No White Ribbon for John Key
17th December, 2015
Press Release: Action Station, Kyle MacDonald and Ken Clearwater MSSAT
Yesterday in a breakfast radio show stunt our Prime Minister John Key made light of sexual assault and sexual violence by joking about the rape of men in prison.
This is not the first time that the Prime Minister has shown his lack of sensitivity and understanding of sexual violence and abuse, in fact he has a clear track record of showing his lack of understanding of such matters.
“For me, it was the last straw” says Kyle MacDonald, psychotherapist and blogger. “I felt this time I had to take a stand, and the idea that someone with Key’s views on sexual violence and abuse should be an “ambassador” for the White Ribbon anti-violence campaign is, frankly, repugnant.”
Along with ActionStation, and with support from the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust, Kyle has set up a petition calling for the White Ribbon Campaign to dump John Key as an ambassador.
“It’s been less than two weeks since our petition calling on Key to apologise for his ‘backing rapist’ comments was tabled in Parliament,” says ActionStation National Director, Marianne Elliott, “and only a week since he apologised for those comments. Yet here he is again, trivialising sexual violence. Our members think it’s time the Prime Minister got a clear message that rape is not a joke.”
Ken Clearwater from the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust said he found the stunt “bloody appalling”.
“Rape is not a joke, full stop. Regardless of the gender of the victim. The psychological damage done to men and boys is the same as to women.”
The White Ribbon Campaign expects their Ambassadors to “embody the principles of the campaign” and they are chosen for “their willingness to challenge the behaviour of abusive men, and to convey key messages directly to their own communities.”
“I would certainly hope that John Key would not be treated any differently by the White Ribbon Campaign because he is the Prime Minister. The only question we should be asking is, does this behaviour uphold the principles of the White Ribbon Campaign?” says MacDonald. “If not, then he has to go. Personally I won’t be able to bring myself to support their campaigns in the future if he remains as an ambassador.”
Kyle MacDonald ph: 021 708 689
Ken Clearwater ph:03 377 6747
Marianne Elliott ph: 021 110 6086
I am a family violence survivor (not rape) and a clinical psychologist by original training, but I do not share your views on this topic. Yes, violence and anger is no joke, and Key was clearly blindsided by this inappropriate stunt. But the anger contained in your statement and the implied blackmail of the White ribbon campaign unless they do what you want is not appropriate either.
Implying motive to humour, no matter whether it is inappropriate or not, says as much about the person complaining as it does about the original incident. My advice, take a deep breath, and leave the political motivation at home. You may be a psychotherapist, but the implied argument from authority does you no credit.
Thanks for your feedback Peter. Of course if you don’t agree you are welcome to not sign the petition.