Where Has Morality Gone?

There is a big story in Australia at the moment regarding sex scandals between groups of professional, high profile sportsmen and young women who participate in “consensual” group sex with these sportsmen.

Not all incidents are evidently consensual though. The ABC’s current affairs programme Four Corners looked into the way NRL (National Rugby League) players conduct themselves off-field and their attitudes to alcohol and women.

I’ve been reading the transcript of the Four Corners programme and my word, some of the reading is disgusting.

Some of the behaviour highlighted is beyond belief. One of the teams season launches (the Manly Sea Eagles) was so fuelled with bad drunken behaviour, I found myself slack-jawed reading about it. There was an incident involving Sea Eagles player Anthony Watmough in which he was at the ceremony badly intoxicated and was abusive to one young lady – apparently for the appalling reason that she couldn’t remember his name and didn’t recognise him as the “famous footy player” he so believed he is! He then went on to verbally abuse her to her own father, saying “How could you let her leave the house dressed like that?” (for obviously Mr Watmough believed her to be scantily clad) and then proceeded to punch him!!

Another incident highlighted saw team members from a different club behave in a disorderly fashion at a University campus. What’s wrong with that? I hear you ask. Well, not anything especially, other than the players had absolutely no reason to be AT the campus, and one helped himself to trying to sexually abuse a young woman who was sleeping in her dorm. Yes, she was intoxicated herself, but she was in her OWN private dorm, asleep! She didn’t invite him back to her dorm, she didn’t consent to anything. She was asleep in her dorm, and this player just walked into her room and assaulted her!

Another incident saw a group of players take back a “footy groupie” to a hotel room and forced her to perform oral sex on several players whilst being filmed on mobile phones. She was actually told to say that she’d given her consent to the sex acts, TO camera!!

A woman who was involved in arranging “groupy” meetings with footballers on Facebook said that one of the men present told her about the incident. She wanted to know if she knew the woman and so asked the player who she was. He replied “oh, just some slurry from around Cronulla.” (Cronulla is a suburb in Sydney’s south.)

One of the biggest stories to surface in recent years was an incident that happened with members of the Canterbury Bulldogs team in 2004. It was during an away game which saw players staying at a Coffs Harbour resort involved in a group sex act with a young woman. There was an investigation. Team members were interviewed, but no charges were laid. There didn’t appear to be any indication the group sex was consensual, and the woman in question was insulted by the players and discarded.

Roy Masters, sports writer and former NRL coach, seemed to believe that players participated in group sex activities as part of a “bonding exercise”. That is the most unbelievably disgusting excuse I’ve ever heard. By way of airing that opinion it is tantamount to condoning it!

Four Corners revealed that two years before the Bulldogs sex scandal, there was another sex scandal that took place while (surprise, surprise, given their high regard for women) the Cronulla Sharks team were on tour in New Zealand.

Four Corners spoke to a woman they referred to as “Clare”. She told the programme she was invited back to one of the players rooms. She was initially accompanied by two players. What was to follow was (in her testimony) NON-consensual group sex. She described aspects of the incident in detail, including mauling and mass fondling of her body and having players sexual organs probed and rammed into her face. Players were either having intercourse with her, sexually abusing her in some other way, or in the room masturbating over what was taking place. Clare was 19 years old at the time.

Over the last seven years she has had a severe alcohol problem, has been suicidal and now has to bare the brunt of Australian public opinion, in which a vast swathe just believe her to be a whore, a trouble-maker and someone who, quite frankly, deserved what she got!

I think that is absolutely disgusting. Clare named one player in particular that she remembered from the ordeal, Matthew Johns. Given what I’ve seen in the past, not the brightest colour in the crayon set. He is now an ex-player and has a role in presenting a tawdry television programme, called The Footy Show, based loosely on discussing the weeks football (NRL), but more about juvenile antics and supposed “funny” segments. Johns has an alter ego on the show called Reg Reagan. From what I’ve seen he’s as about as funny as a tooth canal. What classes for humour in my country of birth sometimes leaves me in despair. But to each their own, I suppose.

Mr Johns doesn’t deny being involved in the incident. In fact, he admits to having sex with her! And he’s a married man, but that’s okay, all is forgiven. But if he had a modicum of decency, he’d at least reveal who the other team members were in the room with him. Oh, but no, he’s keeping schtum, so is his team-mate Brett Firman, who also admits to having sex with Clare. But in a rather un-team-like manner, all other members are keeping quiet and not revealing their involvement.

There was a police investigation at the time in New Zealand, and no charges were laid.

Last week Mr Johns made some pathetic statement about the accusations raised in the Four Corners programme and subsequently through the rest of the TV and print media.

You can’t say sorry enough. Maybe to your family, but absolutely nothing to Clare. Nothing like “If I have caused upset, anguish and pain to the lady involved, I unreservedly apologise”. No, nothing like that. What a man, eh?! What a hero!! Co-host Paul “Fatty” Vautin goes on to say, after the statement, “Alright mate, well said. Alright, let’s get on with the show”. FFS! That’s disgusting.

Channel Nine (makers of the Footy Show) then stood Johns down from his presenting role. Some sanity prevailed.

Sadly, you only have to see the comments on the YouTube clip, and the numerous Facebook groups to know that the tide of support is behind Johns.

One of the most eye-opening things in this whole Four Corners report was the attitude the younger players were shown to have in reference to sexual abuse on woman and men. Shown two video clips in which in the first incident a woman goes to a hotel room with two players, has consensual sex with one, but gets raped by the other, the general consensus by the players was “She put out first”. So the fact that she had consensual sex with the first man didn’t justify her saying “NO” to the second. Other comments went “She flirted with them both.” That, basically, she asked for it! Nice! Asked whether they thought the players might face consequences, the opinion of the players was that male number two (the rapist) might, but male number one (the seemingly consensual participant) might “get away with it” depending “how good his lawyer is” says one player!! My word!

Given a second video to watch in which a drunken man is raped by a member of the same sex, the opinions and views of the young players changes somewhat. I don’t think I need to explain that in this incidence all the players realise that what happened was unjustified, immorally wrong, and actually WAS rape. One player, having a particular epiphany says “You don’t really ask for trouble if you have too much to drink and get raped by a bloke. You don’t ask for that.”

REALLY?

One of the older players there, showing the videos says to the young men “Can we see that there’s some sort of double standard that may apply here? The girl’s gone out to have a drink. No one said that she didn’t ask for it but yet the male goes out and has a drink and it’s crystal clear that he didn’t ask for it.”

Lord help me I can hear the groans of realisation and epiphanies as I type.

I rest my case.

Bird Calls & People Watching.

We went into the town centre yesterday. Em had an electrolysis appointment and I wanted to get to the local Snappy Snaps photo store to get my passport photos done.

 

I went to Snappy Snaps, approached the guy at the counter saying I wanted passport photos for my Oz passport done. He said “no probs”. He grabbed a folder to look up the specs of the photos. I said to him that I had the info he needed on photo spec with me. He looked at it and again said “Yep. No problem. I’ll just grab my camera.” It cost me £5.49 – only slightly more expensive than the photo booth, which was surprising! He took me through to a room in the back. I stood against a white wall and he fired away. Shot done! I was surprised how quick it was. Quicker than a photo booth actually!! He gave me a receipt and said my photos would be ready in about 20 minutes.

 

Em went off to her appointment and I had some time to kill to wait for her return.

 

I had a look in WH Smith (newsagent/book store) and remembered it would be Mother’s Day in Oz soon. Unlike other years when I was canny enough to project forward on Brit Mother’s Day (which is in March), and buy mum a card at the same time we buy Em’s mum one – this year I forgot. Not a Mother’s Day card to be seen now!! So I thought of buying a blank card and “Mother’s Day-ing” it up! I got her a lovely looking blank card which most looked like it could work for Mother’s Day – an image of a cat, relaxing asleep on a pile of cushions. I thought I could have some kind of “relax and take it easy on Mother’s Day” sentiment in the card 🙂

 

From there I had a look around Evans (the big ladies clothes store). Went to the cheap rack, but there wasn’t really anything there. I just meandered for a bit.

 

I went off back to Snappy Snaps to collect my photos. He showed me them. I looked like death! But they looked to be the right spec and all. He cut them to size for me and that was it, job done.

 

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I then went round to the post office to send my application off. The queue wasn’t too bad. But I go to the post office in town SO infrequently that I didn’t realise that when they renovated the shop, they took away most of the counter with the pens on chains FFS! The only “counter” with a pen-chain was the little lottery stand by the door. I had to stand at the lottery stand and work out all my passport stuff there. It was a NIGHTMARE. There are some counters inside the store, but there are no pen-chains on them! I was NOT going to buy a pen. And I didn’t have one with me.

 

So there I was for 10 minutes, balancing everything on an oval writing surface the size of a small cooking dish, while I wrote my name on the back of one of the photos and wrote out the address on the envelope. Thankfully I was served quickly and the letter was on its way. I hope everything is in order with the paperwork. I don’t want it to be sent back ‘cos it’s wrong and I end up having to go into London anyway!!

 

After that, I went back into the mall and went to the supermarket to stock up on UHT milk. I still had LOADS of time to kill so then went to the department store and had a couple of flavoured steamed milks. Then I just sat on a seat in the middle of the mall and people watched for over an hour! Gawd, it drove me crazy! I get really into it. Watching people’s faces. Looking at among the hoards if there is anyone I fancy, or looks good. It’s SO bad!

 

When Em came around the corner to rejoin me I was in a reverie about how I’d feel when I finally saw her coming to rescue me from the people watch. There was only one other time I was SO relieved to see someone. I was at Liverpool RTA (Roads and Traffic Authority) getting a “proof of age” card (the RTA handle issuing driver’s licenses – akin to the DVLA in the UK). My then boyfriend Roger had dropped me off. He was meant to be picking me up 30 mins later. I can’t remember what happened. I think his car broke down or something. It was before the age of the mobile phone and I had ZERO money on me to call from a phone box. And I dare not walk off in case he arrived and couldn’t find me. I was there for TWO HOURS! When he finally showed up, I was SO relieved. The RTA is not in the centre of Liverpool. It’s a little way out of the CBD, so I couldn’t occupy my mind by looking around shops in a mall or anything. It was just on a highway. All I could do was watch cars fly by at 60mph.

 

While I’m thinking all this, Em comes round the corner, sees me in my reverie and looks all forlorn and feels sorry for me. I wake from reverie to notice her notice me and I felt bad ‘cos I’d lost expressing the joy I knew I was going to feel once I’d seen her turn the corner! The moment was lost. But I’m sure my expression when Em saw me was priceless.

 

Before we left yesterday, we were being serenaded by a chaffinch outside. I tried to pinpoint where he was. I could see him, but I could definitely hear him! I found him, sitting at the top of the oak tree. I’d just reached for the binoculars to have a look when he up and left. I swear birds have a some kind of binocular sensor built in! I’d just literally got hold of them and was about to put them to my eyes when off he flew!

 

Anyway, he’s been at it again today. Serenading us. I’ve been able to hear him alright, but visually he’s being even MORE elusive than yesterday! They are such a gorgeous bird to look at too. Wish I could see him as well as hear him. We got a sample of him singing on the camera.

 

Caffinch call click to play.

 

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This isn’t “our” one. It’s just a pic of one so I could show you how pretty they are.

Reyne Down Retribution!

I’d just got myself the best of Australian Crawl and I’d tweeted saying that I didn’t really understand some of the words to the songs because of singer James Reyne unusual singing style. He sings in a bizarre accent that makes it hard to decipher the songs lyrics sometimes.

It lead me to go off on a tangent. Firstly to check the spelling of his surname, then onto Wikipedia for some interesting facts about him (like he was born in Nigeria). It said that his son appeared in Neighbours. I clicked on his sons name to see what character in Neighbours he played, and when…when I was presented with this page…

Ooh, that's not nice!

Somebody out there obviously does NOT like Jaime Robbie Reyne. Naughty, naughty 🙂

Just in case you are having trouble reading it, under the description of the article it describes Jaime as an Australian “jerk, asshole, wanker”.

Under “Acting Career” it reads “Jaime is a shit actor”, and under “Music Career” it reads “Jaime is a shit musician”. Whoops!

Australian Red Cross, Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

I don’t ever really do this on my blog, but this is an exception. Please, if you can, make a donation to the Australian Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal. A minimum donation of $A5.00 is required for online donations. Please donate whatever you can by clicking the link below.

Australian Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

The (Sun) Burnt Country.

Bush fires in Australia have now, so far claimed 84 lives. Scenes like this now shower the Oz landscape once more. Not the image Colin Hay was thinking of, surely, when he wrote the lyrics to Down Under. “Travelling in a fried-out Combi”.

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What makes the decimation and loss of life worse is knowing most of the bush fires have been attacks of arson. When will these people learn? I hope the law that I know was brought into New South Wales under the Carr government still exists and is now nationwide and the culprits get caught and sentenced for what I think is now a minimum 15 year jail term. It is the very least they deserve.

My heart goes out to the families that have lost loved ones. I hope that soon relief, at least weather-wise, will come your way.

White Valentine’s Day?!

http://www.facebook.com/v/75244359744

Here’s the scene in Luton this morning. Yet more bloomin’ snow. I know I shouldn’t complain. It’s lovely really, and it doesn’t inconvenience me like it does many others. It’s just that it’s so FREEZING cold! But I’d much prefer it to sitting in 43 degree heat, like my family and peeps in Sydney are.

I did some online grocery shopping for my mum the previous day. She had it delivered this morning, Oz time and she was telling it was already in the 30’s, and that was at 8am!! Lord almighty!! So glad I don’t have to suffer Oz summers any more.

Channel 7 Sydney (and Regional) Closing Down Film.

There are adverts before it, but if you want to skip straight to the closing down sequence it starts at 2 minutes 8 seconds.

I absolutely adored this little sign-off that Channel 7 in Sydney used to do in the 80’s. I used to wait up purposefully to catch it. Thank you to FrozenDobermanfor uploading the video. I hope it doesn’t get taken down.