No means no

No means no

Monday, 6 January 2014

Bernardi's inevitable social inequality

What is needed is a reversal back to sanity and reason.”

These are words spoken by Cory Bernardi, extreme right-wing conservative senator with the Liberal National Party of Australia. How can words that could make so much sense have such a dire meaning when spoken by someone like Bernardi?

The problems with sanity and reason in our society today, Mr Bernardi, are with people like you.

Where is the sanity and reason in saying that you do not support abortion for a woman who has been brutally raped?

Where is the sanity and reason in perpetuating a culture that fosters and promotes rape?

What sanity and reason could there possibly be in the sentencing of a rapist to only one year in jail and then releasing him after only 9 months because he has suffered “hardness beyond imagine [sic]”? What reason is there for allowing the VICTIM to continue to suffer?

Where is the sanity and reason in saying that children “come into families as gifts, not commodities” when a child may be the result of rape and unwanted? Whose gift is that, Mr Bernadi?

According to Bernardi, "Competent social policy should be drafted by those who understand the primacy of natural law and who are able to see patterns in society." Who, exactly, will formulate this “competent social policy” that he refers to? Just what “natural law” is it that he is referring to, that turns a blind eye to rape of minors by alleged “men of god” and tries to cover it up, with help from so-called religious right wing political conservatives? Perhaps, before he advocates for the “primacy of natural law” he should better understand the term. There are a lot of excellent references.   

Natural law is not, as Bernardi seems to believe, founded on religion and marriage. There is no religion in natural law. It’s based on nature. There is no marriage in natural law. It existed since the start of the earth, millions of years before man. It appears Bernardi is confused between “natural law” and “positive law”, especially the Roman law of the Christian Roman Empire, insofar as he can equate it to his own ultra-conservative views of the world.

Rape is not natural. Rape is not reasonable. Rape is not sane. To suggest that any woman impregnated by a rapist who wants an abortion is then “pro-death” is a revolting accusation, and one that could only be made by someone who has never been held down and violated to the most private core of their being, an accusation that can only come from someone who has never cried and screamed and begged for their freedom and for the shame and shock and revulsion and violence to stop. Bernardi demonstrates, by his terminology and language and complete lack of insight, that he has absolutely no understanding, no empathy and no regard for a victim.

I might have some sympathy for your position, My Bernadi, if you showed the least bit of human feeling for the people you label so harshly. I might understand your position, Mr Bernardi, if I had ever seen you stand up and fight for the rights of girls and women to walk freely without fear of being molested; if you had ever spoken out in support of women who all too frequently endure beatings from husbands, fathers, brothers and men they’ve never even met; if you had ever supported harsher penalties for convicted rapists; if you had ever shown the least bit if disdain for Cardinal Pell and those within the church who perpetrated horrific crimes against children in their care.

Bernardi says "I believe that by stripping God and religious principles from our culture (and our politics) we have become a nation which does not know which port it is sailing to." Bernardi and his ilk have shown us just where we would be if we allowed their religious beliefs to pervade our culture and politics. We should be very, very grateful that we have a reasonably secular parliament. Bernardi’s religion allows no empathy. The support that exists now for all who have suffered this ultimate of traumas is, almost invariably, provided by other women. Bernardi’s goal to place women back into a controlled patriarchal environment would ultimately lead to the removal of funding for and access to that support. We have fought very hard to move away from such rigid religious and patriarchal structures in public life.  If we ever move back towards it, then not even Bernardi’s god will be able to help us.

Until Bernardi and his supporters prove that they will stand up for those of us who are victims and vulnerable without abrogating our rights in the process, then he and they will not dictate the terms by which we can reclaim some iota of control over our bodies. 

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