MEDIAWATCH: The Spinoff Labour Party Sex Scandal

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I have been incredibly dismissive of this Labour Party Sex Scandal.

I am deeply cynical towards Millennial micro-aggression policing culture and its language of catastrophe where any look, gesture or interaction that makes the subject ‘unsafe’ is elevated to a hate crime.

In a world where accusation is the new evidential threshold and due process is criticised as white cis-male privilege, I find myself deeply skeptical of those crying wolf. Time and time and time again we have an accusation made, investigated and found falling far short of objective standards of evidence.

This is how I had viewed the latest allegations made regarding a Labour Party Staffer who was accused of sexual assault after speaking privately with people aware of the issue.

I was wrong in expanding that cynicism to this case.

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The extraordinary journalism on display today at The Spinoff by Alex Casey demolishes any facade that the allegations were a mistaken interaction that has been over hyped.

The seriousness of this sexual assault and its graphic description is not a mis-interpreted comment, or gesture, or fumbled pass – it is a violent act that can not be defended by a misunderstood consent…

Early in 2018 he invited her to a private meeting at his home to prepare for an upcoming regional conference. “He said it was really important that I came,” she said. “He made it feel like it was a part of my duties.” She arrived around six o’clock, and sat in the lounge to watch television with the rest of the household. After the others went to bed, the pair were left alone and moved to work on party documents on a computer in the adjoining office. 

It was then that Sarah felt the mood start to shift. 

“I remember I was looking at the screen and I felt him lean down over me onto my shoulder.” She initially ignored it and continued to ask questions about the documents they were looking at, keen to stay focussed on the work. Standing behind her, he placed one hand on her thigh, and the other under her shirt, she said. Feeling both his arms tightening around her body, she began to panic. 

“I tried to knock him off but he put me in a hold across here,” she recounted, gesturing to her collarbone. He pulled her off the chair and onto the floor, keeping his arm and his body weight on top of her as she struggled, he said. “I remember him just saying, ‘shhh,’ and shushing me or telling me to be quiet without explicitly telling me, or he’d press his arm down on my windpipe.”

Desperate to attract the attention of the rest of the household, Sarah banged her feet against the hardwood floors, she said. She recounted him pulling down her jeans, and the coldness of the floorboards against her bare skin. He aggressively groped her breasts, she said, before pulling her underwear down and violently penetrating her with his fingers. 

“I was just in total disbelief, struggling a lot and still trying to bang on the floor,” she said, taking long pauses in her recollection. She continued to hit her feet on the ground through the attack, hoping to make as much noise as possible. “I just wanted someone to come upstairs. Anyone.”

The assault lasted between 10 and 20 minutes, she said, before he rolled off her. “I was just lying there for ages and then tried to frantically put everything on. I grabbed my phone, I grabbed my USB [from] the computer. I was shaking, I couldn’t speak.” She told him that she had to go home. He asked her if she wanted to stay the night.

…the Labour Party hierarchy, who have been at pains to make private assurances that this has been some giant misunderstanding between two innocent individuals, can no longer be afforded that benefit of the doubt. What has been painfully examined by The Spinoff is none of those things, it is a clear criminal act that demands investigation.

I know who the Labour Party Staffer is, I am aware of their contacts. The Party’s response to date looks nothing short of protecting this individual rather than a desire to know the truth and have follow through consequences to that truth.

These allegations are far too serious for the Party to ignore again.

This case requires re-opening, there can be no acceptable outcome that doesn’t start there.

We all owe The Spinoff a debt of gratitude for their journalism of this dark matter.

 

 

9 COMMENTS

  1. Now that social justice activists of all kinds have been aroused due to a Green Party newsletter there is a feeling of jubilation and collectivism with disaffected trans people. They celebrate that woman now understand that they must share power.

    These sad outcomes talk about the predicaments of social justice advocates. Y’know social justice activists think that they are dealing serious blows to the establishment but all they are doing is celebrating taking power away from the already vulnerable.

    Today’s critical left are all to often in this situation. They think that they are doing great things. Our true task is not to share power. Our true task is to discuss how to further happiness.

  2. The Labour Party President looks to be a liability, because if you believe a committed volunteer, he knew because she told him in that meeting and he did nothing.

    Only Ardern can ask him to go, so this will be her problem until he does.

  3. As Kiwis we are indebted to The Daily Blog, as The Dompost seems to have run interference for Nigel Haworth on this.

    It is not just Nigel Haworth that must go.
    Remember there are actually 12 complainants here of differing offences.
    Nigel Haworth (President), Diana Lacy (Ast gen sec), 3 Labour Council members who all had seen “Sarah’s notes or were read to them by Sarah herself in her testimoney before them.
    Then there is Andre Anderson (gen sec) who also knew the full account of “Sarah”

    I’m sorry, these people are adults, in some cases very experienced adults.
    This woman was very clear in her description of an attempted rape and sexual assault.
    Upon hearing/reading that the immediate action is take her down to the NZPolice.

    None of these people it appears had “Sarahs” best interests at heart and all should be sacked or resign.
    Sadly, if it can be showed that Jacinda knew of the allegations, she too MUST resign.
    (As the staffer works in her office and is known to her, I very much doubt her protestations of innocence and being left out of the loop).
    This makes a mockery of Labours Domestic Violence, Womens rights, Metoo2 statements.

    Also one wonders based on “Sarah’s” testimony what the Labour Youth Camp victims and their families went through last year, at the hands of Labour staffers.

    This is serious.
    All these people acted against a victim “Sarah” and maybe a dozen more in this year.
    It is appalling and there is NO excuse, None.

    To my mind, Jacinda Adhern is either completely inept as a leader or a deliberate player in all this (read liar).
    There is no other logical explanation.
    This looks like a playbook being run.
    That is frightening for every woman in parliament or around The NZ Labour Party.

    My wife says “where does it stop”?
    Where indeed.?
    She of course has voted for national, I never have.

  4. Why is and was this ever an internal investigation?

    Has this person gone to the police and if not why not? I mean why on earth would you approach a bunch of political administrators to deal with such a blatant criminal act? It’s like taking your cars panel beating to a supermarket.

  5. This is sad for the victims and also I believe not best practise or good work practices for a young women to go to someones home at night by themselves and work. The predator/s needs to be kicked to the curb asap and they need to ensure they implement some good health and safety policies to protect these young people and women from the predators lurking in parliament. We now have national hypocrites with the Ross saga and Sarah dowdy who got of scott free texting Ross to kill himself (nationals own law) this lot need to clean up their own bloody mess before they start pointing fingers.

  6. This is sad for the victims and also I believe not best practise or good work practices for a young women to go to someones home at night by themselves and work. The predator/s needs to be kicked to the curb asap and they need to ensure they implement some good health and safety policies to protect these young people and women from the predators lurking in parliament. We now have national hypocrites with the Ross saga and Sarah dowdy who got of scott free texting Ross to kill himself (nationals own law) this lot need to clean up their own bloody mess before they start pointing fingers.

  7. We are told that we should exercise our Democratic right and vote to select these people to govern us? Little wonder why public confidence is falling.

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