Rape Culture is not blah blah blah



To some of our politicians and commentators, ‘rape culture’ has already become blah blah blah. A meaningless and overstated slogan to roll their eyes at and derisively joke about and deny.

It’s something the ‘left’ takes seriously, and something the ‘right’ treats like a joke. This is wrong. So wrong. An incredibly important issue permeating and destroying our society has been reduced to a political football. And I’m getting worried that the de-railing from the right will sideline NZ’s much needed and overdue conversation on rape culture before it even begins to create positive change.

The right claims that Tania Billingsley deliberately turned rape into a political football. That their ridicule is all her fault and that she has ruined any legitimacy the phrase contains, as well as the legitimacy of her attack. How dare a mere woman stand up for herself and what is right? How dare she be brave and speak out? How dare she be a survivor instead of a victim? How dare she be intelligent, educated and articulate? How dare she possibly be non-straight and victim of a man? How dare she ask a politician for help? How dare she wear red lipstick on TV?!

WhaleOil even went as far as announcing that if you’re a woman’s rights activist with connections to politics then you are surely exaggerating and using a man’s decision to attack you for political gain – stopping half a millimetre short of accusing her of making it up.

And guess what. All of the above is……………….. rape culture affirmation. All of this bile is the exact messaging rape culture supports. Complete victim-blaming instead of positively contributing towards our much needed catalyst for change.

Politicians have played their part in our rape culture, yes. They have reacted badly to cases put in front of them, they decided to cut funding supporting survivors of violence, they are key people in the battle to create positive changes to our culture – and they need to own those decisions and make them right. Sadly, Paula Bennett and Claudette Hauiti – both MP’s who, we would hope, ‘get it’ – haven’t inspired confidence in National’s understanding of rape culture either over the last fortnight. And Judith Collins’ comments on ‘gang women’ putting (I assume white, middle class) ‘other’ women off seeking Women’s Refuge services shows that some (poor, Maori) women and children are clearly considered second class citizens.

Violence perpetrated against women crosses the political divide. Rapists don’t ask if women vote Green before attacking them. Right-voting men abuse their right-voting partners and non-partisan children. Violence occurs within and between all classes, ethnicities, age groups and political beliefs. The fight against rape culture desperately needs a coordinated approach from all corners of the community, and politically.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Particularly frustrating to me are the attacks on Jan Logie for being a voice for survivors. As the Green’s spokesperson for women, I wouldn’t expect anything less from her. And I expect the same from all our party’s spokespersons on women’s issues.

What I want to see is non-partisan support for victims, and an understanding of the gravity of the issue, instead of #TeamKey and cronies embarrassing themselves by brushing off and making light of their fellow politician’s stands against violence against women. We should not be in a situation where the right buries incidents and the left highlights them. No matter what party is in government, every citizen of NZ who is  experiencing violence should receive the same reaction, the same intervention and the same help – using the very best proven solutions put forward by the sector, not a couple of cherry-picked ideas which fit the budget – yet are completely ineffective in isolation.

How can our society make a meaningful stand against rape culture and violence when our government cares more about winning and a surplus than the safety of their citizens?

Whatever party you vote for, one thing you can do is write to your local MP and tell them that this is an issue that is important to you, and to our country – and that you expect them to do all they can to influence positive change in our society and ensure we have a system which effectively helps all survivors of violence and their whanau.

It’s past time to stem the tide of sexual & family violence in NZ. I know I won’t rest until we have.


  1. It is a big ask to change attitudes that have become enshrined in humanity over the centuries, if not millennia. But you have to start somewhere and by keeping the issue in the spotlight, refusing to let it fade away is a good start. A thousand years ago, slavery was considered a normal part of society but slowly that was changed through education, enlightenment, social and political pressure. Nine centuries ago most peasants thought that serfdom would probably last forever but it didn’t. Two hundred years ago the notion of women having a vote would have seemed absurd. Things can be changed, however slowly, and it takes courageous people to take a stand and refuse to be pushed aside. Well said Rachel.

  2. Is Key, after refusing to apologise to Tania, the sort of man Cunliffe was apologising for??

    • Keep strawmanning. Labour is only on 25% is most polls. Still a lot more to fall.

      The more partisan, personal and half baked attacks hurled at Key, the better for National.

        • Mark took a scientific survey of his friends and nine out of ten said “Bitches make us do it.” The tenth was busy trying to look in the neighbour’s window.

          I am sick of the Tory shit on this topic. If someone said to my face the garbage that Blubber Boy printed about Tania, I would have real trouble controlling myself. Nact is the party of rugby, racism, and rape culture. They need to go.

      • @ Mark: does your mother know that you’re writing this stuff? You told her that you’re doing your homework: better get back to it before she rumbles you!

  3. Now Key has refused to apologise for the government shabby treatment of her;

    “I don’t make apologies unless there’s a serious reason for me to do that.”


    I wonder how many women (and men) will pause to consider that remark, before voting for National this year.

    And yes, Rachel, this is indeed the enabling of the rape culture which permeates our society. It also gives those on the Right (many of whom hate feminism with a psychopathic fervour) an excuse to dismiss the whole problem.

      • @ Once Was Tim: “That image would make a bloody good Liar Liar Pants on Fire billboard replacement”

        Hear hear!

    • When a woman dares to stand up for herself, or other women and children, why is it labeled feminism? When society perceives feminists with an attitude of derision.
      Standing up for women and children in our current state of society should be normal, and labeled as such, and lauded.

      Why don’t lots of fathers nowadays stand up for their wives and their children? What label would they have to wear if they did this – would they be called feminists?


  4. Very unfortunately what appeared to be David Cunliffe’s genuine recognition of this problem was marred by his “I’m ashamed to be a man” comment. Its only served to propel this issue backwards and Labour have bled votes as a direct result of this, as admitted by DC this morning.

    I don’t hold out a lot of hope for change for now or the next few years as a number of our politicians are by and large way to self absorbed and immature to deal with it a their level and a lot of Kiwi’s are far to apathetic to give a shit, proven by Labours poll drop!

    • It doesn’t help when there are people like you Xray who continually quote what David Cunliffe said out of context in a lame attempt at political point scoring, perpetrating the problem. This is the full text of what David Cunliffe said…

      “Can I begin by saying I’m sorry – I don’t often say it – I’m sorry for being a man, right now. Because family and sexual violence is perpetrated overwhelmingly by men against women and children. So the first message to the men out there is: ‘wake up, stand up, man up and stop this bullshit’.”

      • I am a man, so I feel that I am included in his statement-
        “…the first message to men out there is: ‘wake up, stand up, man up and stop this bullshit.”

        Easy… considering I have never attacked anyone. Also I don’t associate with people who attack their family or do/have sexually violated anyone (as far as I know).

        Now what do I do?

        • Well done, but does it have to get to the point of someone close to you suffering before you’ll accept that there’s a problem? Choose awareness over ignorance; promote something better. The negativity that results from sexual violence casts blame over all men, whether you choose to accept it or not.

          • I didn’t say there wasn’t a problem but honestly I get so confused by what the problem is.
            I read an opinion that said rape culture is the reason we have “girls” toys and “boys” toys. What? I don’t understand that. How did we get from rape culture being a society which dehumanises victims of rape (which we do) to it also being about transformers and barbie dolls?

        • When you see or hear another man putting down a woman with a ‘ha ha stupid effin bitch’ type comment don’t laugh along – that would be a start and it’s that type of manning up that’s needed by men. If more men do this instead of somehow feeling emasculated by Mr Cunliffe’s comment the better it will be for women in general. If you already do do this, what’s your problem?

          • @ Cagey: “When you see or hear another man putting down a woman with a ‘ha ha stupid effin bitch’ type comment don’t laugh along”

            Yes indeed. And don’t make – or laugh at – awful sexist jokes.

            And if you do find out that violence is occurring in the household of a family member or friend, don’t make excuses for it happening: call out the perpetrator and call the cops.

      • @Word; Read what I said in its entirety. This is no cheap shot, its statement of fact. DC admitted that his words may have contributed to a drop in support for Labour and the way it was reported out of context. But simply apologising for being a man full stop is not going to win over the very people you are trying to connect with, namely men.

        If you want to connect with an intended audience then don’t alienate them.

        Men may seem easy targets who are beyond any defence and are all guilty by association of their DNA but continually slagging them off or denigrating them will only serve to drive them away. Doing this is precisely the same as any particular race or culture who are connected to negative stereotypes by virtue of their skin colour or their religion!

        Labour have been painted by the media as the PC brigade, the Rainbow Party, as having a man ban and so on. For the average NZ voter who takes virtually no interest in politics these tiny sound bites are what they hear and sadly one of the factors they base their votes on. If they are heterosexual men they will think that Labour have no time for them and like it or not they make up half of all voters.

        Cunliffe’s comments made me think someone in politics is going to take domestic violence seriously however it’s of no use if Labour remain a bit player in opposition now and beyond 2017.

  5. Cunliffe could fix his dopy ” Sorry for being a man ” brain fart and claw back the votes ten fold simply by explaining where societal dysfunction comes from for fucks sake ! Men , like women , are not , for the most part born arse holes . They become that way and if cunliffe doesn’t understand that then what the fuck was he doing apologising ?
    Poverty , poor social education , the consequential plummeting of quality peer groupings , a desperate lack of Art et al over the brutal , abusive nature of our Sports Culture . ( And you know that ‘ Sports ‘ sells booze , junk foods and hair care products . ) In what parallel Universe does the MSM bombard us with elegance , style and class darling ? As an example ; Italy maybe ? I was told , the Italians would rather die than be seen out in shit clothing and when they get together , they talk about food . What is the Italian social dysfunction stats I wonder ? Do their men fall into the streets from a rugby bar to go off raping , beating and causing mayhem ? Seriously ? That was a series of serious questions?
    Did cunliffe , big eyes blinking , say that our ‘ rape culture ‘ was born of Bankers squeezing our societies until they died and we are their Zombie spawn of the Darwinian sub classes who can’t manage much more than the odd grunt or squeak . To rape and brutalise is of no more consequence to their conscience than picking animal flesh from their teeth . Both reprehensible when you think about it .
    That growing dysfunction has as much to do with being a ‘ Man ‘ as being a dining table .
    If you think Jonky and his minions will suddenly change their ways ? Watch this little gem .


    • Talking about art I nearly had a heart attack when picking up a relation from the Dunedin Airport on Sunday and saw a teenager with his family all standing around him while he was just bouncing his back off the wall over and over mindlessly, he was bouncing off my $6000 painting on exhibition there, all my money and time spent on these works, to be used as a bouncy wall, while they waited. What a shame he and his family didn’t just look up or around and see this big piece of ART! I see a big sports event is on at the stadium here and guess his family don’t know the difference between a painting and an ad or care?I give up! People don’t look anymore at anything if it isn’t on a screen. Your so right Countryboy.

    • Countryboy, David Cunliffe’s “brainfart” had a context and for you to fall in line with the MSM is pretty poor here. To remind you, he was part of a discussion about male on female violence and said “I’m sorry for being a man right now…..”. The sentence went further but that’s probably enough context for you to get the picture.

      It was a perfectly fine thing to say in the situation and indicated that he might be capable of empathy. It’s very apparent from there that those in the media opposed to Cunliffe saw another opportunity to bring him down by taking the quote out of context and relying on the inherent sexism that still exists in a great deal of the population to stoke the flames.

      Now that I think about it, those ‘strategists’ derailed a discussion about how we treat women for the sake of political gain. They really are scum. Sometimes I feel sorry for being a human being when I see behavior like that.

    • Your attitude is another who perpetuates the problem Countryboy. Maybe you can help to “fix it” by not quoting what David Cunliffe said out of context….

      “Can I begin by saying I’m sorry – I don’t often say it – I’m sorry for being a man, right now. Because family and sexual violence is perpetrated overwhelmingly by men against women and children. So the first message to the men out there is: ‘wake up, stand up, man up and stop this bullshit’.”

      David Cunliffe stands by every word, and makes no apology for it, so why cant you stand by the message, which shows he does indeed have understanding , that it appears you do not.

  6. Key has done nothing too apologise for to Tania as he has not harmed her at all .
    The govt has already offered an apology.
    The sad situation that Tania has been subjected to by the attacker(I can’t call him a diplomat ) is terrible and my prayers go out to her but to blame the prime minister is a stretch to far.
    The PM has seen that this man is returned to this country to face these charges.

    • “Key has done nothing too apologise for – The PM has seen that this man is returned to this country to face these charges.”

      considering they did SFA right up till the point it was going to go public i think you should re-evaluate those two statements

    • @Jimc – John Key has said he only apologizes if an issue is serious.

      So according to the PM, allowing a diplomat accused of alleged sexual assault against a NZ citizen, to leave the country is not serious enough to apologize for!

      The alleged victim is not blaming John Key for what allegedly happened to her, but the shabby way he and his MFAT minister Murray McCully handled the issue, treating it as non consequential, unimportant, hoping it would disappear!

      Key has made his attitude quite clear on sexual assault. Remember his “manly” response ridiculing David Cunliffe for stating he is sorry to be a man, raising the topic of sexual and domestic violence?

      Obviously John Key considers sexual assault something trivial! He’s made his situation clear.

      I consider his attitude throughout is deeply offensive towards all victims of sexual assault, (of both genders) past, present and future.

    • JimC – It’s common knowledge that National never takes responsibility for anything (except throwing Kate Wilkinson to the wolves as a sacrificial lamb).

      But considering that Key is the Prime Minister; the head of this government; and it was this government that stuffed up on the Malaysian diplomat allowed to leave the country; then yes, the buck should stop with him.


      Because if governments can quite rightly apologise for Treaty breaches that occurred a century ago then apologising for something that happened this year should not be all that daunting.

      By the way; re your comment; “The sad situation that Tania has been subjected to by the attacker(I can’t call him a diplomat )” – so you’ve convicted the guy already in your own mind?!

      Gosh, the concept of justice is pretty darn alien to you, isn’t it?

  7. if we look at the three knowns of

    1) whaleoil trying to claim a honey trap
    2) the pm thinking that allegations of rape and the concept of leadership arent big enough issues for him to even give a shit
    3) that whaleoil and key are on pretty good terms and speak regularly

    it speaks volumes about whats really going on inside the head of our pretend PM

  8. Well said, Rachel. One improvement a progressive government could make in this area would be to fire every official, and medical or psychological “adviser”, within ACC who had anything to do with its infamous “sensitive claims pathway” – the one Dr Barbara Disley criticised, year after year, until ACC stopped paying for her services. The “pathway”, on which no less an authority than Prof Felicity Goodyear-Smith (former doctor at Centrepoint commune, wife of convicted child abuser John Potter, and daughter in law of convicted child abuser Bet Potter) was paid to “advise” it, led to a 50 percent drop in the number of claims submitted to ACC for cover for mental injury resulting from sexual abuse, as claimants and their treatment providers found the claims process to be too harmful and damaging to endure. Check out some of Prof Goodyear-Smith’s writings about the purported lack of harm that results from childhood sexual abuse. Naturally, when first asked whether it was paying Goodyear-Smith to tell it how to “manage” such claims, ACC lied, although it later “clarified” its answer. Fire the lot of them on 21 September.

  9. Apologies? Bipartisa approaches to serious problems affecting both sections of the community?
    In this f**ked society?

    Good luck with that!

  10. Unfortunately for those of us who have suffered sexual violence here in NZ it seems a huge proportion (majority?) of NZers continue to believe there is no rape culture in NZ.

    While they insist on dismissing our very real trauma nothing will change.

    The usual bollocks are trotted out:
    – its worse in India (insert developing country of your choice here), no rape culture in NZ
    – women are just as / more violent than men
    – no one takes men seriously when they are raped by women, there’s an epidemic of women raping men
    – most rape complaints are false anyway
    – women cry “rape” if they have second thoughts about a one night stand / want money
    – the “feminazis” are ruining the place
    – the usual list of things women should do to avoid being raped (don’t drink too much, don’t wear short skirts, don’t “lead him on”, take a self defence course) are trotted out, because you know, rape is an inevitable part of our landscape, there are some bad men who will rape you if you give them the chance, so we need to “educate” those silly women to avoid rape, no point in stopping the rapists

    … and on and on and on….

    Meanwhile… women, children and men are raped and killed by men. And men in NZ want to focus on “but it’s not me!” because, you know, it’s ALWAYS about them.


  11. @ Kate . Thank you x . It’s great to have my vexations and misgivings understood . It’s very comforting to receive such validations .
    Tell me , how did you resist the temptation to not go over to that kid and kick him up his arse ? And the arses of his numbed , dumbed down family ?
    Or at least tell him that you did that piece and what does he think of it ? I’m going to be in that AP in a few days , I’ll look out for your painting and if that kid’s there again ( Trust me , stranger things have happened ) I’ll kick him up his arse for you .
    As an artist you might find these quotes interesting .

    For example ;

    “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”
    ― Banksy

    My personal favourite

    “There are four basic human needs; food, sleep, sex and revenge.”
    ― Banksy

    “People who get up early in the morning cause war, death and famine.”
    ― Banksy, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

    @ JIMC . Of course Jonky should apologise . He’s representative of all us Kiwis . ( Hahahahahahaahaha aaa ! ) The behaviour of that creepy little Malaysian sociopathic nutter is one thing . Jonky not recognising her trauma as a mark of respect for us all is another matter altogether . Clearly , there was no money in it for him . That , and he couldn’t give a fuck .

    • Banksy is awesome, thanks for the quotes they are perfect. I did rush over and say, “excuse me, excuse me”! Before he looked up, and i said “don’t do that, i painted it”…. Then rushed off to pay for the parking ticket fuming! Oh well thanks Countryboy i actually feel better knowing you understand my fury. I have 11 works in the airport i am so happy you will look out for them. Thanks so much, happy travels. *( p.s I would have loved to have kicked his arse).

  12. I don’t think any demographic of society likes to be stereotyped, ring fenced and pigeon holed or threat narratives assembled around them. It stops reasonable dialog, promotes extremism and is what extreme groups have done throughout history with disastrous consequence.. Its also simplistic and small minded, some may call it bigotry.. Yes there are real problems in society that need to be worked through for Men, Women, Maori etc. Kicking words about like Rape Culture and Patriarchy does get peoples eyes rolling especially thous who are not heavily invested in it. I think any non-psychopathic Kiwi would consider Rape an evil, period..

  13. It’s OK to support Tania Billingsley and at the same time believe that the rape culture hypothesis is mostly poorly supported ideological posturing. Even RAINN has come to that view, which should give people pause.

    Of course not all of it is wrong. The police plainly have problems, for example. But when the price of accepting that people are on your side is that they must accept, without reservation, the whole chunk of warmed over 70s charlatan social theory entitled “rape culture”, then you might find not many people on your side.

  14. Re: Brianna Wu’s comments on life in the gaming industry (for a little insight on how we are wired): http://www.polygon.com/2014/7/22/5926193/women-gaming-harassment
    That revenue from gaming now exceeds revenue from movies in the entertainment world says something about the influences.
    Also, check out Feminist Frequencies.com for Anita Sarkesian’s excellent analysis and references.
    There is huge cause for concern about how our minds are being manipulated at present.

Comments are closed.