Betrayers of Women, Parliamentary Edition

There are so many tried and true ways to discredit and disempower rape survivors – call them sluts or liars, question their wardrobe choices, ask why they didn’t fight back harder. But I believe ejecting them from Parliament is a truly novel approach.

Earlier today in New Zealand, two female MPs were thrown out after identifying themselves as survivors of sexual assault. Several others were told to sit down and be quiet.

The context was a debate over Australian detention and deportation of New Zealanders with criminal records. In response to opposition MPs’ concerns about this policy, NZ Prime Minister John Key melted down and accused them of “backing the rapists”. Several women in the room rose to demand an apology, some of them identifying themselves publicly as victims of sexual violence for the very first time.

Instead, Speaker David Carter, who later stated that he hadn’t heard what Key said, told them they were “flouting the rules”. He ejected two of them, leading to a walkout by several other MPs, including four men.

So: Even an elected office won’t get your rape allegations taken seriously, ladies. (But on the bright side, New Zealand has some kickass female MPs pushing for change.)


H/T: Golriz Ghahraman, my source for all things Antipodean.

Kate Cronin-Furman

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