Tena korua John and Willie
Yesterday we were sent the link to your radio programme of your discussion with ‘Amy’. Listening to your programme is a rare event in both of our whare. Why? Because the views you espouse are on the whole conservative, often ignorant and nearly always sexist. So we are not surprised with the misogynistic undertones of how you spoke to ‘Amy’.
What is saddening is the fact that you seem to have absolutely no awareness or experience of the impact of rape on the lives of it’s victims and survivors.
What is disturbing is that you show no empathy for the pain and ongoing distress caused by sexual violence on entire whanau.
What is alarming is that with all the involvement you have in providing programmes within urban Maori communities that you remain ignorant of the destruction caused by rape culture.
What is disconcerting is that you have no sense of understanding for how difficult it is to talk to others about being raped, about sexual violence, about family violence let alone what it means to be 14, 15 or 16 years old.
What is disgusting is that you seem to revel in the deep-seated ignorance on these issues.
Rape, whether it be of a woman abducted, or of a mother catching a bus home after work, or of a young woman out for drinks with her friends, or of any woman in her own home by someone she knows – is rape.
Rape, John and Willie, is rape.
Rape, John, is not about “how free and easy are you kids out there these days”.
Rape, Willie, is not about how you are too young to have a drink out with friends.
Rape has nothing to do with if they are good looking. ‘Good looking’ men rape too Willie.
Rape – John and Willie – is rape.
Your continual use of media to promote sexist, anti-Maori women sentiments, and rape culture can only be a reflection of your own beliefs about women. There is no other reason for the flow of misogynistic diatribe that falls so easily from your mouths.
This is not the first time that you have both supported rapists or deeply offensive sexist behaviour. It is a consistent activity on your part. Dismissal of women, marginalisation of Maori women and the promotion of male supremacy is commonplace on your shows and in your commentary. This is not the first time we have called you out on that.
These girls and young women are peoples’ friends, daughters, sisters, cousins, grandaughters. Women raped by those men you support and promote are daughters, sisters, cousins, grandaughters. That is what you are promoting Willy and John. You are supporting and promoting a rape culture that lays blame at the feet of those women who should in society be free to have a drink, wear whatever they wish, go out with friends and feel safe to do so.
You need to think of all the women in your whanau and in your circles, John and Willie. You need to see the act of rape as an act of abuse, an act of power and an act that instills fear, and act that impacts on all women, on all wahine Maori including all those wahine within your own whanau. Perhaps then you would be less dismissive of their pain and less promoting of the violent acts being perpetuated everyday on our wahine.
There were some pertinent questions you could have asked yesterday to instead call our rape culture, our systemic enforcement of it and our everyday sexism to account. We never expected this of you both because that takes real journalism.
Both of you alongside Radio Live AT THE LEAST owe a formal full and unconditional apology to all who have experienced sexual abuse and rape. You owe an apology to their families. You owe an apology to any human who has been disgusted by your remarks yesterday and your attitude towards ‘Amy’ and all like her.
Yesterday we put out a public call to Radio Live for Marama Davidson to talk on your show but not to debate the validity of your attitude. There is no argument there. You are simply wrong and likely to have caused further harm to any person triggered by your ignorance. We would have appreciated the chance to be a voice to unpick that harm and call you to account and most importanly, to stand in support of ‘Amy’ and all like her. We are still waiting for your invite……..
We hope you have the sense to reflect on your actions. We hope you and Radio Live at the least offer a formal apology.
Te Wharepora Hou Maori Women’s Group
Dr Leonie Pihama and Marama Davidson
021 025 88302
UPDATE 08 Nov. Support for survivors and whanau:
Te Wharepora Hou are grateful for the many stories shared by people here in response to this Open Letter. Your generosity allows us to remain informed of the challenges that people face in dealing with rape and sexual abuse of any kind. Many of your experiences and questions require professional services to provide the appropriate support. We would encourage people to approach any of the agencies as a starting point that are listed on this Wellington Rape Crisis website.
Media follow on:
Radio NZ Morning Report panel discussion from Friday 08 Nov with Marama Davidson, Dr Kim McGregor and Russell Smith.
Te Kaea news interview from Tuesday 05 Nov with Marama Davidson.