Saturday 21 June 2008

Women? Not the winner on the day

I'm don't follow rugby; I'm not an All Black supporter. I understand that there are pressing issues facing those who are, such as the rotation policy (hell I'm impressed that I know what that means). But, right now, there is a more pressing issue. This is the statement that Graham Henry gave about the English Rugby team:*
I don't know what the details are, but I know there's a bit going on. You don't want any sporting team to be going through those situations. You live in that sort of life yourselves – in the international sporting environment. I think you've got a lot of sympathy for people who go through that situation. Certainly you just like to be supportive.
Who is he supporting? What is the situation?

There are two ways to parse his statement. Either he's saying that there's not possibility that the woman was raped, and being accused of rape is part of the international sporting environment. Or he's allowing for the possibility of rape, but he's supporting them anyway.

Neither of those options should be acceptable. That the coach of the All Blacks can say this, and no-one mentions anything except about the match tomorrow night, shows just how far we haven't come. As Anna McM says, rugby culture in our society has a large role in upholding rape culture. The question I have, particularly for those who play or watch rugby, is how do we change that?

Note for the comments: I will be moderating this thread hard. No rape myths, no misogyny, nothing about the woman involved.

*For those who don't know the police adult sexual assault team want to question four England players.


Nigel Kearney said...

Isn't it possible he was referring to feeling sympathy for the England team as a whole, rather than for the individuals involved in the incident?

I think it would be tough to be in a small group like that, where some members of the group are accused of a serious crime but the public don't know who they are or what actually happened. And then they have to play the All Blacks as well.

Julie said...

If that's the case Nigel then perhaps Henry could have explicitly said that? Rather than basically diminishing any allegations to the level of a distraction?

Or maybe he could have said "no comment"? Henry isn't exactly some naive newbie who has never dealt with the media before.

I've actually always had a lot of time for Henry as a coach and was glad we didn't change horses (yet again) after the World Cup loss. But with these comments he looks like he too has bought into the idea that international rugby players are somehow above the law, and that they can elude reponsibility for their actions as a result.

Anna said...

I do feel like there's some implicit support for the four in question from their own team, which makes me uneasy. I really feel the team should cease to comment and leave it in the hands of the Police.

Anonymous said...

Henry shouldn't have said a word on the subject.

We know these guys aren't going to be convicted, what ever happened.

Was she star struck, and then too drunk to say no; or Star struck and the boys 'got carried away'.

Either way she loses.


Joanna said...

Was she star struck, and then too drunk to say no; or Star struck and the boys 'got carried away'.

Being too drunk to say no should automatically mean "no" anyway. and uuuuuuugh to the expression "got carried away".

And also uggggh to 'Angel' who said "oh maybe she just had too much to drink" about the other girl. Just ugh in general.

Anonymous said...

Joanna, I'm just cringing for some rape apologist to drop by and suggest that she was "hot for it".

After all, there's no such thing as pack rape here in NZ... cos it's every kiwi gal's closet fantasy to be gang banged by a group of big bad beefy boyz...

And it's only natural to get shit-faced to overcome their inhibitions to act out on those secret desires.

Yeh right?

Anonymous said...

It makes me really sad how totally unsurprised I am when I hear about rugby players being accused of rape. Followed in quick succession by the usual suspects and their rape-myth bullshit.

Anonymous said...


I wasn't excusing it, but reflecting views that do.

Now reports are that she went to hospital after that night. Explains why the boyfriend called the cops.

Anyone else feeling sick?


Anonymous said...

Urgh, I take a three-day weekend and look what happens... ><

Julie- you're absolutely right on the drunk consent front. I'd like to give people a piece of my mind for thinking that's okay. Maybe it deserves a ranting blog post ;)

I have to say that "getting carried away" is the worst rape euphemism that comes to mind, Shep. I have a feeling that's due to a lack of imagination, though.

Anonymous said...

'No comment' would not be good enough - it would be basically condoning rape by refusing to condemn it.

Whatever the results of the police investigation, both the members of the England team and the English Rugby Club need to be pro-active and expel the offending players, and then make a public apology to the woman concerned. They should also invite women to come forward and assist them in investigating past incidences of rape. If only they saw this as an opportunity to remove racists from their community rather than an incentive to circle the wagons. Won't ever happen though.