Why Scott Morrison’s ‘as a father’ comment about alleged rape is a problem
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is a fan of a catchphrase and a memorable slogan. This is the Prime Minister who eventually adopted the name “ScoMo”.
But on Tuesday, despite his clever words, he managed to say something not only ridiculous but also downright dangerous.
Speaking of news.com.au’s revelations on Monday that Liberal worker Brittany Higgins was allegedly raped by a Liberal worker in the House of Parliament, Morrison said speaking with his wife, Jenny, helped him “clear things up “.
“Jenny and I were talking last night and she said to me, ‘You have to think about this first as a father. What would you like to do if it were our girls? “Said Mr. Morrison.
“Jenny has an opportunity to sort things out. Has always. And so I thought about it overnight and listened to Brittany and what she had to say. “
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Those five words “as a father” and “our girls” made me so angry.
All women are important, no matter who they are. Why do we need to continue this conversation?
The language of “father first” and “our girls” is dangerous because it implies that women are only worthy if they are in some way special to a man. Is it my only worth to be bound to a man, am I not worthy of being respected myself?
Do men really need to picture a woman as a daughter before knowing that sexually assaulting her is unacceptable?
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The question also arises: what was our Prime Minister’s opinion on an alleged rape in the Parliament building before his wife Jenny explained it?
Surely our Prime Minister’s view should be that all women should feel safe from predators in their workplace, whether or not they are someone’s beloved daughter.
It feels as archaic as some of the other languages that deal with sexual assault on women, like “What did you wear?” and “how much did you have to drink?”
This undermines the main problem that nearly two million Australian adults have experienced at least one sexual assault.
The backlash against Mr. Morrison was quick, with #ScottyTheMysoginist trending Tuesday afternoon on Twitter, calling him “part of the problem”.
The satirical news website The Betoota Advocate posted some funny ideas about what ScoMo could do after “chatting” with Jenny.
It’s a backlash that Mr. Morrison deserves.
But there is a bigger problem here. Why did he choose this particular language? Was he trying to make the announcement of an investigation into alleged rape more palatable to loyal male liberal voters? If so, why does he think men can only condemn rape if it is so simplified?
Certainly in 2021 we are far from justifying why rape is unacceptable and have moved on to “How can we prevent men from rape women?” (97 percent of reported rapes in Australia are men and 82 percent of assault victims are women.)
If Mr Morrison has to think of his daughters to condemn rape, what message does that tell people? Brittany Higgins’ case should matter to people before they consider them someone’s daughter. It should matter because she was allegedly raped and is human.
Mr Morrison says “as a father” is a stupid way of telling Australia such an important issue, and it doesn’t do anything for women – we should take care of all women, whoever they are.
With that being said, maybe someone should tell Jenny about the two little Sri Lankan girls kept on Christmas Island, and Mr. Morrison could take care of them too.
Riah Matthews is the editor for news.com.au. Let me know below