Contrary to the cries from the football panels, we all know that rape is one of the great-untold stories. It's astounding how this litany of violence against women has been hidden away. Whatever the truth of the rape allegations that have rocked the AFL and the ARL recently; the commentaries from the football world have left a lot to be desired.
Let's state the facts. There is no evidence that men are the victims of women who lie about rape or that men are unable to differentiate between consensual sex and rape. Retelling stories about women allegedly chasing footballers for sex - as many men did in the aftermath of the allegations and Nine's The Footy Show did again on Thursday night - only plays to the lies and the myths. Even St Kilda coach Grant Thomas, a father of eight who'd no doubt take a dim view of anyone messing with his daughters, fell to these myths when he originally said the allegations against two of his players would 'galvanise' the club. Thankfully he adopted a more considered position in subsequent interviews.
Throughout the whole saga it's been the blokes who've run the debate. When The Footy Show convened a panel to discuss the issue no insider with a radical view of the culture of rape was interviewed. Not surprisingly it was The Footy Show that announced there'd be no charges against the St Kilda players. 'The police are probably at the victim's house as we speak,' a reporter told Eddie McGuire. To his credit McGuire left his comments to the bare minimum.
Then in the wake of some truly bizarre allegations on the ABC's Four Corners program Jason Akermanis waded in to the quagmire. The program, he said, was 'biased' and he'd become the victim of 'rumours.' Although he had every right to be upset that some people had privately and wrongly suggested he was in the room in London in 1999 when an alleged sexual assault occurred, Akermanis didn't bother to address the allegations made by another woman in Adelaide. Nor did he ask why the woman was paid $200,000 in compensation by three AFL footballers. Yet again the celebrity footballer had become the victim.
Most people were astounded by the Adelaide allegations and the DPP's refusal to press charges. Yet paradoxically it showed the danger of rushing to the conclusion that the culprits in the myth making are blokes from a thuggish subset within the male culture. Without those middle-class lawyers who've bullied and harassed women and judges who've defended barbaric legal precedent how different the culture might be. If only these lawyers would defend female victims of intimate violence with the passion they display for refugees behind barbed wire.
It's truly scandalous how women who allege rape have been demonised. And it's either plain dumb or consummately cunning for men to cite the existence of football groupies as proof that rape is complex. Is it so difficult for men to grasp that the act of rape is an act of non-consensual sex? It's a plain fact that the overwhelming majority of women do not lie about rape. It's now time that decent men like James Hird, Nathan Buckley and Eddie McGuire joined Andrew Demetriou in defending their sisters from the myths and the nonsense. If they won't, who will?