. (And I do believe that the construction of poverty on a mass scale is a form of violence.) Unfortunately male victims of female rapists receive more ridicule than support because of our current conceptions of masculinity as inherently strong and powerful and femininity as weak and emotional and women as sexual gatekeepers rather than active participants. We need to break this shit down for everyone’s benefit.

  3. Thank you so much for this response, Marama. We are all so lucky to have a wahine toa like yourself who can respond with such coherence, passion and reality to the privileged bigotry of Bob Jones and those like him.

  4. Nothing new from the vile old Bob. That’s the same old fart who told the radio host that instead of giving them money, he’d like to punch every beggar in the face.
    I hope he dies alone, surrounded by his millions and nothing else. 🙂

  5. Great article. I also used to walk around at all hours when a teenager in Porirua East of all places *gasp*. Inside the 4 walls of my own house was where the real danger lay.

    Did anyone hear 9 to noon today with Robert Lithgow? Another rich, white, man minimising abuse (I think he was asking whether it was cost effective/going to reduce harm to prosecute old men for abuse decades ago) and arguing semanics (“willing participant” is accurate irregardless of whether that is the result of grooming). I need someone more articulate than me to analyse what he said.

    • Great article. I also used to walk around at all hours when a teenager in Porirua East of all places *gasp*. Inside the 4 walls of my own house was where the real danger lay.

      I’d wager that most people are safer at home than alone at 2am on an unlit street in a dodgy part of town.

      • @Tom – Except for those who have to live with their abusers and in the case of most children who are victims of abuse, alone at 2am away from home is safer. What horrors can the street inflict that they don’t face at home?

        As a woman who walked home from a train station at midnight thru a not so great neighbourhood every evening after work I too would be considered as “asking for it” according to Bob. The way I looked at it I was providing for my family in the best paid work I could get (security) and using the form of transport available. If the worst had happened to me it wouldn’t have been cause I asked for it ..but because some piece of scum had decided to attack me. Though if police had offered me a lift I would have taken it but that’s cause I’m too lazy to want the walk.

        • It’s like you aren’t even listening. Stop giving abnormal examples as if they were normal. Most people don’t have to worry about that.

          If you want to take stupid risks, be my guest. The world is not a fair and reasonable place. Evil people exist, and they aren’t going to stop being evil because we give them moral lectures. Being a victim of a crime is not morally ennobling.

          There are many things people can do to reduce their risk of being victims of crime. Only a fool doesn’t do as much as they can.

          • Not “abnormal” at all, Tom. Most rapes and child abuse are conducted in the survivors own home by people they know. For women and child, their own home can be the most dangerous place of all.

            “There are many things people can do to reduce their risk of being victims of crime. ”

            So… if we use this logic, I shouldn’t have a car or plasma TV – it might be stolen.

            I shouldn’t carry money on me – my pocket might be picked.

            I shouldn’t go out at night – I might be assaulted by a drunk “reveller” in Courtney Place…

            Is that how we’re supposed to live?

            Or just women?

      • Well considering 1 in 4 women are abused, mainly by someone they know, I dispute your assumption. It’s a risk thing. I wonder if 25% of people walking in a dodgy part of town get attacked, even if they do it every day.

          • Yes, thanks, I am familiar with statistical probability. I can count to 20 without taking my shoes off, too.

            However, I also know the number of people who live in abusive environments is larger than some people want to admit.

          • Tom, are you aware of stats that show that young males are more prone to violence in public than women?

            Yup, true.

            Men get blind drunk and more willing to get into dangerous situations where violence results.

            Women do tend to be more cautious.

            So… by your logic, all us blokes should be off the streets by nightfall?

  6. Hi Marama… Beautifully written – and I really get the writing with kidlets hanging off you 😉 I have taken on Bob Jones, via a horrid column he wrote about fat people. A sad scene he is – I imagine it is a lonely place inside his head. Andrew.

  7. Well we know that is bullshit.

    Really? When I was a teenage boy, I was pretty wary of walking around alone at night due to the number of gangs of youths looking to feel tough by beating up someone on their own.

    Perhaps you lived in a nicer neighbourhood than me.

    How awful for the police to be solicitous of the welfare of vulnerable people. This must stop.

    • And if you had been beaten up everybody would have blamed the attackers, not gone on about what you were wearing and didn’t you know you were asking for it by going out by yourself.

      • Although it’s unseemly to harangue the victim of a violent crime, it’s still stupid to go walking the streets at all house.

        • I used to walk the streets of Dunedin by myself at night all the time, and only once did I ever encounter any trouble at all.

          You do know crime rates are dropping, right?

  8. @ Chris Miller . Yes , I agree . Poverty is a form of violence . Particularly when poverty is used as a weapon of mass self destruction to control and subjugate .
    paula bennett knows this . Her policies will create many and varied rapists and violent sociopathic criminals generally . bob jones would know about that . He is one . A bully who was once quick with his fists . anne tolly and judith collins knows how that works and she has corporations waiting to profit from that by building and administrating private prisons . hekia parata helps that process along by under funding and closing schools . She’s shepherding tomorrows dysfunctional into the cruel talons of bennett , tolly and collins . Better get Insurances aye . Then borrow millions to live inside a gated community where you can jog and run and swim in safety , away from the collateral damage that are the monsters spawned from 30 years of neoliberalism .
    I’m sorry you had to take time out to write your Post Marama Davidson but thank you for that . What you write about needs to be written . And it’s not a man/woman thing . It’s a monster thing .

    • That’s assuming they’re capable of feeling shame and remorse. The evidence suggests that they aren’t. It reminds of the time they ran Holmes’ vile Waitangi Day column. The same cycle happened: the editors ignored the criticism. When it became overwhelming they then entered the fray – and defended Holmes and the piece. The editors are apologists (hell, even advocates) of bigotry. The good writers at the Herald (and there are many) must feel sick having to share a platform with Jones.

  9. As a fair warning, I am a university student, so feel free to disregard what I’m about to say:

    But I feel like the point you made, Marama, about the Herald probably only publishing Jones any longer is to increase readership, is very important.

    In one tutorial we were discussing an article written by Bob Jones on obesity and people who are generally over weight. One person made the statement, “Everybody has a right to an opinion, and we are a free country. It’s not fair to say things like he shouldn’t be published.”

    I don’t think anybody cares what Bob Jones personally thinks. It’s not important what Bob Jones personally thinks and whether he’s only saying these things to get a rise or whether he genuinely believe the crap coming out of his mouth. He’s not our PM or an influential MP.

    It’s the fact that these kind of stories are out there and encouraging a society to exclude those who don’t fit inside (sometimes literally) the norm and punish those who are truly victims. Forget the name behind the article – it’s the fact that mainstream media is encouraging a world where women cannot walk without a man by her side to protect her and aren’t allowed to leave the house after dark!

    • It’s also about balance. When newspapers deign to publish opinion pieces by lefty or greeny activists (known in the trade as “op-eds”), they always find an opposing view to print on the opposite page. Where in the Herald was the op-ed pointing out (as Marama does here, and Catherine Woulfe on Stuff that Aotearoa is not ruled by the Taliban, that women are free to go where they want, when they want, wearing what they want. That in the unlikely event a woman gets raped by a stranger on a dark street, it’s not her fault for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, it’s the rapist’s fault. That statistically a women is much more likely to be raped by someone she knows, probably in her home or theirs:

      It doesn’t help though, that even rape prevention groups, on the very same page when they point out that women are generally raped by someone they know, advise them to “travel with a buddy or in groups” and avoid “isolated places”:

      Clearly the projection of rape onto the excluded “other”, hiding in the shadow, is a strongly entrenched cultural habit. Go the SlutWalk!

  10. I tautoko you Marama. Your blog makes more sense then the rantings of some hateful old bigot. He blames the victims. I wonder how many victims he has left in his wake? We wahine have the right to go wherever we like, whenever we like. We do not need permission.

  11. I absolutely agree that we should be free to walk where we want, when we want, without threat to our well being, or people accusing us of “asking for it”. Sadly that’s not the current reality of our society. When we go to work, we lock the house, when we go to the shops, we lock the car, and hide anything of value. Because the sad reality is that there are people out there who can’t be trusted. Really, shouldn’t we be treating our selves with at least the same level of care and respect we treat our possessions?

    • You are missing the point. What happened to these Germans girl, and to the survivors of the Parnell Panther, are the exception. The majority of the roughly 1 in 4 NZ women who are sexually abused are attacked by someone they know, in a familiar place, *not* by a stranger, in a dimly lit park. Statistically speaking they are safer hanging out in the park alone. This is the true tragedy, and one which Jones’ comments ignore, as do yours.

      BTW I’ve lived for years in houses where we never locked the door, and I know people who never lock their cars. Getting burgled, or having your car stolen, is bad luck, and implying people deserve it if they haven’t hired private security, armed the alarms, and loaded the automated gattling guns, is also victim-blaming.

      • Getting burgled, or having your car stolen, is bad luck…

        …or getting raped? Not really. Getting struck by lightning is bad luck – crimes involve criminal intent, not random chance.

      • You’re wrong. It doesn’t matter if people are more likely to be victimised in their own homes. The distinction is between avoidable and unavoidable risks. That we cannot do anything about the latter is no reason not to do anything about the former. Only a fool thinks otherwise.

        You also don’t understand that there are different sorts of blame, which track independently of each other.

        Everyone in this thread needs to do a course in probability and risk assessment (or pay attention whilst doing one). Most of you are simply talking nonsense.

        These discussions are inevitably full of derp because people lack the basic conceptual distinctions to make sense of them.

        • For a lot of women, walking alone at night, sometimes in “bad” areas or through unlit spaces, is not an avoidable risk. They have to work. They have to get home from work. Not everyone can afford to drive or take a taxi and sometimes there’s a “dangerous” place between your house and your job, or your house might be IN a “dangerous” place. The vast majority of the times I’ve walked alone at night were when I finished work at midnight on a Saturday and had to walk home through Hagley Park. Do you realise how far out of the way you have to go to avoid Hagley Park? It’s huge, and after working a long shift and wanting to get home to bed because you start work again in the morning, adding that much distance to your trip is ridiculous. It’s so much easier to just look around you while you’re in the park and keep an eye out for anyone acting suspiciously (which I never once saw), and maybe hold your keys or keep a grip on your bag so you can swing it easily as a weapon. Or call someone on your cellphone so you’re talking to them the whole way through the park and they hear if anything happens. Same thing with a later job where I had to walk because I started before the buses were running and there were even reports at the time of a guy attempting to attack people – I didn’t have any choice, so I kept an eye out and carried a can of spray deodorant, but the fact that the police had had SEVEN reports and he’d failed every single time shows that people walking alone are hardly defenseless. People are far more on guard walking through places like that, they are faster to react and have less hesitation about trusting their gut and fighting back. It’s simply not the same thing as leaving an inanimate object unlocked.

    • What does that mean in reality though. My family had no car and we certainly couldn’t afford taxis regularly. When I was a teenager to stay in after dark would have meant never leaving the house after 6pm in winter. Should women really have to restrict their lives in such a way? I don’t think so. And as mentioned in my previous comment and by others the statistics actually show the highest risk, by miles, is from men you know.

    • When someone tries to steal your car, your car doesn’t struggle and protest and fight back. (Note that not all rape victims do either, depending on context and history and how they react to danger and all sorts of things.) Because your car? Not a fucking person. The reason you yourself say that you lock your door only when you go out is because there isn’t a PERSON there. If there’s a person there, not only is a crime psychologically harder to commit because you have to acknowledge that a person is being victimised, but it becomes more dangerous to attempt at all, because a person can wield a weapon, and fight back, and identify you, and call the police before you’ve had time to clear off, and possibly get hold of DNA evidence by scratching you or making you bleed, or injure you enough that you’ll need medical treatment that can be matched up to their account of what happened.

      Locking the door is a paltry substitute to having someone at home to guard the house. Women’s bodies, however, are ALWAYS GUARDED*. Raping a stranger by force in a dark park is dangerous as hell if you want to actually get away with it. That’s why so few rapes go down that way. Some still do, of course, but it’s not anything LIKE the number that go down starting in bars, at restaurants, at a friend’s house, on a date, in your own house, in the rapist’s house, at work, at school. There is absolutely no reason a woman shouldn’t be able to walk through a park at night and expect to be completely fine, because if something happens, she can react to it, no matter how low her neckline, how high her hemline, or how high her heels. (In fact, high heels might be a bit of a boon there.) If we’re going to insist women be risk averse to that degree, there is literally nothing women can do, not even exist.

      *Possible exception – managing to drug a woman with drugs and/or alcohol to the point where she is unable to respond effectively. Which, by the way, is almost non-existent as a tactic in stereotypical stranger-in-a-dark-park rapes but shockingly popular with all the hanging-out-with-a-friend-or-acquaintance ones.

      • If we’re going to insist women be risk averse to that degree, there is literally nothing women can do, not even exist.


        Intelligent people try to reduce their risk of being victims of crime. Indifference to risk is the mark of a cretin. Of course we can’t completely insulate ourselves against all crimes, but that doesn’t entail that we should take any and all risks.

    • One factor that has not had a mention is the idolisation by mainly men, but some women too, of the importance placed by so many on competitive rugby and league with half a dozen minor sports also euphemised as ‘contact’ sports The way that marketing has twisted the use of the haka and the idea that the bulk of the players come from ‘warrior’ cultures is seldom talked about but the idea that that it is necessary to be ‘tough’ and ‘macho’ to succeed rubs off onto the huge number who watch these sports live or on television. This is then linked to beer and the combination creates what is deemed to be desireable characteristics for men to aim for. For years now this combustible combination has been mixed with sponsorship money and marketing teams. Extrapolate this further with the rise of strong Maori women, which leaves a proportion of males feeling weak in what may be seen as traditionally dominant roles. From this weakened group emerge a tiny number who emerge as the wife beaters and potential rapist who seek to assert power by physical violence and the dominance sought by rapists.
      So although I know I haven’t got the whole answer I think the whole combination of these factors contribute down to this small group who cause much of the violence, rape and murders.
      Apologiststs for this group like Jones, seem to ignore all these factors and probably drawing from their own life experiences, seek to blame it on women who have wronged them during their own lives. I suppose what I am trying to get at is a combination contributes to the end result,and for men trying to blame it on women is assured far from accurate.

  12. Never read the Herald. Too many inaccurate, uninformed, bigoted, one dimensional ravings which are passed off as news. And the spelling is atrocious.

  13. Great post Marama, right on the money!

    The problem with Bob Jones is I am always divided between outrage and then the feeling that is what he wants. I have a sinking feeling that all the genuine outrage (and the misplaced support) this incontinent old bigot generates, pushes clicks and ad-rev on the Herald site

  14. Marama

    As privileged, relatively conservative, old white guy… brilliant writing. Thank you. And yes- you need to be heard much more than Bob. You have a whole lot more to offer than he has on this issue.

  15. You had a valid point untill u pulled the racism card : “rich old conservative white men.”

    Im struggling to understand why pointing out the skin colour of this man proves you point anymore validly.

  16. Up above, Tom asserts that some people are just plain evil and you can’t stop evil with moralising. I’m not replying to him because he’s never going to listen to anything that anyone says that he disagrees with, but unwittingly he’s actually touched on something interesting.

    Most people who commit crimes, particularly violent crimes, are not evil. (There’s a lot of interesting speculation and research into the proliferation of undiagnosed sociopaths committing white collar crime, though.) And in fact there have been a lot of studies done seeking answers to questions about rape – who commits rape? why? what are they looking for? how do we stop them?

    As it turns out, it seems that the most effective way to reduce rate is not to police women’s day to day lives, because economic realities and the fact that women can recognise bullshit means that women are never going to allow themselves to be cosseted away in isolation where they’d actually be more vulnerable because they’d have no support structures whatsoever*, but to educate men about sexual violence. This post from Rape Crisis Dunedin lists some of those studies.

    *In fact abusers LOVE to isolate their victims. Social and financial control are two of the biggest red flags there are for abuse in a relationship. When society as a whole is attempting to control when women are “allowed” to go out and where they’re allowed to be when they do, you start to make uncomfortable connections.

  17. this wont pass the moderator

    here I go
    Jones is a psycopath
    so is Fay
    so is Myers
    and on it goes I could name many others
    these people are the devil
    the devil means evil
    god means the good

    It is that simple

    The herald is a dying newspaper

    Jones probably writes pro bono as the money is far less important than the need to corral support in his twilight years for a fundamentally corrupted brain
    He is already dead as are the others – he does not know it as he has never really lived a human life.

  18. Hi there,

    Just wanted to draw your attention to this:

    3. Since we’ve already acknowledged the piece, in this case let’s complain.

    The New Zealand Herald is one of the signatories to the Press Council’s principles. Principal 2 “Privacy” states: “Those suffering from trauma or grief call for special consideration.” This piece has clearly failed to show the necessary special consideration for the victims of this crime, who will invariably be suffering from trauma. I will be writing a complaint to the Press Council on these grounds, and I urge you to do the same. At the least, it’s a bad look for the Herald when it gets a huge wave of complaints, especially in light of its claims above of “unrivalled investigative journalism” and “insightful commentary”. That claim itself actually borders on a breach of s 9 of the Fair Trading Act 1986, in terms of being misleading as to the nature of the publication, but let’s leave that for another day.

    Another avenue for complaint: the Honours Secretariat. Jones is someone who has been awarded a royal title in New Zealand for his service to the community. If you object to someone of this standing so clearly and callously seeking to hurt people in his writing, get in touch and voice your concerns.

    And feel sorry for Jones. He seems to be just another person who loathes Bob Jones.

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