I have a strange little story, an interesting side-show to the bombardment I am receiving in the press.
The main accusation against me, from Victoria Attorney General Jill Hennessy, Rosie Batty and numerous media commentators, is that my views are an insult to victims of sexual abuse.
That’s pretty funny really because that’s exactly what I am – a victim of sexual abuse. Fifty years ago, as a nineteen-year old university student, I was one of many victims of a Canberra doctor who fiddled with me in his surgery and was eventually charged with molesting his patients.
I’ve never chosen to see myself as a victim, but I have had enough of people like Hennessy telling us how we are allowed to talk about such experiences. In 1997 I wrote a long newspaper article in the SMH talking about what that doctor did to me, outlining the complexities of his case, why a judge and then the full court determined he should not be charged, and how I felt about that.
Now selected quotes from that article are being used as part of the endless media pile-on, as feminists react to news of my award. The usual suspects, particularly Nina Funnell, have spent the past fortnight dishing out dirt about me. The story of the Canberra doctor is classic of their tactics – picking unrelated phrases from my writing to try and show me in the worst possible light.
So, this was a quote in an article about me, co-authored by Nina Funnell and published in New Matilda on Australia Day weekend:
In 1997 Ms Arndt defended a Canberra doctor who had molested multiple patients, including a 12 year old child, arguing that the sex offender should not be charged over the molestations, because in another context masturbating a person would be a “loving and pleasurable” act.
Notice how deceptively the authors fail to acknowledge I was a victim of this man – because that would have undermined their argument that my views are damaging to sex abuse victims.
Now let me tell you what actually happened. I went to see this unknown doctor because I thought I might be pregnant and picked a medical practitioner working on the other side of town from my parents, as teenage girls tend to do.
He suggested an orgasm might be just the thing to bring on my period and in a detached, professional manner he proceeded to try, unsuccessfully, to achieve just that with his fingers. I thought it was a bit odd at the time, but it wasn’t a big deal for me, and I barely thought about the experience until a quarter of a century later, when the first accusations appeared in the press about the doctor.
In 1994, 13 women laid sexual assault charges against him. A judge ultimately granted a permanent stay on the proceedings, noting that by then the man had retired from medical practice. The Judge said he would be prejudiced by the long delay and relevant medical records had been destroyed. A full court supported that decision.
Then, amazingly the doctor sent a written apology to two of the victims, expressing his grief that he had caused them pain and suffering. I ended up interviewing a number of his victims, some of whom said an apology was all they wanted from the man. That’s what my long, careful article was all about. What do victims want from a perpetrator? Is an apology ever enough?
I urge everyone to please read it – it’s here, on my website. I agreed with some of the victims who said that because he’d given an apology, and was no longer in practice, that was enough for them. That said, I clearly spelt out in detail how important it is to prosecute and remove from practice doctors who betray their patients’ trust.
But I breached the feminist playbook by suggesting there’s a difference between violent rape and what this man did to me. That happens to be the truth as far as the outcome of such experiences on victims, as the research clearly shows.
Feminists are forcing us all to lie and pretend all sexual offences are equally damaging – even though the psychological literature clearly shows victim impact and recovery is very much related to the type of offence, as well as many other factors. It’s been wonderful this week to hear from so many psychologists applauding me for daring to speak out about the silencing of this type of research.
I’ve made a video about the Canberra doctor story. I have every right to define my own experiences and to write about them without zealots distorting what I say and shutting down conversations about these important topics. They are deliberately creating moral panic to fuel the outrage industry with their ill-informed, ideologically driven misinformation. Here’s the video. Please help me circulate that.
Report Nina Funnell to the Press Council
This weekend the ABC has another major smear job on me– once again using “pedo defender” smear based on the video about Bester. I have explained the background to that video many times, but I’m now posting the whole interview again here so you can judge it for yourselves. I can assure you, there is a lot more to this story than meets the eye and it is a pity that the ABC doesn’t do its homework to check the facts rather than publish blatant untruths.
This whole malicious campaign is being organised by Nina Funnell from End Rape on Campus. A kind supporter from Israel has kindly put together a simple one click link you can use to report her unfair, unbalanced reporting to the Press Council. Please support me by using the link. It’s very simple. Alternatively you can go to the Press Council page and fill in their complaint form attaching this evidence.
He prepared another one for the health regulators AHPRA about the beat-up over my qualifications. Please get as many people as you can to send in both of these. If you have time to use this material to craft your own letters, that is even better.
A big welcome to my new volunteers.
I’m hearing from so many people supporting what I am doing, including some very well- known and respected folk. I loved these words from the wonderful cartoonist Michael Leunig: “Your perspective on gender issues is wise, sane, insightful, valuable and very much needed in our narrowing ailing culture.”
We are being totally swamped with people writing from across the country, wanting to help with my campaigns. Please be patient. We are setting up new systems to keep track of everyone and work out how to employ their talents.
Telling the truth about domestic violence
One of our first projects will be to tackle the endless misinformation about domestic violence. One of my team recently attended a meeting of his local council, which is promoting the usual male-bashing DV propaganda. He started asking questions and was thrown out of the meeting. But later a council member then came up to him and asked for proper information.
That inspired us to start thinking about putting together some simple leaflets, which summarise the true statistics and research about domestic violence, providing links to the huge volume of research on the subject. I’ve had printers volunteer to help with providing copies of this type of material, so we might have printed versions to send out as well as emailed material.
Your first job is to keep an eye on your local community for organisations you can approach once we have the information available. We’re talking about councils, community groups, corporations promoting White Ribbon and other similar anti-male DV campaigns. Don’t send anything to us. Just sit tight until we have the information ready for you to use.
That’s it for now. Cheers, Tina
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