The Lady Garden

Tea and Strumpets

I fucking hate the Rugby World Cup

And in case you hadn’t guessed from the title, I’m pretty angry about it.

You know what New Zealand? Before you go getting all fucking excited about celebrating a sport which has the most abhorrent track record of player-perpetrated violence against women, and is actively encouraging gambling, high alcohol consumption and will without a doubt in my mind directly result in a huge rise in assault and sexual violence, I just want you to have a read a wee timeline I put together:

*Trigger warning for violence, sexual violence, racism and murder*

In 1997 former Waikato Chiefs player Roger Randle was accused of rape while on tour in South Africa.

In 1998 South African player Toks Van der Linde called a woman of colour a “kaffir” in a New Zealand bar.

In 2002 former Welsh player Hywel Jenkins was charged with the rape of a 28 year old woman.

In 2002 an unnamed Japanese player was accused of rape.

In 2004 former Scotland player Bryan Gossman was charged with the rape of a woman in Northern Ireland.

In 2004 former French captain and “national hero” Marc Cecillon shot his wife in the head in front of 60 guests at a party.

In 2004 an All Blacks player was granted with permanent name suppression after being charged with assaulting his pregnant wife. He was given diversion.

In 2005 Wales Captain Gareth Thomas was one of a number of players found guilty of “violent affray or sexual assault” in a French nightclub where a woman was sexually assaulted and punched.

In 2006 Welsh player Jordan Reese strangled his 18 year old girlfriend to death after she spoke to her ex boyfriend at a party.

In 2007 All Black Sitiveni Sivivatu admitted assaulting his wife. He was discharged without conviction.

In 2008 during the English tour of New Zealand a woman pressed charges of sexual assault by several English players, but all charges (except for misconduct) were dropped.

In 2008 Argentinean players were accused of stripping a twenty year old woman and subjecting her to sexual assault in a South African nightclub. No one was convicted.

In 2008 the South African Ruby Sevens captain Mzwandile Stick was accused of pushing over a woman, and punching and kicking her while she was on the ground. He later denied the punching and said he had “only kicked her out of anger.”

In 2008 former Welsh star player Darren Daley pleaded guilty to charges of grievous bodily harm and actual bodily harm against two women.

In 2009 New Zealand player Toka Liku was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment after assaulting and raping his wife following post-match celebrations.

In 2009 Springbok coach Percy Montgomery faced assault charges after attacking his wife.

In 2008 English player Lee Robinson was arrested on suspicion of assaulting his girlfriend. He was later found guilty and discharged.

In 2010 Former All Black Robin Brooke harassed two teenagers while on holiday in Fiji in January, grabbing the buttocks of a 15-year-old girl and assaulting her 17-year-old male friend who came to her aid. A further allegation was made in June 2010 that in 1998 Brooke had sex with a drunken and comatose teenage woman.

In 2010 Former South African player James Dalton appeared in court charged with the attempted murder of his ex-wife.

The full list of Rugby Union incidents is available here.

The Rugby World Cup-triggered rise in sexual assault (and violence in general) won’t just be toward women, and won’t just be perpetrated by men, but as usual women and children will be disproportionately on the receiving end, and men will disproportionately be the offenders.

Nobody wants to talk about the history of violence toward women by players, coaches and supporters of Rugby Union. Apparently, sticking some sportsmen on White Ribbon posters and anti-family violence campaigns means that we can just get on with pretending that the culture surrounding this sport (and many sports in New Zealand) is harmless, blokes being blokes fun.

You might think that this list is somehow invalid because there are no current All Blacks on it (except for potentially the one with permanent name suppression), so here’s a little look at some of ‘our boys’ this time round:

Andrew Hore killed a fur seal earlier this year for shits and giggles in Otago.

Ma’a Nonu received diversion for fighting in a public place.

Jerome Kaino was convicted of drunk driving.

Jimmy Cowan has been arrested twice for disorderly behaviour.

On the subject of the latter, former All Black Murray Mexted said that Cowan should be left alone because “maybe that’s part of being a free spirited young man growing up.”

Axed New Zealand Rugby World Cup Ambassador Andy Hayden said earlier this year that stories of alleged rape by sportsmen had “two sides to them”.

“There’s a bloke called Hugh Grant. He got into a bit of trouble like this and I think if the cheque bounces sometimes, they only realise that they’ve been raped, you know, sometimes,” he said.

“It’s an equal society now, some of these girls are targeting rugby players and targeting sportsmen and they do so at their peril today, I think.”

Oh yeah and he also called people of colour “darkies”.

When are we going to wake up to the fact that the culture surrounding this sport is harmful to everyone, and pretending that it’s not is just making it worse – because people feel that they shouldn’t dare criticise it. They shouldn’t dare be the buzz kill at a party after a game by wondering how Women’s Refuge is faring that evening. They are ‘bad New Zealanders’ if they don’t actually want to get super fucking excited about spending millions and millions on advertising, and making onion fucking dip packets black, and making a ‘cloud’ party zone which looks like an evil caterpillar on acid.

We are rebuilding a city after a national disaster, we have the world’s worst suicide rate for young women, we have one of the worst child poverty and child abuse rates in the world. A quarter of all of the women you know, and 1 in 8 men will experience distressing and unwanted sexual contact in their lifetime. Every fucking woman you know has felt unsafe in the streets simply because she is a woman. And I will be even more scared in the streets, particularly in the central city, as of tomorrow night.  And what are we collectively doing as a country? We’re covering our ears, drinking our black fucking Powerade and cheering for the boys.

I cried when I wrote this, because in researching the incidents I saw a photo of the 18 year old girl killed by Jordan Rees. Her name was Becky and she was really beautiful. And the article had ‘killed girlfriend’ in inverted commas. Like, you know, maybe somehow his strangulation wasn’t the contributing factor in her dying.

I also cried because this list is going to get bigger after this year. But not much bigger, because the bulk of the victims of this fucking Rugby World Cup won’t be assaulted, raped or killed by players themselves. They won’t be important enough to be named in this list. It’s unlikely anyone overseas will read their names. And it’s even less likely that the Rugby World Cup will be criticised for not investing enough in resources to combat and respond to these issues.

Because, like, there’s a PARTY ZONE IN EVERY CITY GUYS.

Edit: Just in case it isn’t clear enough in the post above, I just want to reinforce that my issue is not with the game of rugby union itself. I admire the hard work of the sportspeople involved, and the passion of the teams and supporters. I think this will be a really exciting time for New Zealand. However, we cannot keep ignoring the fact that the hyper masculine, excess drinking, violent, boys-will-be-boys, hard man culture surrounding this (and other sports) is harmful, particularly for women and children. This huge event has all eyes on New Zealand, and it seems like we continue to pretend that we don’t have an appalling record of major rugby union games affecting violence rates. It is irresponsible and remiss of us not to do something about it, not to acknowledge it. That is why I struggle to get on board with this huge event. Because unfortunately it’s going to be huge in both the best and worst ways.

178 responses to “I fucking hate the Rugby World Cup

  1. Deborah September 8, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I will believe the Rugby Union is serious about working to stop violence against women on the day when its players stop donating their ‘Player of the Match’ awards to safe and cuddly institutions like Starship Children’s Hospital, and start donating them to Women’s Refuge and Rape Crisis.

    NB: Starship is of course an excellent and worthy charity.

    • ludditejourno September 10, 2011 at 4:38 pm

      Hey Deborah, I’m WAAAAY more cynical than this. I’ve been working in organisations dedicated to responding to and preventing violence against women who have been offered donations by major men’s sports just after a sportsman has been charged with violence against women. It means, in my opinion, absolutely nothing, in this professional era of many men’s sports, when they give donations to us.

  2. Good Gravey September 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Coley – if I didn’t already, this would make me love respect and admire you all over again.

    All this never seems to stop. These fucking sportsmen are treated as heroes who could never do any wrong. And if they rape or murder someone, well we all know she or he must have just been plain wrong for someone so good to do something like that.

    Rugby culture perpetuates the “just boys blowing of steam” bullshit.

    Thank you. So very much.

  3. Cara September 8, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I agree with all of this. Personally if I didn’t have honours essays to write I would be on holiday, possibly in a Pacific Island.
    They spent something like $20 million on that “party central” temporary structure in auckland too. That money could have been better spent on Women’s Refuge, more rape prevention campaigns.
    But instead it’s going towards expensive alcohol.
    Eurgh

  4. QoT September 8, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Awesome post, Coley.

  5. vostoklake September 8, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Since women rugby players aren’t (to my knowledge) prone to committing violence and sexual abuse, and male sportsmen of other codes are, then I don’t think the issue is with the game of rugby union.

    • coleytangerina September 8, 2011 at 9:57 pm

      As I said in the post, it’s a problem that is wrapped up with the culture of many male-dominated sports. And when all eyes are on rugby union and the RWC, and they have an abhorrent track record of violence (and an equally abhorrent track record of getting away with it) then unfortunately the issue is currently with rugby union.

      When the league world cup happens it will be with league (which has an even worse record, if you could believe it).

      I’m not saying that the game of rugby union is the issue, but the culture around it certainly is.

      • Rebugger September 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm

        Even though I’m coming in late to all of this – I agree too! Crazy how far off track the comments have gone! Sidetracking just means avoiding the real issues which is exactly the point of your post……the silent majority enables men to hurt our women & children.

    • Cara September 8, 2011 at 10:13 pm

      Agreed. I think the issue is with the culture around it..

    • Scar September 9, 2011 at 7:33 am

      If you’d care to read *my* post on this subject, then you’d realise that I’ve already addressed this.

  6. Jonathan September 9, 2011 at 3:34 am

    According to page 8 of http://www.police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/00_national_2010_official_stats_final.pdf , the number of recorded criminal offences per head of population in 2009 is 1 in 10. According to the link you cited, 8 New Zeand Rugby Union Players committed offences in 2009. I couldn’t find figures for the number of professional Union players, but assuming there are more than 80 in New Zealand, the crime rate of Union players is less than that of the public.

    I think perhaps that that you should perhaps focus your attention more on the binge-drinking culture of New Zealand and less on a Sport which keeps thousands of New Zealand Children physically active, as well as bringing communities together to support a team which is the number one in the world, something that we should be proud of.

    • Scar September 9, 2011 at 7:35 am

      “…which keeps thousands of New Zealand Children physically active”

      Oh, and happens to tie up most of the emergency medical resources every Saturday morning. About 80% of admissions are sporting related.
      I think I can stay physically active without breaking someone’s nose, thanks.

      • Scar September 9, 2011 at 7:38 am

        P.S. Spinal injuries are on of the most common injuries from thugby. You won’t be ‘physically active’ for very long once you’re paralysed from the neck down.
        As far as I’m aware, only equestrian sports carry a comparable risk of neck/back injuries.

        • Dave September 9, 2011 at 10:50 am

          Spinal injuries one of the most common injuries? No. Very bloody uncommon. I don’t have figures but i bet you’re more likely to have a spinal injury driving a car than playing rugby.

          “About 80% of admissions are sporting related.”

          And how much time and money goes into treating obesity-related disease? type two diabetes? asthma? heart disease? cancer?

          If you had any idea you’d know that sport keeps boys out of trouble more than anything else.

          • coleytangerina September 9, 2011 at 11:56 am

            So, let me get this right Dave – you don’t see any harmful elements to rugby culture? Just the fact that it’s a healthy activity?

            I’d be the first to admit that the teamwork and fitness elements of all sports can be really great, especially for young people, but saying it “keeps boys out of trouble” when the culture actually encourages excess drinking, macho behavior, hero worship and little repercussions is frankly complete shit.

          • Scar September 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm

            You might want to chat to the people at CCDHB who do the data reports for theatre (as I have), spinal injuries are FAR too common in thugby players. Far more common than in any other sport, except equestrian – and equestrian events are grossly outweighed by the amount of thugby played in NZ.
            Spinal injuries from rugby are disproportionately high, compared to other sports.

            And actually, I had more ‘trouble’ from sports playing ‘boys’ than anyone else in society. Sport seems to encourage fuckheaderism like nothing else.
            Care to comment on that?

          • Good Gravey September 9, 2011 at 5:30 pm

            What? Does playing sport cure cancer and heart disease? Well I guess I’ve been told.

            In addition to the issues Coley refers to here, the typical rugby culture also has a negative psychological effect on many men. We’re often made to feel inferior, that we aren’t “real men” because we either don’t actually like the game or are in some way unsuitable.

            Jonathan, Dave – as we keep saying, it isn’t the sport as much as it is the culture that has developed around it.

            Dave – if you are an example of what rugby culture brings to the world, your “if you had any idea you’d know…” speaks volumes. In fact it demonstrates our point remarkably well.

            The culture is demonstrated time and again. When a “sports hero” commits a heinous crime, we keep hearing the “boys will be boys” bullshit, or Hayden’s fucking offensive “well what do they expect” sort of response. We forgive them because they supposedly can do no wrong.

            Rugby culture keeps telling us that if we don’t love the game, we can’t be “real” kiwis, or there must be something wrong with us.

        • Monica September 9, 2011 at 11:57 pm

          Gymnastics..?

    • LadyNews September 9, 2011 at 9:44 am

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me it isn’t that I think that rugby players are necessarily more violent/criminal than the rest of the population, but that when they do behave in that way we give them pretty much a free pass because we (as a society) have them up on a pedestal. Like whenever there’s a sexual assault issue with a sportsman people come out in force talking about “rugby groupies” and what did those women think would happen if they pursued a rugby player (a statement which suggests we think our players are regularly committing non-consensual sexual acts, and yet is repeated in the defense of players!). I don’t like that “sports celebrities” are held to a different standard to regular people- surely, if anything, we should hold our “national heroes” to an even higher standard than the regular people and be especially tough on any bad behaviour because they are meant to be role models.

    • Amanda September 9, 2011 at 12:10 pm

      “recorded criminal offences”

      The operative word here is “recorded”. Rape is a terribly under reported crime. Domestic Violence is a systemic problem that is not always taken to court on the 1st, 2nd or even 10th attempt. Ask any Women’s Refuge worker what their worst nights are, I dare you. Then times those worst nights by 6 weeks in a row, and you have the terror that some women and families are about to live under.

      I love how your cognitive dissonance helps you see drinking and sport as two separate entities that have absolutely no cross-section.

    • Moz September 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm

      the number of recorded criminal offences per head of population in 2009 is 1 in 10.

      You’re talking about the graph on page 12? Total ~1000/10,000 population? Not the “serious assaults resulting in injury” one that’s probably more relevant, but peaks at 28/10,000. The former includes crimes like “breach of community-based order” and similar low-impact crimes that can only be committed by already-convicted criminals, making the criminals per 10,000 population a lot lower than you’re implying. If we assumed (as you do) that no-one is convicted of more than one serious assault in a year, all it takes is one conviction in the population of perhaps 200 professional footballers to make their ratio 50 per 10000 compared to the population average of 25… twice the rate. Oh, but wait, there was a conviction. So much for that theory.

      I think a more reasonable comparison would be complaints of violence per 10,000 and look at the total population compared to total males 15-35 (the “serious footballer” demographic) compared to males 15-35 who play football regularly. Which doesn’t make your footballers look good, at least in Canada which is the only research I’ve seen. On the other hand, socioeconomic status is much more influential determinant of complaint/conviction rates, but that’s more Maia’s specialty than mine.

  7. Hugh September 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    It’s a violent game. The fact that people think rugger players can leave that violence behind them off the pitch is pretty astounding.

    • Moz September 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm

      Don’t forget the spectators, who also get fired up and are prone to violence. In Oz we’re having a huge problem with violence amongst the spectators, even at primary school matches. Locally a 15-ish year old referee was hit and abused by a spectator after a decision she disagreed with. The offender is upset that “her” team forfeited the match and had a multi-match suspension. Her lifetime ban doesn’t seem to register, any more than the effect on the referee (who has not refereed again since). FFS.

      There’s a problem for anyone making a complaint – they have to deal first with people who are desensitised to violence as a result of dealing with it all the time. I speak, of course, of the p*lice. People are regularly assaulted themselves and frequently exposed to violence so will either become desensitised or quit the force. No, I don’t have a solution to this.

    • AnnaBoBanna September 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      I’m a rugby player, I love it, I’ve never hit anyone in my life on or off the field. If anything I feel less aggressive after playing, all that energy is left on the field. And, for the record, I don’t play dirty or intentionally hurt anyone, even on the field I’d never intentionally hurt anyone.

    • AnnaBoBanna September 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      I’m a rugby player, I love it, I’ve never hit anyone in my life on or off the field. If anything I feel less aggressive after playing, all that energy is left on the field. And, for the record, I don’t play dirty or intentionally hurt anyone, even on the field I’d never intentionally hurt anyone.

      • Hugh September 12, 2011 at 6:21 am

        “I have never hit anyone in my life on or off the field”

        You’ve never tackled anybody? Because that would be assault off the field.

        I think what you mean is “I’ve never hit anybody except in the way that the game permits and encourages me to”.

        Which again, is sort of my point.

        • tallulahspankhead September 12, 2011 at 10:29 am

          OK, I was trying to stay right out of this, but I can’t let this one go,

          Hugh, rugby is a contact sport. So are basketball, netball, football, hockey, (the American versions) and any number of other sports.

          The adults who are involved in those sports are there of their own free will. (Children are a different issue, and that’s a question for a different post.) You can _not_ compare it to assault. To do so misunderstands the nature of sport, and lessens the importance of assault. It is similar to comparing BDSM to rape, and I have bruises on my body today that would like to wholeheartedly disagree with you. Some of them are, in fact, from running this morning.

          I am a rugby fan, and have been since childhood. I have had a very different experience to most people here of being involved in the game, and to some degree with high-level players. There are absolutely problems with the culture around rugby, and in fact, most sports in New Zealand. In fact, the biggest problem I have at the moment is with netball, where they levels of contact on the court far outweigh the level allowed for in the rules.

          I have, at various times in my life, played sports with both men and women. As far as I can tell, on the court or field, there is very little difference in the levels of aggression. I’ve played basketball where I was the only girl on either team, where the only issue was that the boys wouldn’t give me the ball. (They soon did, once they realised I was better than any of them.) I’ve played mixed touch, netball, basketball, and a number of other sports. The only time I’ve ever felt bullied, was 3rd form netball, and that had nothing to do with the sport.

          One of the problems is the way good rugby players are hero-worshipped from childhood, and the way we, as a society, hand them everything on a platter. It is not an excuse, but it’s easy to see how that translates to a bad attitude to other people. But those people are not the vast majority of people involved in rugby, or in any other sport. Certainly violence, binge drinking, gambling, and any number of other social problems are concentrated in and around rugby. But it’s not the fault of the sport. They are writ large because of the RWC, and perhaps, instead of blaming rugby, we could take the opportunity to highlight these problems, and do something about them.

          Lastly, I would like to point out, for the number of tweets and comments I have seen elsewhere, that liking rugby does not make you a bad feminist. Liking something, and being aware of, and rejecting the culture around it is possible to do. Actually, I’d say that that’s a pretty important skill for any self-aware feminist living in a patriarchal society. We do it all the time with film, with novels, with music. We forgive it in ourselves and others, calling it “institutional sexism”. We rail against people using alcohol as an excuse for assault, and yet we’re willing to hand them an entire “culture” to use as an excuse?

          • Scar September 12, 2011 at 10:50 am

            I have to say that the dynamic between female only, mixed, and male only sports groups are quite different.
            Our experiences would appear to contradict each other, since you claim that there is no difference in aggression levels and I claim that there is a significant difference.
            However, while you participated with male groups, you were not perceived as male while you were participating with the group. Entrenched gender biases mean that the way men play a game will change if there is a non-male present. I have seen knuckle-dragging war-machines become respectful and even gentle on the field if a woman is participating (I doubt you’ve been slammed around like a rag-doll by 11 men on the field until you were concussed; and it was only ‘consensual’ because your career would suffer if you didn’t participate – please correct me if I am wrong).
            You can deny that if you wish. You can deny my lived experiences in both genders. I really don’t mind (in fact, I’m used to it, from both MRAs as well as Feminists).
            Anecdotally, I have also experienced a profound change in the *way* that I play sport, having gone from having very high testosterone levels to have insignificant T levels. Endocrine function DOES play a part in aggression levels, whether we wish it to or not. Our brains do not live in a vacuum, separate and aloof from the chemicals that flow through our bodies; they are influenced greatly by endocrinological functions.

            Trans people have stepped outside the gender assigned at birth and have first hand experience with both. One wonders why cis people are so keen to ignore and poo-poo those experiences as false?

          • tallulahspankhead September 12, 2011 at 10:57 am

            Sorry, I did mean to point out that I have no experience with male vs male sport, and that I am sure it is worse.

            And I am very sorry for your experience.

            But that doesn’t negate my point. Thugs gravitate to rugby, certainly. But they are thugs. We should be dealing with them on an individual level, rather than trying to blame the sport, which is something many many people get pleasure from.

          • Scar September 12, 2011 at 11:08 am

            As I explored in my blog post on this subject; I think meatheads will gravitate towards whatever is popular. In England, it’s soccer. In America, it’s grid iron.
            I don’t think that dealing with them on an individual level will work, as you’re not addressing the overall culture that creates/encourages these individuals.

          • Hugh September 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm

            Rugby is a much more violent sport than any of the ones you’ve listed, except possibly American football and ice hockey. (And I’m not here to defend either of them!). There is no act as physically violent as tackling in basketball. If two players collide with the force of a tackle in basketball, it’s a mistake. In rugby, it’s expected.

            I’m aware that the violence of rugby is consensual and undertaken by adults who understand the risks. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t violence. Your comparison to BDSM is pretty illustrative. To claim that what happens in a high intensity BDSM scene isn’t violence, or doesn’t involve hitting people, would be a pretty big red flag to me. Sure, it’s mediated violence that takes place within an expected framework, but it’s still violence and I think any responsible BDSM practicioner would keep that in mind. I don’t know any BDSM tops who would say “I’ve never hit anybody” the way rugby players have done here.

            So I’m not arguing that because rugby is violent it’s innately wrong. I’m not going to run onto a rugby field and start prying players apart and calling the police because an assault has taken place. What I am saying is that violence takes place on the rugby field, and rugby players who say “I’ve never hit anybody” or rugby fans who say “rugby isn’t violent” seem to think that because something confines to the rules and regulations and conventions of their hobby, it can never be problematic.

            The logic seems to be that the high-intensity high-risk physical contact that takes place on the rugby field isn’t violence because it confirms to the rules of the game, and that therefore violence off-the-field can’t be linked to it because there is no violence on the field! I’ve got a problem with that, because it elevates the laws of the game to something other than a bunch of rules thrown together to mediate 30 guys chasing a ball around a field.

          • Emma September 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm

            Hugh, when you were telling Anna “what she meant”, you said:

            I think what you mean is “I’ve never hit anybody except in the way that the game permits and encourages me to”.

            which immediately for me, and obviously for Tallulah as well, chimes with BDSM parallels. So if you said a consensual BDSM relationship was a “violent relationship”, I’d tell you to screw off, probably. Well, okay, I’d patiently explain the difference. I’d also resist any insinuation that being “violent” within the “rules of the game” makes a Dom more likely to be violent outside of it. Yet the “game” permits and encourages hitting people. WAY more than rugby does.

            And yes, as a sub, I would say “violence” is the wrong word to use to describe BDSM activity.

          • Hugh September 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm

            (This is meant to be a reply to Emma but for some reason there’s no reply option)

            Maybe this is just a question of terminology. I wouldn’t call it a “violent relationship” either, but I would probably call the sex involved “violent sex”. And I would definitely say any hitting involved is, well, hitting. That’s the context in which the “I’ve never hit anybody” comment didn’t square with me.

            Part of being in a BDSM relationship involves constant self-review to ensure that the consensual violence remains consensual and doesn’t escape consensual boundaries. “Checking in” is a pretty major part of all BDSM scenarios I’m aware of. If somebody refused to even categorise what they were doing as violent in any way, that self-review would be impossible.

          • Scar September 12, 2011 at 3:25 pm

            Hugh raised some interesting points here.
            To use a different example to BDSM, how about we look at martial arts? I have had the pleasure of knowing some people who were very skilled martial artists and who could inflict extremely serious injuries on people, should they desire.
            However, I always felt implicitly safe around these people, because of the discipline and control that is taught along with the physical side of performing martial arts.
            Yet strangely I feel really ill at ease around professional rugby players and just do not see any control or discipline being exercised.

            As with BDSM, there is a level of professionalism, restraint and discipline shown by martial artists that is not evident in really physical sports like rugby. Sure, you get dickhead Doms who don’t respect boundaries, but the scene deals with such people harshly – as does the martial arts community.
            Where is the responsibility with rugby? Why don’t the governing bodies of rugby toss out violent offenders instead of trying to excuse their behaviour? Why are these people not ostracised and forced to confront their behaviours?
            The *IS* something rotten in the rugby establishment that you don’t see in other organisations. Is it a function of Patriarchy? Does some of the ‘old boys club’ mentality still hold power in the rugby fraternity?

          • Hugh September 12, 2011 at 6:23 pm

            (This is a reply to Scar. Again, no “reply” option)

            I don’t mean to derail, Scar, but I’ve never felt that level of safety around martial artists. In my experience martial artists are extremely capable of violence. I’m aware of the concept of the self-controlled, spiritually fulfilled person who is capable of splintering bones but doesn’t. But every martial artist I’ve ever met either frequently threatens to attack people who disagree with him, or actually does so. And usually considers himself an extremely enlightened person too. I guess you’ve been lucky in the martial artists you’ve met.

          • Scar September 12, 2011 at 7:37 pm

            I can’t help wonder if those are the ‘martial artists’ who are also in the ‘SAS’ and drive a ‘BMW’ 😀

  8. AnnaBoBanna September 9, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    I don’t think rugby is the problem. Binge-drinking culture is a problem, celebrity exemption from the law is a problem, NZ’s suffocating culture of remaining emotionally restrained (especially among men) is a problem. These things together lead to disgusting crimes, depression, suicide etc. Big events where people are participating in something they’re passionate and excited about bring these problems to the surface, especially if the event doesn’t go the way they want. Rugby as a game isn’t the problem, NZ culture is the problem, events like rugby world cups bring the problems out, they don’t cause them. If all NZ sports vanished tomorrow, the violence, suicide etc. wouldn’t change. NZ people would just find other events to get excited about and drink at and celebrities would still get away with crimes. I do think the NZRU should do more though.

    • Hugh September 10, 2011 at 5:27 am

      Rugby isn’t responsible for all the violence, but it seems a huge leap to me to say that the violent behaviour that occurs on the rugby field doesn’t at all influence the violent behaviour of fans and players off the field.

      • AnnaBoBanna September 10, 2011 at 11:06 am

        Have you played rugby for a club? I don’t mean that to sound like I’m discounting your opinion, you are of course welcome to it, I’m just curious if you’ve ever actually played and found out for yourself what it’s like? Because it doesn’t feel violent on the field. When I tackle someone I’m not thinking “I’m going to take them down as hard as I can and cause as much damage as possible”, it’s more tactical than that. I’m thinking about how to position myself so that we both land with the ball where I want it to be, the other player in the position I want them in and without getting hurt. The thing is if I hit them hard, they also hit me hard, I take just as much of a hit. So I hit softer with more technique to bring them down a particular way. I know it doesn’t look especially technical when you see it in action but that’s every club player is taught to do. Maintaining or gaining ball possession is more important than hitting hard, so tactic and technique trumps smashing into people. That’s actually why union has a lower injury rate than league. In league the game stops after a tackle so there’s no need to protect the ball, you can hit as hard as you like (and they do). At least in the clubs I’ve played for violence on the field is actively discouraged for several reasons: because you lose your technique and therefore often lose the ball; because you get penalised for illegal tackles and dirty play; and of course for the basic moral reasoning. Have you ever noticed players helping people off the ground who’ve they’ve just tackled? If the players were feeling aggressive and violent they’d hold them down, not help them up.

        There are of course the few who ruin it for everyone and do get too aggressive on the feild. Players who do this (start fights, make illegal tackles etc.) are sent off and suspended from the game. It also costs their teams points therfore pissing off their own team (if for the wrong reason), so again dirty overly-aggresive play is discouraged by the team itself. This is especially so at an international level with well-trained referees.

        • Scar September 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm

          Whenever I played at school, I was made a target – the large, experienced male players would take turns at smashing me as hard as they could – whether I had the ball or not.
          No effort was made to police their behaviour and it was even openly encouraged by the teachers and refs, because everyone thought it was “a bit of a laugh” to see the weak skinny kid get fucked up all over the field.
          Now, you’re telling me that this behaviour is healthy? That none of it carries over into adulthood? That the socialised behaviour of “Pick on the weak and fuck them up lololol” can just be dropped once you’re off the field?
          I don’t believe you.

          • AnnaBoBanna September 11, 2011 at 4:25 am

            Scar, I’m sorry you were made a target when you played at school, that kind of bullying is disgusting and probably does carry over into adulthood a lot of the time. Teachers, refs and coaches should know better than to encourage it. But what you are describing is culture, bullying is a huge problem across the board in NZ but that kind of behaviour is not inherent in the game.

            Hugh, no I’m not saying that players are conditioned to a point where violence doesn’t feel violent anymore, although it’s a question worth asking. The best way I can describe it is that the other person is not the target, the tryline is. That may seem like semantics but it makes a big difference in the mindset of the players and whether they are feeling violent or not and therefore whether that behavior carries over into other parts of their lives. If my sole intention is to tackles as hard as possible and to hurt someone, then yes, I’m being violent and may become a more violent person overall. But people who play that way won’t be much use on a rugby team, they’ll lose the ball, cause penalties and ultimately be more of a liability to a team than an asset. If my intention is not to hurt the player but to stop them getting closer to their line and to position them so that my team has an opportunity to take the ball then my mindset is different. I’m not feeling violently towards that person. I guess it’s a hard thing to explain. Another example I could use to try and explain it is the number of instances when opposing players actively prevent each other from being injured. I myself has been at the bottom of a collapsed maul with a limb being twisted in a worrying way. I called out and everyone on top of me from both sides immediately stood up during play. They all forgot about the ball and just got off (my leg was fine). This kind of thing happens more often than you’d think.

            I’m not saying that there aren’t players who do go out of their way to hurt people and players who wouldn’t get up if they knew someone was being injured at the bottom of a ruck. What I’m saying is that that kind of behaviour is not inherent in the game. You can have rugby without it. It’s the culture that needs changing.

            As for injury rates of course not playing eliminates injuries, I’m not trying to say that union is ok because at least there are less injuries than in league. I was just using that comparison to illustrate the point that you can’t just violently smash into people when you’re playing union because you’ll lose the ball. I was trying to explain the technique involved in tackling.

        • Hugh September 10, 2011 at 5:38 pm

          So what you’re saying is, you’re subject to enough violence and it no longer feels like violence?

          Oh, well THAT’S alright then!

        • Hugh September 10, 2011 at 5:39 pm

          Also, while Union may have a lower injury rate than League, I’m pretty sure not playing fucking rugby in the first place has a lower injury rate than either. Which is the operative comparison here.

      • Ersa October 1, 2011 at 8:51 am

        This is a reply to your earlier comment about martial artists Hugh, no option for reply.

        My Father is a black belt in Hapkido, and I have never felt threatened around him. Martial arts (all of them) encourage and teach not to attack first, but instead teach moves that can be used as defense (and yes, there are attacking moves, to be used in defense.). Many people take up martial arts as a way to stop fighting and hitting out at others for no reason.

        • Hugh October 1, 2011 at 3:12 pm

          You see, I’ve often heard that’s what they teach, but a lot of martial artists – in my experience, an overwhelming number – don’t seem to follow that teaching.

  9. Deborah September 9, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Julie has a great post at The Hand Mirror about the Rugby World Cup.

    Embracing rugby the game, rejecting Rugby the culture

  10. Skatechel September 9, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Thanks for this.

    My artist response to the glorification of the rugby world cup.

  11. Geoff September 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    You are right there’s a con going on & RWC/IRB Should be ear-marking a set % of their profit towards the breaking of the sexual violence culture. Thanks for posting this & alerting me to these stats/stories. A (female) friend re-posted it in her FB newsfeed, I’ll pass it on to my network.

  12. Geoff September 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Whoops, can’t re-distribute in my network bcoz of f-wry in title, but will email to adult friends.

  13. Raj September 10, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Rugby is a high adrenaline and testosterone game – these hormones are like drugs running through the viens and change the character of a person. These large men are best admired from the stands when they are in game mode. Some will have their senses around them….but its like flirting with danger. There are some things that are meant to be admired and others that are keepers ….you have the freedom and the wisdom to choose – whats it going to be ?

    • AnnaBoBanna September 10, 2011 at 11:13 am

      All sports are high-adrenalin, that’s why people play. Have you ever played a sport? Had an adrenalin rush? Did you feel like raping someone afterwards?

      • Scar September 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm

        Anna, have you ever had male levels of testosterone?
        Just curious, not intimating anything 🙂

        • AnnaBoBanna September 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm

          Are you implying that testosterone is the problem? That men can’t control themselves because of it? That an adrenalin rush is all it takes to send them crazy on their own hormones?

          • Hugh September 10, 2011 at 5:40 pm

            I think what Scar’s implying is that your credentialist “OMG have you ever PLAYED rugby” approach can be turned around on you.

          • Scar September 10, 2011 at 6:27 pm

            I am implying nothing, as I stated.
            You didn’t answer; though I don’t disagree with your right to not answer 🙂

          • AnnaBoBanna September 11, 2011 at 3:51 am

            Of course it can be turned around on me, anything can be turned around on anyone. And my post is not about discounting people’s opinions because “OMG you haven’t PLAYED?”. I’m just trying to say what it actually feels like on the field – that the energy on the field isn’t violent (at least in my eight years of playing experience I’ve never encountered that violence on the field). I also think it’s ridiculous to blame violent behaviour on hormones, if that is in fact what Scar meant by his post (he hasn’t actually explained what he meant). And Scar – no of course I haven’t experienced male levels of testosterone, what relevence does this have?

          • Deborah September 11, 2011 at 8:53 am

            @AnnaBoBanna, Scar is a woman.

          • AnnaBoBanna September 11, 2011 at 8:56 am

            If that’s true Scar- my apologies for getting it wrong 🙂

          • Scar September 11, 2011 at 9:04 am

            I don’t accept your apology, because of the ‘if that’s true’ part, which implies there is doubt as to my female status, which is SERIOUSLY insulting.

          • Scar September 11, 2011 at 9:07 am

            P.S. inb4 “you write like a man” or something equally invalidating.

          • AnnaBoBanna September 11, 2011 at 9:10 am

            Woah I didn’t mean to insult anyone. The only doubt was because you didn’t tell me yourself – I don’t know if you know Deborah, for I all I knew she was guessing, didn’t want to take her word for it. I didn’t mean to imply anything at all or upset you. I’m sorry I did.

          • Scar September 11, 2011 at 9:17 am

            Sorry, too upset to deal with this.

          • AnnaBoBanna September 11, 2011 at 9:24 am

            This seems to have gotten out of control, I really didn’t mean to upset you. I assumed you were male when you said you’d played against males at school. Acording to the rules (if they’re followed) males and females aren’t supposed to play tackle rugby against each after age 13 other due to size/strength differences. So I made the wrong assumption and I’m sorry. I hope you feel better about it soon.

          • Emma September 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm

            I have edited a comment of Scar’s to remove personal abuse. Any repetition of this behaviour will result in a ban. I understand there was provocation, but we don’t allow this in any circumstances.

          • AnnaBoBanna September 11, 2011 at 12:23 pm

            There was no provication. There was a misunderstanding.

          • Emma September 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm

            Anna: I didn’t mean to imply it was deliberate, just that it was actually set off by something rather than random.

          • Scar September 11, 2011 at 6:44 pm

            Anna, I am a transgender woman.
            As such, I was forced to go to school presenting as a male and forced to do male activities, like playing tackle rugby with large, powerful males.
            Your are doing a typically cissexist thing, which is assuming that activities in one’s youth and the gender assigned at birth define one’s gender – which is a really bad thing to do (and completely wrong).

            My advice to you in future is NEVER to assume someone’s gender – it is common practice in feminist and non-oppressive spaces to refer to people with gender neutral language until informed otherwise. If you don’t know gender-neutral pronouns, either use the person’s name or use ‘they’ and ‘their’ when talking about them.

            Which brings me to my next point; misgendering a trans woman with male pronouns is about THE most insulting thing you could do to a trans woman. Think of a minority group, then think of the worst slur you could call that minority group – because that’s exactly what you just did to me.
            Can you understand why I am so upset by this?
            Though you claim that it was not intentional, that does nothing to lessen the feelings I have over you doing so.

            Lastly, having had the (unfortunate and unwilling) experience of playing full contact rugby with both men and women, I am intimately acquainted with the very big difference in how the respective genders play the game, and the difference in aggression levels (which DO have a hormonal component).
            My guess is that you have not had this experience (please correct me if I am wrong).

  14. tarzan September 10, 2011 at 8:43 am

    The fact that these people have committed crimes AND play rugby is irrelevant. You may as well get a list of vegetarians, lesbians or Librans who have committed crimes and written an article on how their food preference, sexual preference or birth signs are somehow to blame. This is just more man hating crap.

    • MJ September 10, 2011 at 8:25 pm

      If we had a society that constantly proclaimed that Librans were just being Librans, or what did those slutty Geminis think they were doing targeting the Librans like that, your comment might actually have a point.

    • Good Gravey September 11, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      Tarzan – people seem to keep brining up this “man-hating crap” crap. It is funny how, as a man, I have never felt hated – at least not by this community.

      If you feel hated, I wonder if you have ever stopped to consider that it might just be personal.

      The issue is that we so often hear that these “heroes” who commit atrocious crimes are “just being boys”, or “just blowing off steam”. Or even “yeah – but we gotta forgive them otherwise we might lose the match”. And if you don’t believe that happens, then you are really not paying attention.

  15. Gosman September 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Where are the stats which show that Rugby Union players and supporters are any more a threat than non Rugby Union players and supporters? While you are finding those perhaps you would also look for some hard evidence, as opposed to anecdotal stories, about domestic violence rising during and immediately after big Rugby games.

    • MJ September 10, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      You’re running dangerously close to “real experiences don’t count; only statistics do” which is a common tactic used to shut down a variety of marginalised groups.

  16. Good Gravey September 10, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    I think its been said a few times. Rugby itself isn’t the problem. There is, however, a culture surrounding it. That doesn’t mean that all rugby players demonstrate it, or even that all are part of the culture. It just means that, in this country, at this time, we are still affected by our history.

    “I was born of the same mothers as you – all! I was party of a whole generation that grew up on wintry mornings running from between mum’s warm coat ends on to the dewy green fields”

    “But even then, ambition wasn’t far away, we could feel it rising in steam-breath from the screaming side-line mouths – Kill him!”

    Greg McGee saw this clearly. The mouth-frothing has diminished a great deal, but at a national, social level, it is still there.

    Rugby really is a great game. Well, at least it is just a game. It is our social structures around it that are so terribly flawed.

    • Hugh September 10, 2011 at 5:41 pm

      No, not all rugby players are the problem, but I don’t think you can just erect this wall between the game and the culture and treat them like they are totally separate things. This whole “love the game, hate the culture” thing doesn’t wash with me, sorry.

  17. ludditejourno September 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Oh and then there is current All Black Adam Thomson, cleared in court after Police laid assault charges. http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/news/2465422/All-Black-Adam-Thomson-cleared-over-assault
    It wasn’t good for his career – but after he was cleared of male assaults female (the more serious charge which can be made, as opposed common domestic assault), it all went away.
    I firmly believe that people should not be able to represent their country if they have been convicted of a crime of violence – not gendered violence, not racist violence, not homophobic or transphobic violence, not violence against other men. THAT would be part of changing the culture of many men’s sports if you ask me – saying violence is not acceptable in any way shape or form.

    • Nick (@riceagain) September 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm

      Amazing, he was cleared of assault and allowed to carry on with his life? What is the world coming to!

      • ludditejourno September 11, 2011 at 8:06 am

        Hi Nick, know much about domestic violence? The “fact” of assault often is not successfully prosecuted because the person assaulted does not want to have their partner or ex partner found guilty. It might be the repercussions they are concerned about – maybe threats, or reality of further harm. It might be the concern they feel for someone they love or have loved “what would a conviction here do for A’s rugby career” say.
        The world is still a very unsafe place for women in our interpersonal relationships. That’s what it’s “coming to”.

  18. Nick (@riceagain) September 10, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    An All Black killed a fur seal? F*ck that!

    This post starts out by citing numerous cases of criminality or allegations thereof involving people associated with Rugby Union throughout the world. The same could be done for any widely played sport, even ping pong (I live in China).

    The issue here is not in fact Rugby, as the author so felt the need to clarify in the post-text of the piece, but with the binge drinking culture of Machismo infecting NZ society at large. I think the issue taken with rugby is also exacerbated by the way the justice system deals with celebrities in New Zealand, and the tendency of the New Zealand Rugby union to distance offenders from the game. After all they are a private, capitalist enterprise. So, it’s professional rugby players that seem to be able to enjoy the spoils of their success even after committing or being accused of a heinous crime and retain their place on the pedestal they were put on by the adoring New Zealand public. This annoy’s me too.

    That said, Rugby is just an albeit visible microcosm of the greater problem and a convenient vehicle for your anger at all that is wrong with New Zealand at the moment.

  19. I'dliketomakeadifference September 11, 2011 at 8:38 am

    You make an excellent point, and I agree that New Zealand needs to be more aware of the negative connotations of the RWC . Another issue that I have heard little about is the absolute certain, and most probably enormous, increase in gambling that will come from the RWC. I am appalled and disturbed by the blatant promotion of Gambling that has already occurred. There are posters in our bus-stops, ads on the TV, and in the newspaper. Even “credible” news websites and the such have flashing ads luring punters to bet at the TAB. As though it’s a one time only special deal! Quick! Only 9 short weeks to throw your hard earned money in the gutter…. not to mention the additional $$ that will be spent on the alcohol that goes hand in hand with this type of gambling. As someone who has watched her own father destroy his family’s life and his own because of gambling, I cannot stress enough how disheartened this kind of disregard for people’s welfare has made me. Gambling is a MAJOR issue in New Zealand, and it is perhaps the most overlooked. I mean, is the RWC not a gamble of its own? Like it has so rightly been pointed out before, millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on advertising NZ as the hosts of the world cup.. of promoting a team to win that may not. All the while children are starving, and hard working, honourable men and women are struggling to get by. By all means, enjoy the festivities whilst they last, as there is no going back now. But please take this opportunity to think about the unmanaged issues that exist in our country…. alcohol abuse, domestic violence, gambling….. I think it more than a coincidence that these things occur simultaneously.

  20. marc September 12, 2011 at 12:10 am

    i have read a good amount of the comments, and i must say there are some very valid points, but i must also say that its pretty darn hard for some one to judge something if they actually havent played the sport or have been bought up around the sport.
    I have played rugby most of my life and due to my size and increasing age i have decided to hang up my boots. In no way have i ever gone off the field holding a grudge…. Yes i have had some pretty hard knocks and Yep ive been pretty pissed off but at the end of the day im there for a win for my team, and when we are off the field its all forgotten and then have a few beers and a curry and sausages that the ladies have prepeared in the kitchen and then we go back to our own club rooms. I have a 3 year old son, whom loves coming down to the club rooms, as the partners of the players are all welcome and in the early evening there are a few younger kids running around, and are all safe!!!
    The partners are never in a position of danger in the club rooms, and to be fair i think its pretty harsh to say that family violence starts because a guy plays rugby, i mean there are thugs everywhere, and family violence everywhere, you only have to read a news paper.

    Anna i admire your positive input to this interesting list of comments, but unless people actually understand the game and stop being negative because they dont like rugby then its sad but i dont think the negative mindset will ever change.

    Have you ever been to a hocky game in the states!!!! Now thats aggressive…. but i dont hear anyone being negative about that

    • Good Gravey September 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm

      “but i must also say that its pretty darn hard for some one to judge something if they actually havent played the sport or have been bought up around the sport”

      You see, marc, that’s the thing. We have ALL been brought up around the sport. We’ve had very little choice. NZ has a rugby culture. We keep getting told “it is part of who we are as a nation”.

      I’m not even going to start on your “and then have a few beers and a curry and sausages that the ladies have prepeared in the kitchen” shit. Prepare your own fucking curry and sausages.

      As for Ice Hockey (I presume you mean the ice version): http://tinyurl.com/3r3w622

      There are plenty of people who have talked about the harm that causes. Just not here and now because the Ice Hockey World Cup isn’t being staged in New Zealand.

      And don’t presume that, just because in your club the partners are never in danger (given the rate of domestic violence I would question that anyway), it does not mean that such danger exists within rugby culture generally.

      If people don’t address and recognise the culture that still exists behind rugby in this country, then things will never change.

      • Hugh September 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm

        “You see, marc, that’s the thing. We have ALL been brought up around the sport. We’ve had very little choice. NZ has a rugby culture. We keep getting told “it is part of who we are as a nation”.”

        +1.

        It’s very hypocritical. On the one hand, we’re told that having a New Zealand passport means that rugby is a part of who we are. But we don’t have ownership of that part of ourselves, because if we try to express an interpretation of the game that is at odds with the national narrative of Rugby Awesomeness, it turns out that actually, you can’t really talk about rugby unless you’ve played it.

        It’s like being told by a soldier that you can’t condemn war unless you’ve actually killed people.

  21. Scar September 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    “and then have a few beers and a curry and sausages that the ladies have prepeared in the kitchen”

    o.O

      • marc September 12, 2011 at 10:25 pm

        dont you like curry and sausages lol

        • Scar September 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm

          Not when they taste like misogyny.

          • marc September 13, 2011 at 12:29 am

            unsure what that tastes like, perhaps ya mite want to go to a different organic store, i think the products you are purchasing mite be a tad rancid

          • Muerk September 13, 2011 at 9:37 am

            I’ve been a woman in the kitchen at a rugby club (when my kids played) and it wasn’t because of misogyny. I was there because I wanted to be and because I’m handy in the kitchen. No one wants a dirty, muddy, sweaty player in the kitchen. They can jolly well go and have a shower and clean up.

            I think it’s insulting to assume that women in the kitchen of a rugby club are being oppressed.

          • tallulahspankhead September 13, 2011 at 9:49 am

            I don’t think the assumption was that the women in the kitchen were being oppressed.

            I think offence was taken at the quite legitimate inference that the ladies _should _ be in the kitchen, cooking up some bangers for the boys.

            And I for one one object to being called a “lady”, but that’s just me.

          • AnnaBoBanna September 13, 2011 at 10:15 am

            Marc never inferred that women “should be in the kitchen”, all he said was that were in the kitchen. You made the rest up. The reality is that most of the food made after games is made by women. This is mainly because it the players close relatives who are associated with the club but who don’t playand therefore are free to help with other tasks (should they want to), one of which includes cooking – wives, girlfriends etc. Would you feel better knowing that at the women’s games there’s usually a man cooking, often BBQ, yum!!

  22. David September 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    I’m confused….. The statistics for violent offences are always dominated by males in countries that keep accurate statistics. You could put a list up like that for actors, musicians, artists, politicians.

    Weak.

  23. marc September 12, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I honestly think perhaps some people have a lot of spare times on there hands to bitch and moan… if it is only negative thoughts some people have it really is sad,, i feel sorry for you..
    Perhaps playing golf is a bad sport too i mean Tiger wooods and his evening outtings with campanions he meets in cockatil bars… i think to have an open mind is healthy.. but i think some of you just dont have that and are too closed off to the world..
    I have put my 2 cents in, and the circle of negative thoughts seems to be strong for anyone to be reasonable….

    If commenting on having beer and sausgaes cooked by LADIES upsets you, again its unfortunite.. but im sure the blokes were too busy at the tables thinking if the women dont do the fund raising then i guess there will be no more money to buy beer

    I hope you all enjoy the world cup,

  24. tallulahspankhead September 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Commenting down here because we’ve run out of comment slots.

    However, I always felt implicitly safe around these people, because of the discipline and control that is taught along with the physical side of performing martial arts.
    Yet strangely I feel really ill at ease around professional rugby players and just do not see any control or discipline being exercised.

    Yep. And the person who broke my ribs did judo.

  25. tallulahspankhead September 12, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Maybe this is just a question of terminology. I wouldn’t call it a “violent relationship” either, but I would probably call the sex involved “violent sex”. And I would definitely say any hitting involved is, well, hitting.

    First of all, why are you defining someone else’s sexual relationship? What business is it of yours? As a person who has that kind of sex, I would point out, it isn’t violent, precisely because of the control Scar talks about with martial arts. And a Dom isn’t hurting me because he wants to, usually, he’s hurting me because _I_ like it. It’s not unwanted.

    That’s where I draw the parallel with sport, and why I put “violence” on the field in scare quotes. Because it’s not, in most cases, furious, uncontrolled, or intended just to cause pain.

    • Hugh September 12, 2011 at 6:21 pm

      “First of all, why are you defining someone else’s sexual relationship?”

      Who says I’m talking about somebody else’s sexual relationship? But hey, if we’re going to go down that road, I guess I don’t have any business defining rugby as violent or non-violent either, since what business is it of mine to define somebody else’s sport?

      “And a Dom isn’t hurting me because he wants to, usually, he’s hurting me because _I_ like it. It’s not unwanted.”

      I know. That’s why, when talking about BDSM, I emphasised consensual violence.

      But while I would usually be up for a discussion of the nature and terminology and ethics of BDSM (though I expect it wouldn’t be as controversial as discussion of rugby), I think I need to step back a bit. It seems that for me the term “violent” is more ethically neutral than it is for you guys. For you the term seems to exclude consent, for me it doesn’t. Let’s go with your term for the moment.

      OK, rugby isn’t violent. But it does normalise high-impact physical acts, like tackling, rucking and scrumming, that make it stand out among most (not all) team sports. These acts may not be violent but they are physically similar to a lot of violent acts. I think when asking why there is a violent culture around rugby we have to acknowledge the role that this plays. To be a successful rugby player a person needs to cultivate a resistance to this kind of violence. If rugby was promoted the same way and occupied the same role in constructions of nationality and masculinity and group behaviour, but didn’t involve this kind of high-impact kinetic play, would it really be just the same? I personally doubt it?

      • Emma September 12, 2011 at 8:53 pm

        OK, rugby isn’t violent. But it does normalise high-impact physical acts,

        So when Anna said she hadn’t hit anyone, and you pulled her up on it, she was actually right?

        I think I need to step back a bit. It seems that for me the term “violent” is more ethically neutral than it is for you guys.

        It seems to me that you really did get that. Your unwillingness to call a BDSM pairing a “violent relationship” seems to stem from the same awareness of the connotations of “violent” that make Tallulah and I reject the word “violent” to describe the sex. I think there’s an element of threat which is missing. But then – and I am very aware we’re going off on a massive tangent here – if “hitting” makes sex violent, what about biting? Scratching? Do those things constitute “violent sex”?

        My Doms have never been violent towards me. But the one martial arts practioner I went out with – a karate black belt and the clearest example of Short Man Syndrome I’ve ever run across – assaulted me at a party after we’d broken up. Which makes martial arts even on an anecdote level with the one rugby player who punched me in the face.

        • Hugh September 13, 2011 at 2:57 am

          “Short Man Syndrome”? Is that a real phenomenon in your opinion?

          • Scar September 13, 2011 at 7:14 am

            Sounds kinda ableist to me…

          • tallulahspankhead September 13, 2011 at 8:37 am

            Why? Being short isn’t a disability. And at 5ft2, I am pretty sure I am qualified to comment on that.

            But you know, way to nitpick on a flippant comment Emma made, and not address the points in her comment. Or I did in mine.

          • Emma September 13, 2011 at 10:17 am

            Yeah, Hugh, that’s the point. And no, it’s not, it was an ironic comment, perhaps not the best choice given the tone of this comment thread. They guy was shorter than average, had a complex about it, and was very, very aggressive. This attitude of his was the one I was using “short man syndrome” to convey. I find considering “short” to be a disability insulting to both short people and people with actual disabilities.

            The point, of course, was that he was a “martial artist” who was quite okay with using his skills to harm his ex-girlfriends. You just nit-picked a physical assault, Hugh.

          • Scar September 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm

            I guess my problem with the statement ‘Short Man Syndrome’ in relation to the use of it in this thread is that it implicates that the ‘short man’ in question has violent tendencies *because* of his height.

            So perhaps ‘ableist’ isn’t quite correct (though using ‘syndrome’ is still pretty problematic), but I am still VERY ill at ease with the use of the phrase ‘Short Man Syndrome’, just as I’m extremely ill at ease with terms like ‘Crazy Cat Lady’ or ‘Psycho Tranny’ or ‘Jolly Fat Man’ or any other similar terminology.
            The ableist aspect is less to do with height and more a judgement about someone’s psychological status based on a physical attribute.

            I don’t see why it couldn’t have simply been said ‘He was a violent asshole’ instead of picking on his height as the reasoning for his emotional/behavioural issues.
            If you can’t see a problem with what was written and this hasn’t helped you to understand why it is problematic, then there’s not much else I can do.

            And sorry, but humour isn’t a just defence for problematic behaviour. I really can’t feel okay with it, even if it helped someone get over trauma. Being assaulted by a man of colour doesn’t excuse someone calling him racial slurs to feel better about their assault.
            By all means, call them a violent fuckhead, but don’t pick on their physical attributes!

          • tallulahspankhead September 13, 2011 at 6:06 pm

            Um, correct me if I am wrong, Scar, but did you just tell Emma she’s not allowed to use humour to deal with her own fucking assault? Which is the point she was making.

            Not only have you STILL not addressed the point that both of us were making (which is that both of us were assaulted by martial ‘artists’), you’ve now lectured Emma on how to talk about a traumatic assault and been rude to me about mine. You called Emma ableist when she discussed someone hitting her in the face. I don’t for a second think you would put up with any of us speaking to you that way.

            Emma acknowledged her choice of words wasn’t the wisest in the context of this particular thread. The very least you could do now is apologise for dismissing someone talking about an assaut.

          • Scar September 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm

            As I stated above; I cannot feel okay with using humour to ease trauma if it is adding to the marginalisation of a minority.
            I’m simply not that kind of person.

            Also, I don’t see what you want me to address. I made an observation about people who practice martial arts, based on my experiences. You made an observation based on your experiences.
            I have no problem with that. It’s not my place to comment on the validity of your experiences.

            I was NOT rude to you about your traumatic experience! I was shocked and attempting to convey some basic sympathy – a mistake I will definitely NEVER repeat!
            Nor did I dismiss Emma’s assault! I acknowledged her assault, several times, by pointing out the actions of the perpetrator were those of a violent asshole/violent fuckhead.
            Emma, if you feel that I dismissed your assault, then I offer my sincere, unreserved apologies.
            Tallulah; perhaps you could let Emma speak HERSELF if she has a problem with what I wrote, instead of White Knighting?

          • tallulahspankhead September 13, 2011 at 6:36 pm

            Alright, how about I speak for myself? How exactly was “What were they doing to break your ribs?!” meant to be sympathetic?

            In what way does that convey sympathy? Did it occur to you that perhaps I phrased the sentence the way I did because didn’t want to say any more about it? That perhaps your reply to me might have come across as flippant, especially when combined with how you and Hugh responded to Emma’s?ANd perhaps that I would spend the rest of the night wishing I hadn’t said anything, because you chose to respond that way.

            And no, there was a point there for you to address. You made a blanket statement about people involved in martial arts, something directly contradicted by Emma and my experience. You could, at the very least have acknowledged that.

            As for whether I am ‘white knighting’, aside from the fact that Emma is a very dear friend of mine, and I am furious on her behalf, I am also one of the moderators of this website. I would not put up with you speaking with any other commenter in that fashion, I don’t see why I should put up with you speaking with an author that way.

          • Scar September 13, 2011 at 6:52 pm

            I admit that I am quite bad at expressing sympathy support in ‘normal’ ways – I have never received much myself, so I’m extremely awkward/unsure about how to express it without being OTT.

            I acknowledge that our experiences are contradictory. I thought that was rather self-evident.

            I’m sorry if I offended you.

          • Emma September 13, 2011 at 7:10 pm

            Scar: Yes, I felt you were dismissive. I also found your accusing me of being ableist, when actually I am disabled, and the mother of a disabled child, deeply offensive.

            And as I subsequently said to Hugh, the guy was insecure __about his height__. It was an issue for him. I am not “picking on his personal attributes”. You can be ill at ease with my coping strategies if you like, but you do not get to treat me like that. You also don’t get to tell Tallulah what subjects she can speak on. Both you and Hugh have been very quick to police other people, and very, very slow to admit when you have stuffed up yourselves. If you want to make an apology that has any meaning, you need to knock this shit off.

          • Scar September 13, 2011 at 7:17 pm

            Being disabled does not exempt you from making probalmatic statements any more than being trans prevents me from being transphobic. Yes, if someone called me on transphobia, I might feel offended, but I’d sure as hell own that shit.

            I didn’t treat you ‘like’ anything. I would say exactly what I said to anyone who said such a problematic thing.
            I was raped by a lesbian. That doesn’t mean I get to make jokes and judgements about my rapist’s sexual orientation, just to alleviate my suffering.

            I’m holding you to a higher standard BECAUSE of your own oppression and the fact that you’re a contributor to this feminist blog. You should know better!

          • Emma September 13, 2011 at 7:24 pm

            I was explaining why I found your comments so offensive. Being “short” is nothing, nothing compared with the battles my daughter and I fight every day. You calling something “ableist” doesn’t actually make it so.

            But it is nice that you’ve made it so very clear that you aren’t, in fact, actually sorry. My personal offense is nothing compared to your theoretical one.

          • Scar September 13, 2011 at 7:29 pm

            Oppression Olympics.
            Go for gold; I’m out.

          • tallulahspankhead September 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm

            Scar, you realise you just told someone who was talking about _an assault_ that they should know better?

            Aside from the fact that she wasn’t actually being ableist, telling someone, feminist of not, oppressed or not, that they should be held to a higher standard when they are discussing an actual trauma, is the height of insensitivity.

        • Max Rose September 13, 2011 at 11:22 am

          “It seems that for me the term “violent” is more ethically neutral than it is for you guys.”

          Though it would seem that ethics is a core part of at least one definition: “the use of physical force to apply a state to others contrary to their wishes”. The only times I’ve ever tied someone up and caused them pain is when it’s been something they’ve explicitly asked for. It is thus not contrary to their wishes, so such BSDM practices are not violence.

          It’s mabe a bit trickier with sports, because tackling someone and taking their ball is contrary to their immediate wishes, but their broader wish is to play the game, and without such acts that game would not exist. If someone came and took something off my desk, that would be theft, but if they took my queen while playing chess it might piss me off, but it’s part of the game so it’s not theft. Similarly, people who consensually* play rugby know that they’re legitimately able to expect some rough tackling, and that a certain degree of pain goes along with that (it may even be the reason some people play … but let’s not get into psychoanalysing rugby players).

          On the other hand, they shouldn’t expect to have to deal with a headbutt or rucked groin, and there is indeed an element in “bring back the biff” rugby culture that celebrates that aspect of going beyond the rules, and that’s something that really needs to be addressed. But otherwise, one of the things that people enjoy about sport and games is the element of challenge, of having an opponent trying to “apply a state contrary to their wishes” and of doing the same to them.

          * Of course, non-consensual participation in sport does occur, and it was always a big issue for me at school. I always hated being told to run around a paddock “to build character”: I’d rather be in the library, thank you very much, and get my exercise from biking to & from school. That’s why I’m concerned about the apparent new emphasis at Sparc, away from the “Push Play” model of encouraging an all-round active lifestyle towards a Victorian emphasis on competetive team sports.

          • tallulahspankhead September 13, 2011 at 11:35 am

            On the other hand, they shouldn’t expect to have to deal with a headbutt or rucked groin, and there is indeed an element in “bring back the biff” rugby culture that celebrates that aspect of going beyond the rules, and that’s something that really needs to be addressed.

            But see this is my point. Headbutting, spear-tackling, eye-gouging, tunnelling, all of these things are explicitly forbidden within the rules. The people that do them are thugs. They’d be thugs in any sport. And most likely in life. And that problem can’t be solved by explaining it away by blaming rugby.

        • Hugh September 13, 2011 at 11:56 am

          I’m not denying the assault took place or minimising the harm done to you, Emma. I just found the use of that term rather surprising.

          • tallulahspankhead September 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm

            No, Hugh, you chose to nit-pick over a widely used term in a post about someone being assaulted. Instead of addressing the point she made, you chose to make it about a perceived slight to Short Men Everywhere.

            Neither Emma nor I speak about these things lightly, and given the reactions to both our posts, I doubt anyone else will here, either. So thank you for that.

          • Emma September 13, 2011 at 12:10 pm

            Hugh: I get that. Consider the use of humour to undercut trauma and make talking about it more manageable. Cf: here.

  26. David September 12, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Ohhhh so its ‘free speech’ until someone says something reasonable that you don’t know how to respond to… You can just not post those comments…..

    Shame on you, your style of thinking is no different to an ultra conservative. Closed minded and inflexible. Your both equally to blame for the weaknesses of our society.

    I’ll post my comment again just in case through some miracle you decide two sides of the coin are best to be looked at as opposed to one….

    I’m confused….. The statistics for violent offences are always dominated by males in countries that keep accurate statistics. You could put a list up like that for actors, musicians, artists, politicians.

    Weak.

  27. marc September 12, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Great there is still people out there whom have an open mind…. The world could yet be a great place to bring up a family people

  28. AnnaBoBanna September 13, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Scar it’s getting difficult to debate this with you. When the mention of height becomes ableism, the mention of women in the kitchen becomes misogyny and a case of mistaken identity becomes cissexism I just feel like walking away. There’s no room to debate anything if you’re going to take offense at benign comments. That may have been part of what Marc was referring to when he said you weren’t being open minded (I’d never dream of presuming to know anything about Marc or what he (or she) means of course, it’s just a guess).

    Hugh, I liked the conversation about the definition of violence, that definition may be where things have gotten confused. When I talk about violence I don’t just mean an action, to me it refers to the intent and feeling behind it. A slap on the shoulder can be a greating or can be violent depending on the intent, that presence or lack of an actual threat. To me there is no inherent threat in the tackling that takes place on the rugby field, that’s what I meant by not “feeling violent” on the field. That’s why players help each other up instead of holding them down after a tackle. Same goes with BDSM or a martial arts sparring session or tournament. The only time in rugby I’ve seen actual threat is when idiots start fights or play dirty. This behaviour absolutely should not be tolerated and being an All Black should be no exception. When I say that in my playing career that I haven’t encountered violence as a part of the game itself I don’t mean to imply that no-one plays ever dirty or that some players (or fans) don’t become violent. I’m saying it’s not a necessary part of the game, that type of behaviour is cultural. And I don’t think it’s just rugby culture, I think it’s part of a broader, macho NZ culture which rugby can be attached to. I’m just saying don’t blame the game, you can have rugby without violence.

    • Moz September 13, 2011 at 10:21 am

      AnnaBoBanna, the problem I have is that my experience of rugby was that pulling out the “it doesn’t have to be violent” was a bit of philosphical nitpicking. Sure, in theory it’s possible to do that, no disagreement. It’s even possible that there are professional teams who manage it. They may even win a game sometimes.

      But the usual practice of rugby involves a lot of revving up, intimidation and agression. For many players it is a “legitimate” outlet for their desire to be physically aggressive. It starts with the haka and runs through technical fouls into “what you can get away with”. On the rare occasionas when I’ve met serious players socially they’ve always come across as angry and agressive under a veneer of social pleasantness. So I avoid them.

      • AnnaBoBanna September 13, 2011 at 12:20 pm

        I agree, there should not be a culture of “getting away with what you can”, nor should it be ok for players (or anyone) to be a generally aggressive, intimidating sort of person. I’m sorry your experience of serious players has been so poor. Through my time playing I’ve met an enormous number of very serious players on mens sides, womens sides, under 18 sides, club sides rep sides and there are obviously different types of people involved. Some are overly aggressive, most are not. The culture of rugby should not allow that overly aggressive behaviour, anyone who can’t control it shouldn’t be allowed to continue to play. But the fact that there are some (I would assert most) players who control themselves just fun leads me to say that the game itself is not the problem, otherwise they’d (we’d) all be violent meat-heads, which we aren’t 🙂 Different teams have different cultures, it’s very possible that I’ve played only for teams with cultures I liked (that would make sense, why would I play for a team I didn’t like?). But again, if it’s possible for some teams, it’s possible for them all, we’ve just gotta get serious about changing the culture of those teams that do have a culture of aggression and ban from playing those who can’t control themselves, from the club level through to the All Blacks.

      • AnnaBoBanna September 13, 2011 at 12:25 pm

        The “revving up” part of rugby is there also, as is the intimidation to try and “psych the other team out” but I don’t know that that is so different from other sports, even non-contact sports. I suppose we could debate the haka which admitedly is historically a direct, physical challenge, maybe the haka should be taken out of rugby, I haven’t thought about it. But again, the haka is seperate from the game.

        • Moz September 13, 2011 at 12:46 pm

          Really? Take it out then. Or perform it in the changing rooms. I’m sure requiring that wouldn’t cause riots. If someone tried that at a cycling event they would be reviled. I’m not sure they’d be disqualified, but I expect the organisers would be trying really hard to squash it and find a rule that let them ban it. I can’t imagine anyone even trying it.

          I’m sure that if you spend a lot of time with football players you meet some really nice people. Perhaps what we need is more of those people stepping up and saying “don’t be a dick” when some thugby bogan is, well, being a dick. The best I’ve ever got is a quiet word after the event that “we’re not all like that”. Which says to me that the apologetic one doesn’t think they’d get support if they spoke up in public.

          Right now we seem to be limited to glacial organisational response to the problem that’s still being contested within the organisations. That’s why you get the “boys will be boys” response from media figureheads when yet another professional player beats someone up. If that sort of thing wasn’t accepted in the community what you’d see is a pile-on as every non-involved player tried to get their condemnation on the public record first. And a similar willingness to testify in court.

          I completely don’t accept that internal hearings are an appropriate response to criminal acts on the field. If there’s a fight, call the cops, prosecute the attacker, and ban them for life once they have a criminal conviction. Start at the top and push this stuff down until you can disqualify a primary school for the season if one of their players attacks someone, and get widespread support for doing so. That’s a culture of not accepting violence.

          • Moz September 13, 2011 at 12:52 pm

            Look, today we have a classic example: http://m.theage.com.au/victoria/fevs-fury-over-drunken-stoush-claims-20110912-1k52f.html

            Note the last paragraph… the article is all about how the professional footballer wasn’t actually violent in a restaurant, just drunk, and he didn’t do anything wrong etc etc. Oh, and by the way, he committed a violent crime over the weekend. I can’t think of too many other jobs where you wouldn’t be fired for hitting a coworker.

          • AnnaBoBanna September 13, 2011 at 1:51 pm

            I completely agree. Team members should be more vocal about denouncing violent behaviour, trials should be public, cops should be called and boys should not get away with “being boys”. That would indeed be a culture of not accepting violence which is exactly what rugby needs. I’m also more than happy to move the “revving up” stuff to the changing rooms, actually a couple of my teams usually did do it in the changing rooms. Our revv-ups weren’t really violent (in my opinion) usually consisting of chants on the lines of “who are we?…. (insert name here)” and the like. Although I’m sure there are teams out there with less benign things to say during pre-game, which of course should not be allowed.

    • Scar September 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm

      Anna,
      I wouldn’t want someone to feel that they could not express their opinions because of things that I am saying.
      I will leave the discussion.

  29. Muerk September 13, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Tallulahspankhead:
    “I don’t think the assumption was that the women in the kitchen were being oppressed.

    I think offence was taken at the quite legitimate inference that the ladies _should _ be in the kitchen, cooking up some bangers for the boys.”

    I read it differently, I thought Marc was explaining what did happen, rather than what ought to happen. It’s certainly been my experience that women are more likely to be found in the kitchen at rugby clubs, but I’ve seen plenty of men in there too.

    I’m not overly fond of the word “lady”, but it depends on the context and the intent. I did laugh when I saw in the Greymouth Evening Star classifieds one week “Ladies Bring a Plate” for a social function.

    • Moz September 13, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      I think the “should be” is problematic.

      I’m trying to compare that to what I see at the organised sport I help with. It’s nonviolent, mixed gender (bicycle racing), and major events generally involve 2000+ people driving 5-20 hours to camp somewhere for a weekend. Mostly groups do their own food and there are gender divisions in who does what, but not strictly. I wonder if that’s helped by a lot of groups using gas bbq’s for cooking so “the men” are more likely to help. But I think it’s also because in a 24 hour race no one person can be in charge of anything – they have to sleep. I see a lot of women out working with the competitors and a lot of men cooking and caregiving etc.

      Violence at those events is vigorously discouraged. Disqualification is inevitable if you get caught, and the marshalls put a lot of effort into detecting agressive riding and violence. They publically reward sportsmanship and shame offenders. In theory they will call the cops and prosecute someone, but AFAIK that’s never been necessary/possible. There’s also social sanctions – teams who are too aggressive find that no-one will help them when they need it. To me, that last is a sign that the anti-violence side is winning.

      I just don’t hear about any of that happening in football. The contested ground that I see locally is trying to discourage people from hitting each other or the referees. And failing! It’s not “we discourage aggression and sanction a team at most events but haven’t had to disqualify anyone for being violent since that disaster in 2008”, it’s “we have processes for dealing with the violence that happens every weekend, but they don’t work”.

      What gets me is that it’s not one contest or team that’s unusual in having a problem with on-field or spectator violence. It’s most of the teams, or most of the contests. Somehow football frequently produces violence. Every year there’s headlines about it. In cycling, it’s man bites dog territory.

      You just don’t see headlines like “World Croquet Championship marred by riots” or “Rowing Nationals suspended after spectators attack referee”. And look at the shit Serena Williams is getting for her verbal abuse of the umpire… while the Australian SledgingCricket Team are Australian idols.

    • marc September 13, 2011 at 3:43 pm

      If there was ever a mis understanding:: I Have always seen women in the kitchen at the aftermatch functions i have attended, although there may also be men but i have only seen women!!!!! The bar has been looked after by the club managers which are usually past players in my experience. Its funny that people get offended, but it looks to me some people on here just want to read and take out what they want and respond. Im a male by the way just so as we get things clear… .
      If it seems that i cannot bring anything to the table i suggets some people stop and think about there inadequate theory written here and take note of there own advice.
      I enjoy a good healthy debate but to be fair i dont believe nit picking is healthy… or perhaps i just dont spend enough time in chat rooms to be prepped on how to be right!!!

  30. marc September 13, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    on another note:::

    Sould it be: men mow the lawns
    Women do the washing
    men go to work
    Women do the cooking
    Men do the driving
    women do the ironing….

    CRAP!!!!::: EQUAL OPPORTUINITIES!!!

    • Max Rose September 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm

      I think that’s pretty easy:

      People mow the lawns
      People do the washing
      People go to work
      People do the cooking
      People do the driving
      People do the ironing….

    • Good Gravey September 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm

      Marc: Here’s a wee tip for you. When you come to a feminist blog, and pull the sort of crap you have, don’t fucking cry foul when you are called on it. Be mindful of your language. Save you, it can.

      When you say something like “the ladies have prepeared in the kitchen” (sic) don’t be surprised by the reaction you get. When people use phrases like that, it says so much more than the mere words.

      Just be grateful you haven’t been called on your shitty comment “If commenting on having beer and sausgaes cooked by LADIES upsets you, again its unfortunite” (sic). Not only do you not understand that it DOES cause offence (none of this “if” bullshit), but you regard it as merely “unforunite”.

      You accused Scar of having lost her stance in this conversation? You never even had one.

      “i just dont spend enough time in chat rooms to be prepped on how to be right”. Here’s a hint. When I first joined the online feminist world, I knew I had to be very mindful of what I said and how I interacted. Because in my view, I was stepping into someone else’s world. What did I do? I showed respect for the people whose world I had entered. It really isn’t very difficult.

      For an idea of how to do it, try http://goodgravey.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/one-mans-entry-into-the-world-of-feminism/

      • marc September 13, 2011 at 7:56 pm

        Heres an idea for you…
        If you have a view on something then thast fine.. but if someone doesnt agree then you have to be thick skinned enough to take the comments back.

        Show respect.. well i say it how it is, whats the issue here you dont like a males view that you dont agree with…

        I have a stance with what ever i do, if i didnt believe in what i was writing i wouldnt write it..Fair??
        Actually to be honest i dont really dont want your opinion.. It seesm to me you dont actually like to haer or read anothers opinion that you dont like… Well thats just how life is.. If you make a comment somewhere thats saying rugby players are such and such…… Well you have to have substancial evedience to that.. there are good people and bad people everywhere, just because some rugby guys mite upset someone or get drunk or what ever doesnt mean everone is like that.
        If you dont want others to comment on things then have your own little room with a special key to open it. Perhaps a sign saying ” if you wont rock the boat please come in”

        You have gotta be kidding.

  31. marc September 13, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    whos going to the game this weekend… i think it sould be an interesting match….

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  33. Muerk September 13, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Emma:
    “I was explaining why I found your comments so offensive. Being “short” is nothing, nothing compared with the battles my daughter and I fight every day.”

    I live with someone (my mother) who is quite severely physically disabled due to a stroke. My husband is a short man, shorter than I am by quite a bit. I can honestly say that being somewhat shorter than average and being disabled are two _very_ _very_ different things. My mother struggles with daily tasks, things like having a shower, or cooking a meal are so difficult for her. Because of the disability her life has been utterly changed and she can’t do things, like sew, wear certain clothes, or take the dog for a walk, or garden, activities that gave her immense pleasure. Hardest of all is her lack of control and independence now.

    If my mother heard someone conflating being short (and I’m not talking about little people here, but short within a normal height range) and disability she would be so angry, she would be beyond livid.

    There is NO comparison between what my husband experiences being short and what my mother experiences being disabled. None. What. So. Ever.

  34. AnnaBoBanna September 13, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Could we all just get a little less sensitive??? From what I can see no-one has intentionally attacked or offended anyone, there’s been a pile of over-reactions and misunderstandings. I’m outta here, this is going nowhere.

  35. Good Gravey September 16, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    I think life is really wonderful. If someone doesn’t intend to hurt or offend anyone, then there is no hurt or offence.

    Magic.

    • Charlotte September 17, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      So one should have regard neither to conscience nor consequence? That sounds like a charter for the thoughtless, the cruel and the vain.

  36. Rebugger September 28, 2011 at 10:33 am

    @ coleytangerina: What a shame more men don’t read these kinds of posts and come to think of it, more New Zealanders. I have written about this too (http://unsolicitedious.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/and-so-it-begins/) – makes me sick to think of the increase in violence against women & children in the RWC , that regardless of whether the ABs win or lose many women & children will wear it.

    As for donating to charity – the best way the NZRU can help is by ensuring their players & supporters – from grass roots to professionals are not wife & kiddie bashers. THAT is the only way we will see an end to what is clearly a culture of violence in this country.

    Things like this make me despise humanity for being gutless and selfish – so few are prepared to stick their necks out and talk about the real issues; any time an article is printed on domestic violence & abuse about 100 or so people comment (online). But when there is an article about the bloody ABs at least 500 comment – makes me sick that the safety & wellbeing of women & children are not prioritised.

    Good on you for being one of the few that speaks up!

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  38. Voice of Reason November 17, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Get a grip women – how do the actual convivtions statisitcs (yes convictions as there a lot of the incidents listed above that are merely attention seeking allegations) of rugby players compare with that of the general population?

  39. James November 17, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Get over yourself, they are rugby players who are paid to dish out thuggery, anyone who holds them up as role models is kidding themselves. Clearly the person who wrote this dribbly article is a victim of NZ’s Hulun Klark gynocracy epoch . Go write about how many socially screwed up people her socialism has produced. Twat

  40. Nephihaha December 27, 2011 at 9:08 am

    “a sport which has the most abhorrent track record of player-perpetrated violence against women, and is actively encouraging gambling, high alcohol consumption and will without a doubt in my mind directly result in a huge rise in assault and sexual violence” – Utter rubbish. What these people have done has nothing to do with rugby at all! You’ve just made what’s a “category error”. Soccer has a worse record as regards alcohol consumption and violence. I don’t know where you dragged the gambling bit out of, because I’ve never known anyone bet on a rugby match round here.

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