You don’t tug on Superman’s cape

By   /   May 6, 2015  /   16 Comments

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When Amanda Bailey went to the Police and complained about repeated assaults she was ignored.

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When Amanda Bailey went to the Police and complained about repeated assaults she was ignored.

In an effort to make herself heard, she told Police that she would drive her bony fist into the soft flesh of our prime minister’s face. She threatened to injure him.

But the Diplomatic Protection Squad – sworn New Zealand police officers – would not step up to the mark when it came to protecting their charge, nor protecting the victim he continued to prey upon. They failed to protect a vulnerable woman from clearly inappropriate touching. They failed to protect the Prime Minister from the clear risk of criminal charges. They failed to protect the Prime Minister from his own stupidity.

At a time when police spin doctors are stressing how seriously they take assaults on women, the most privileged man in New Zealand has been shown to treat women and girls as his playthings. His photographed, filmed and reported fondling reveals there was nothing to constrain him. His sense of entitlement was fuelled, no doubt, by his minders who suppressed the complaint to them and allowed his wandering hands to continue.

They took no notice of Amanda Bailey because she was nothing. They confirmed her lack of worth by ensuring that even if she threatened the Prime Minister, she would be ignored. The status of women and men in Aotearoa could not have been made clear: what was done to her and what she threatened was simply a joke.

Key’s assertion that he’d played with the hair of males doesn’t bear scrutiny. It’s demonstrably untrue. No men have come forward to say that John Key has played with their hair. Instead, the photographs and reports of his playing with the hair of women and girls just seems to keep coming. Nothing short of a photo of Key caressing Colin Meads’ curly locks could undo what we’ve seen. Nothing short of a Colin Meads endorsement of the propriety of having his hair fondled by the Prime Minister could lend the slightest credibility to his assertion that he’s an equal opportunity fondler.

It is, of course, utterly incredible. Non-consensual touching is about power. It’s done by people with enough muscle – hired if necessary – who chose victims who they think can do nothing about it. Perhaps being too generous, he might fondle the hair of a boy – most have endured the domineering rough rub on the top of the head that messes up their hair and reminds them where they fit in the pecking order. But I can’t imagine Key continuing to do it in public while his bruisers sat around, slurping their lattes discreetly as they slowly drive away the morning chill of the cold Glocks strapped to their chests.  Happiness is, after all, a warm gun.

The Diplomatic Protection Squad, a branch of the New Zealand Police has a fulltime detail on the Prime Minister. I’m wondering if any in their ranks will come forward to say that they often had a bit of “high jinks” with Mr Key who loved to play with their hair all the time even when they said “no.”

It is, however, no wonder that not many of these cops, trained in unarmed combat, sport ponytails. They know that it makes them vulnerable. Once a big mitt is wrapped around your ponytail, well, you’re a bit fucked really. Getting dragged back to the cave is pretty much how it used to go in the old days. So it pays, even today, to keep one’s hair short in a world where physical combat is on the cards. It pays to keep your hair short in case someone grabs it, to let you know that he can could fuck you and eat you if he wanted.

The vulnerability of being grabbed by the ponytail is well-known, but of course the sanctity of the head and hair is also well known. Consensual touching of hair involves overcoming one’s feeling of vulnerability. It involves trust. It is intimate. It is not the subject of high jinks any more than repeated rejection and complaint could be seen as a failure to read the tea leaves.

For all the naysayers out there, there are two simple litmus tests:

Go and find a Police Officer going about his job. Pull his hair. When he tells you to stop, do it again six times. Then call your lawyer. You’ll need her. Tell the Judge you’re sorry and remorseful, but it was just high jinks and a misunderstanding.

Or you could think about the other times you remember customers in a café persistently molesting the hair of an unwilling waitress. Find me just one person who says “yup, that’s me, I do it all the time.”

The Goon Squad’s collaboration might seem passive. But in the end they were cops Amanda Bailey thought she could trust to help her. That her threat of imminent violence towards the PM was ignored reflects how seriously they took her. Or, perhaps, reflecting the power dynamic again, they took some tips from Jim Croce. They know you don’t tug on Superman’s cape; you don’t spit into the wind; you don’t pull the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger and you don’t mess around with Jim. I mean John

You’d think her subjugation was complete, but then her employers fed her to The Herald.

My lengthy and problematic brush with academia has, I’ll admit, left lingering bitterness, but I couldn’t help but notice how out of touch Auckland University’s Bill Hodge was when he appeared on Paul Henry recently. He talked about the tort of battery and he talked about the Human Rights Act and was utterly dismissive of any prospect of legal recourse.

I’m not even buying this suggestion from an aging academic. He knows damn well that he if he started fondling the hair of waitresses in the staff café, he’d be flung from the top of his ivory tower. I’m not buying that he’s so out of touch that he doesn’t realise men get prosecuted when they embark on a course of repeated assaults. Hasn’t Hodge heard of the Crimes Act? We do have one.

Indeed even the threat of an assault, so long as the person has is serious and has he the ability to carry it out, is sufficient to attract the law, both criminal and civil. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to spend some time in court before holding themselves out as a legal oracle the way Hodge does.

That the Police have let her down so badly is something easily be remedied. They could show that privilege and position don’t give a free pass to molest other humans.  The Police may well say that they haven’t received a complaint, but that has never stopped them from charging drink drivers, speeders or even murderers. Anyone who suggests Police need a complaint to act on is simply wrong. But, that’s right, she did complain.

At a time when Police have had flack about their collective attitude towards violence against women, they’re very keen on dressing their windows, but when it comes to walking the talk, nothing has changed.

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About the author

Kelly Ellis

Contributor

A staunch human rights advocate and barrister, she ran on the Labour ticket in that electorate in 2014. When not working or politicking she plays with old cars and motorbikes, sails, fishes, cooks or hides out on her boat.

16 Comments

  1. Well written.
    I sincerely hope Amanda Bailey reads this and that it serves to strengthen her resolve in regard to any forthcoming action she may undertake.

  2. Kelly Ellis says:

    Negligently I failed to draw the parallel with the way we treat dogs. Come and fondle the fur on my dog’s head. When she growls, keep doing it. Don’t forget to bring some sticking plasters.

  3. Lara says:

    Well said Kelly, an excellent point. Amanada Baily DID complain to police, right to their faces, and they witnessed repeatedly the PM breaking the law.

    It’s a power play. I bet Key wouldn’t be pulling Obama’s hair… if he had any to pull that is.

    I don’t think Key would pull on a man’s ponytail, he’s more likely to rough up the top of a boys head as you say. I would bet that Key has never played with the hair of another grown man.

  4. Mike the Lefty says:

    I can guess one male who would gladly let the PM fondle his hair any time, he currently fronts Seven Sharp. Say no more.

    • elle says:

      Think its more than his hair,Mike .

    • Rae says:

      Haha by the look of his hair, it may well have been

    • deflatermouse says:

      I DO have a picture of that fellow with messy hair, smiling while holding a bottle of the PM’s Sorry Wine.
      And if you are in doubt the Prime Sinister is standing beside him, smiling, in the pic.

  5. Groucho Marxist says:

    The spinners have JK saying it was not sexist.

    All the deflection will not remove the concern that it was a sexual driven act – not sexist.

    That is what worries us , Johnny boy.

  6. Snoopman says:

    Great way to shine a torch on the culture of Male Entitlement with the analogy that ‘little people’ wouldn’t dare to tug on Superman’s cape. Because Key is still ‘at-large’, it is important to note why NZ’s mainstream media have let his ponytail-yanking harassment slide, now that NZ’s ‘Best dadD’ has returned. See: CAPITAL dadD PROTECTED PROPERTY at: http://snoopman.net.nz/?p=2801

  7. Blake says:

    The police worldwide are not too different from the hierarchy of the Catholic church. Protect their own and who cares about the victims. Male superiority; male elitism; and mostly men abusing young innocent victims or dark skinned people or etc. for either their military type power hunger or for their pleasure. Deny any wrong doing and pretend that all is well and good. The victims of police neglect or abuse are denied justice, for the most part, and the police and the Catholic cardinals etc. protecting the law breakers and criminal abusers.

    Sounds like a sick culture to me that needs to be exposed more with victims being front and center rather that protecting the criminals and abusers.

    • elle says:

      What is difficult to understand is the amount of pedophiles going under the radar with flash lawyers getting them name suppression ,ok at first to protect the victims,but the pedophiles are hidden from view.Strange how many connected to the National party.
      The speaker trying to intimidated some of the opposition from asking questions,The speaker is supposed to be the government referee to be there for both sides ,but he’s not, he’s just another voice for National,and a cover up merchant

      The police refuse to do anything about female complaints against men who assault them ,especially polititions from the right.
      So its sown up to suit the right .
      But we all have a fair idea who the fiddlers are and it will come out as it has in uk.
      The numbers of suppression orders are becoming a joke ,even family members of polititions are protected as well.
      The Sabin business will be hidden and probably put off hoping we all forget about it.
      The prominent business man from South island has name suppression forever it seems, hidden hoping we will forget about it.
      [Comment deleted. Please do not refer to people by name when there is an active Court suppression order. Doing so puts TDB in jeopardy and risking contempt charges. – ScarletMod]The Herald only speaks up when others have released the info ,then of course they need to compete,but the victim was named in the ponytail case by Herald via glucina,in a sly entraptment move, she wasn’t protected was she, “ah but shes a leftie so it must be her fault,trying to get the tugger into trouble” , what a sleazy lot the right are along with their blind stupid nasty fans.Of course its all the lefts fault it always is .Now we will get them quoting Helen Clarke and her husband ,the right are sickening .

      • elle says:

        Sorry scarlet mod ,I didn’t think I was referring to a person under suppression,unless you mean [Yes, that is the person. – ScarletMod]
        I don’t know the names of any other persons under suppression.

  8. J S Bark J S Bark says:

    A nicely considered blog Kelly.
    Personally I have no great hope of the cops ever being called to account. Any hint of wrong-doing and they investigate themselves. We have such a corrupt force here in NZ that no amount of self-investigation is ever going to point the blame at the cops.
    Sad really because none of that helps the brown, the poor, the female, the elderly, the… everyone really.

  9. CLEANGREEN says:

    “When Amanda Bailey went to the Police and complained about repeated assaults she was ignored.

    In an effort to make herself heard, she told Police that she would drive her bony fist into the soft flesh of our prime minister’s face. She threatened to injure him.”

    PITY SHE DIDN’T REACT IN THE WAY SHE THREATENED.

    We say Amanda we harassed by this bully and it is shocking that the Police ignored it, since she was harassed for seven months!

    What excuse if any did they give for no response to the complaint?

    Our whole justice system is broken here I am amazed at these revelation’s.

    • DJ says:

      Could someone please explain when Amanda Bailey complained to the police and brought it out into the open? …I have been too busy to be up with the ins and outs of this story…. It is just that I, have repeatedly heard statements such as “will, why did she leave it so long to report it oh and get this…” She didn’t,t mind taking JK,s wine!!
      I hate the slimy as##swipe with a vengeance so I would like to explain to these moron ‘victim blamers’ what the story is !!