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.