When survivors speak out

Content note: discussion of sexual violence and the experience of survivors.

Yesterday I did a round-up of the women’s voices on Twitter talking about recent events in Parliament, where women MPs from the Opposition, many of them survivors of sexual violence, were thrown out of the House for taking exception to John Key saying they supported rapists.

There have been other great posts in the last day or so expanding on what this means.

Claudia has written at Public Address about her own experience.

I want to believe in trigger warnings, because I want to believe there’s something people can do to make me feel safer in a world that has proven, twice, that I am not safe.

This week, the highest body in New Zealand has proven to me that that wish is pointless. That I can’t be safe. Because the people who are meant to protect me care more about scoring political points than they do about the people who need them.

Hadassah Grace has put together a brief history of John Key and his Government’s record on sexual violence. She has a tremendous list of sources at the end.

The National budget includes an increase in funding to sexual violence services of $10.4 million over the next two years. Although this is much needed, it comes five years after the Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence first recommended a funding increase. Five years of drastic funding cuts in which many providers were forced to lay off staff, reduce services or close down altogether.

This $10.4 million is less than the yearly budget for ministerial travel.

This was written last year on the Wellington Rape Crisis blog, but it’s just as relevant today:

With media and hearings coming up, something we are often asked is do we have someone who is prepared to speak to a camera about their abuse. This has led us to consider again how do we include the voices of survivors when most wish to remain anonymous? Something that both the sexual and domestic violence sector finds is that when survivors have done some of their healing they want to contribute to public knowledge about this issue. However, our ‘human interest’ angle in the media requires names and photos. How do we hold the tension of public wanting faces to go with stories, and a survivor’s right and need to have control over information people have about them?

Deborah Russell calls it an object lesson in silencing women.

Accusing the Labour Party of backing rapists is the latest tactic that the Speaker of the House is using to protect a Prime Minister who simply won’t fight for New Zealanders, who wants to pick and choose who he will act for as New Zealanders, and who is determined to make sure that the only New Zealanders he will look out for are the people who are convenient for him.

There’s also excellent video from Story of the women MPs who walked out yesterday talking about their experiences. Trigger warnings apply. Other good coverage came from The Guardian.

Please go read these posts in full. I know there’s a concern about “buying” Key’s line – about getting distracted by are-they-rapists-or-not or are-we-defending-rapists-or-not – but I reject it. I said on Twitter last night:

We can do more than one thing at a time (if you watch the article on Story, you’ll see they do!). And if we can improve the situation for Kiwis in Australian detention centres and demand a better national conversation about sexual violence, we’ll have done some real good in the world.

Advertisements

One thought on “When survivors speak out

What do you reckon?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s