Reclaim the Night – James Cook Univeristy style

Reclaim the Night (RTN) marches have been a feature of the feminist landscape since the 1970s. In the city of Townsville in Queensland, in recent years the attendances have been limited, mainly comprising the same core group of radical feminists, and generally the event passed with minimal interest or public acknowledgement.

This year the traditional event organisers, the Women’s Centre Townsville, were ready to cancel the event because new government funding arrangements require that they spend a specified part of their budget on helping clients directly rather than spreading feminist propaganda at government expense. The ball was passed to the hotbed of feminist dogma, the James Cook University Social Work Department. An organising committee of social work student’s feminist-fundamentalist indoctrinates took on the challenge with gusto. They established a Facebook page replete with many examples of man-hating, gender profiling, all men are rapists type rhetoric and gained a modest online following.

01_Stop rape poster

One of their first posts was a recycling of the “classic” stop rape poster, with 10 tips for men, including “don’t rape,” “if you are in a lift and a women gets in don’t rape her” and “when you see a women walking by herself leave her alone,” etc. It’s a sad but unsurprising reflection on James Cook University and their education of social workers that these students show so little understanding of basic human psychology, psychopathology, and behaviour. Just as it is little comfort to victims, that his type of rhetoric forms the core of their approach to the serious issues of sexual assault, which modern gender inclusive research shows affects both women and men in considerable numbers.

It is highly unlikely, for example, that these students would have read When Women Sexually Abuse Men: The Hidden Side of Rape, Stalking, Harassment, and Sexual Assault by Philip W. Cook and Tammy L. Hodo, let alone be aware of the sound research on which it is based. Nor are they apparently aware that in the cohort of school and university students to which they belong, both Australian and international research shows high levels of bidirectional IPV, female-perpetrated IPV and significant rates of “unwanted sex” (always rape in the feminist mind) reported by males (1 in 3).

Amongst the posts on the page were those clearly advocating violence or sexual violence as a remedy for male rapists or potential rapists (but not female rapists who are not acknowledged as existing).

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For example a quote from Billie Joe Armstrong encourages “Ladies, if someone touches you and you don’t want them to, feel free to punch them in the fucking face.” The idea of crushing the testicles of male rapists” was posted with the moderator asking for thoughts and getting several likes but no condemnation as a barbaric practice best left to its place in ancient history:

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In early September a troll posted a rape threat against the organiser on their Facebook page, and later the organiser alleged that a threatening note was placed on the windshield of her car. The incidents were reported to the police and by the media and you can read about it in this PDF file.

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Surprisingly, our police, who have an exceptional record with identifying cyber crimes including paedophile rings, grooming activity and hate attacks on sites such as Facebook, have yet to identify a culprit for this trolling. The personal distress of the young women targeted aside, these events were fortuitous in terms of publicity and raising the public profile of their site/cause.

James Cook University’s involvement prompted me to survey the Reclaim the Night Townsville Facebook page. The patent misandry emanating from JCU Social Work Department via Professors such as Betty McLellan (of Radfem Hub and Perth SCUM Conference fame) has been previously documented here, here, here and here.

I wrote in response to the media coverage to the local newspaper:

I hope that whoever is responsible for threats against the JCU student organinsing the Reclaim The Night event in Townsville is identified and prosecuted.

Reclaim The Night and the discipline of social work are grounded in ideological feminist theory, which holds that all men are collectively responsible for the criminal actions of a tiny minority whilst minimising or denying that some women also perpetrate sexual abuse and rape.

It is claimed that we live in a rape culture where toxic masculinity encourages and condones the sexual assault. Males are by default rapists and must be taught not to rape.

The Townsville Reclaim the Night Facebook page infers that this scenario has become the “social norm.” I don’t see it that way, any incidents of sexual assault being widely condemned by men and women alike.

The event focuses only on men’s violence against women. Male victims and female victims of other women’s violence are excluded. Why in a society that promotes gender equality should any victim be less deserving of compassion?

The extent of sexual abuse of boys and young men in the military and religious institutions in Australia has recently been exposed. Prison rape where victims are predominantly male is laughed off as adding deterrent effect to imprisonment.

Reports of female care givers and teachers engaging in sexual acts with underage boys are increasingly common. In such cases social norms promote a view of the victim as lucky to be abused. Female perpetrators receive significantly lighter sentences than men. False accusations of sexual harassment or assault are an increasing problem that impedes the quest for justice for true victims.

The Secondary Students Survey of Sexual Health 2008 reported that among young people who experienced sex when they did not want to, one third were male.

Reclaim The Night’s anti-male rhetoric is in my view counterproductive to dealing with the very serious and non-gendered issues of violence and sexual assault. One post on their page promotes sexual violence as a remedy for sexual violence by canvassing the idea of crushing the testicles of male rapists.

Men of Townsville are apparently equal enough to attend the Reclaim The Night rally but women and children only are allowed to march. Perhaps there’s a message in that and it’s not one of inclusivity or equal compassion for victims regardless of gender.

Dr Greg Canning

Hermit Park

The Townsville Bulletin is to be commended for publishing the letter under the headline “RAPE HAS NO GENDER”:

06_Letter TB 10 Sept 2013

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Unlike the previous media coverage, my letter did not rate a mention on the Reclaim the Night Facebook page, but did without any comment lead them to remove the violence promoting posts mentioned above, as if that makes any real difference to the general demeanour of the page!

Certainly the same cannot be said following the news about an AVFM sticker appearing on the front door of the Spinifex Press office. Indeed the Reclaim the Night Facebook page posted about this on their wall, complete with the same image that appeared in the DailyLife story well before the story made the mainstream media and later shared the links to that story via a post on “Destroy the Joint.”

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This is not surprising as the ties between Spinifex and JCU are close, Susan Hawthorne is a director of Spinifex Press, Adjunct Professor in the Writing Program at James Cook University, and was also a Perth SCUM Conference presenter and Radfem Hub Contributor. Betty McLellan has had a number of her works published by Spinifex.

What is surprising is that these posts have now been removed from the Reclaim the Night Facebook page.

The amount of hate mail I receive increased sharply after this exposure and along with the usual comments suggesting the world would be better of if I were dead or had my testicles removed, one inventive hater felt that everyone in local area should know that I was a “misogynist grunter” and by doing so she could see my business destroyed and me forced into poverty.

Although I missed the action, apparently there was quite a bit of anti-male hate expressed on the page in the aftermath of rally and march, with several complaints voiced by more well-intentioned followers. Although now deleted, some posts of apology remain in the “posts by others section.”

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Cassie Chadc (an alias for Cassie Watter) who was one of the keynote speakers at the Reclaim The Night rally and according to her Facebook page is the owner of the Child Health and Development Centre, a “Multi-disciplinary allied health team” catering for children here in Townsville  posted her views on me to the group.

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Following the Regain the Night rally photos of the event were shared on Facebook. Watter shared an image of 2 men who attended the rally who were standing at the back listening, with the caption: “Please look at this photo. Do you know these men? If so, please let me know. If not, please share widely!!.,”

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Given the rally was a public event to which men were invited I can only assume Watters motive is one of gender profiling; after all. was not the reason for the rally to have people listen?  She did not respond to a private message asking her to explain her intent in sharing the image with that question, what she would do if able to identify the men, or why this particular image should be shared widely.

Personally I find the idea of having a gender ideologue such as Watter, with ties to the underbelly of the radical feminist hate movement, being responsible for young children, especially male children, very concerning. The number of such ideologues in areas such as health, welfare and teaching is growing, as is the anti-male bias in these areas and disconnect between the sexes generally.

Breaking the stranglehold of feminist influence in education in general and higher education in particular is a key aim of the growing men’s human rights movement, the importance of which is illustrated by events such as this and  those regularly reported  occurring in Canada, the USA and elsewhere.

Interestingly at the recent National Men’s Health Conference I had the opportunity to talk to many male social workers and several male and female psychologists who confirmed the entrenched anti-male sentiment experienced during their undergraduate studies in these disciplines, as well as the very low representation of males in these courses.

One social worker related an incident where another student, tired of his trying to give a male perspective in class, called out “you just don’t get it do you, we don’t fucking care about men”. The comment was applauded by the mostly female group and not questioned by the lecturer. A current mature age social work student needed to approach the department head to be reluctantly “allowed” to undertake a project on male victims of domestic violence, his proposal being rejected by the subject and course coordinators.

The New Male Studies courses starting next year will be a key driver of the process of injecting some gender inclusivity and unbiased academic rigor into Australian higher education around gender issues. Regrettably, bastions of radical feminism such as JCU Social Work are likely to remain impervious to inclusivity, evidence and common sense for many years to come.

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