Monday, 1 September 2008

"Lashing out" - the damage just keeps on going

Cross post

When I first started blogging, over a year ago now, there were some sickening cases of abuse in the newspapers in New Zealand. One of the comments I made, here and here, was that I would believe that New Zealanders were commited to ending domestic violence against women and children when the All Blacks started donating their 'Player of the Match' awards to Women's Refuge. Only when the macho rugby union heroes of New Zealand (not my heroes, you will understand) stand up, in public, and make it very, very clear that giving the bash to the missus and the kids is completely and utterly wrong, will I start to think that perhaps a cultural change might be underway. So far, it hasn't happened.

However, it turns out that rugby league star Ruben Wiki is a long time donor to Women's Refuge. Ruben, you're a champion.

But as the NZ Herald reports, there's a problem.

Wiki had wanted to donate some of the proceeds from a $170-a-head gala luncheon held in Auckland in his honour last week to Women's Refuge, but organisers put the kibosh on that proposal because of a potential conflict with the event's main sponsor, Radio Sport.

Radio Sport used to employ Tony Veitch, the blokey sports presented who has just resigned from his jobs, because he 'lashed out' (his words), and allegedly pushed his former partner down the stairs, kicked in the back, so hard that some vertebrae were cracked or broken, and then left her there for a while before getting medical help for her.

(The details are here, commentary on Veitch's non-apology is here, there's a lengthy discussion here (over 1000 comments, on the most reasoned of the big NZ blogs), and a bit more here from another thread at the same venue. And Hand Mirror writers have addressed other aspects of the whole sickening issue here and here and here and here.)

Lovely. So now, not only has some very serious harm been done this Tony Veitch's former partner, but now his former employer is so concerned, not about domestic violence but about their own image, that they won't even tolerate donations being given to Women's Refuge, the people who work at the coalface. The thing is, it wouldn't even have been tokenistic for them to be involved in this, to enable Ruben Wiki to give some of the money raised to Women's Refuge. Wiki has apparently been donating to them for years.

Wiki declined to speak to the Herald on Sunday about the controversy, but it is understood that over the years he has been a regular contributor to the coffers of Women's Refuge.

So what's going on here? Is Radio Sport so desperate to protect their former star that they won't even let a real sportsman, someone who doesn't just talk the talk but gets out there and plays the game and does so stunningly well (apparently - I don't follow league, or indeed any sports at all, but the man has captained the Kiwis so I'm guessing that he's a rather good player) continue doing what he has done for years. Are they not prepared to countenance doing anything at all that might help to repair the damage done by domestic violence?

Maybe it's an employment or judicial matter. Any explanations would be welcomed. In the meantime, I have a sour taste in my mouth. Again.


Carol said...

That is disgraceful on the part of Radio Sport. Whatever their opinion of, or allegiance in the Veitch case, surely they don't actually support violence against women?

I follow some sports and on occasions listen to Radio Sport. As I don't have Sky, I sometimes listen to their commentaries of important games, and discussions of them. On that station, there are a lot of annoying, snide anti-"PC" comments and blanket snipes at "tree-hugging, sandal-wearing hairy-legged lesbian/lefties". Tho, I should add some of their hosts and commentators are more enlightened than that. I've always wondered why the majority of Radio Sports staff and listeners assume there are no leftie lesbian feminists, like me, who are interested in sports.

Reuben Wiki has considerable mana amongst Maori and others, and has made an important long-term stand against domestic violence.

For what it's worth, until Radio Sports changes its position on Wiki and this issue, I will no longer be listening to Radio Sport.

Nikki said...

Isn't the fact that Veitch was employed by Radio Sport even more reason to donate to Women's Refuge???

But yay for Reuben.

Anna McM said...

Good on Reuben W. I was talking about him with my partner this morning, and my partner reckons he is one of those who practices what he preaches - he doesn't engage in on-field thuggery.

I don't make a habit of listening to Radio Sport, but I did hear a bit after the ABs lost the world cup. I have to say that the announcers were pretty good. They were urging people not to be dicks, shout at the telly and set their kids a bad example, put things in perspective, etc. I found it quite refreshing!

Fidelbogen said...

I look forward to the day when it becomes openly acknowledged, in society at large, that men and women initiate domestic violence at equal rates.

And that most female violence is not in self-defense -- contrary to what certain advocacy groups have informed us.

The way some people talk, you'd think that men were the only violent ones. That seems a rather one-sided approach to the issues.

And not likely to solve anything either, in my opinion.

Until such politically inconvenient factors are admitted to the realm of public discourse, I can't honestly foresee any hopeful developments in the progressive evolution of society.

Anna McM said...

Fidelbogen - according to the family violence campaign figures, 14 women, 10 children and 6 men are killed every year in domestic violence incidents. Every now and then, a woman is convicted for violence resulting in the death of a child. This, of course, is utterly horrible. However, I can't remember a single case of a woman killing her partner other than that of Gay Oakes, who suffered years of violence at her husband's hands. How do you account for this?

Fidelbogen said...

I prefer not to look at the world through a quarter-inch tube.

I'm more into Dutton, Straus, Gelles, Steinmetz, Hamel, Archer, Fiebert and other such courageous luminaries of global intellect. How do we account for their accounts?

Erin Pizzey gets a hats-off from me as well. And how do we account for the death threats?