Abuse of Women in/by the Media – Leveson Inquiry – Submission Two

“ANY FAILURE WITHIN THE MEDIA AFFECTS ALL OF US”

Lord Justice Leveson opened the hearings on 14 November 2011, saying: “The press provides an essential check on all aspects of public life. That is why any failure within the media affects all of us. At the heart of this Inquiry, therefore, may be one simple question: who guards the guardians?”

I call on the Leveson Inquiry to establish a monitor for the Abuse of Women in/by the Media and to create a platform for this type of journalism to stop, as part of Module 4: Submissions on The Future Regime for the Press.

Following my previous submission and scores of responses to the posting of it on my blog, what has been revealed to me is that women (and men) have just accepted the abusive treatment of women by the Media as ‘normal’.

This is a clear reflection of the statistics from my first Submission; quoting The Crown Prosecution Service (UK) transcript – Domestic Violence: the facts, the issues, the future – Speech by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC (posted 12 April 2011) – that Women experience an average of 35 incidents of domestic violence before reporting an incident to the police”.

It shows that as a society, we rarely stand up for what is clearly a breach of our human and civil rights until it simply gets too much and we can’t see another way out. The Suffragettes were jailed (consistently) for deigning to want the equal right to a vote.

Women (and men) have become so complacent and conditioned to believe that abuse is normal. We make excuses and about the facts and the reality of what we have created as our western ‘civilisation’:

  • We have the right to vote, that counts for something
  • At least we don’t have forced marriages here
  • That’s just how men are, they’re rough
  • It’s just the way it is, nothing will change

An article from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, “An Allegory of Journalistic Decline” from Aug 29, 2012 details the experience of a reporter who was on Rupert Murdoch’s, The Canberra Times in the late seventies. He gives detailed accounts of Mr Murdoch’s comments on the daily news – one point valid here is – Signed KRM, it says: “I think the worst fault was that the opening sentence was comment. By all means let’s have interpretive reporting but not until we have told the facts first.”

If, quoting Lord Justice Leveson,any failure within the media affects all of us” – what a slippery slope we are on.

The decline in the treatment of women in/by the Media has become accepted to such an extent that today, we are numb to the reality of the situation.

And the 2012 US Republican ticket has a deeply concerning party line that will further impinge on a woman’s right to choose. Mr Romney has said that employers will have the right to fire any women known to be taking the contraceptive pill and that abortion will be criminalized. And Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment has exposed the Republican Party’s true agenda and anti-women policies of the last several years.

We are derailing.

Today, the mainstream media splashes pictures of women celebrities in bikini’s on holiday, passes it loosely as ‘journalism’ and objectifies and opinion on their thighs, cellulite and god-forbid any tummy that is not a six pack – you will be crucified.

Simple mathematics again reveals our double standards and show that we do not have photos of men who have ‘let themselves go’ on the cover of tabloid magazines – its always women who are vilified and criticized for their physical appearance. Why not men? Why not a Page 3 man?

Male homosexual pornography has stayed in the licensed sex shops because we deem that to be a minority, which it remains, and some would still say ‘debauched’ (or worse).

Male and female pornography has always been around. Since Roman times, people have used external stimulation to connect in their numb existence. It used to be top shelf publications like Penthouse and Playboy – magazines sealed and sometimes only accessible in licensed sex shops of from behind the counter. Now soft porn is considered ‘normal’ and magazines with semi-naked women are clearly visible in all newsagents, petrol stations and supermarkets.

There’s no denying there’s a huge amount of revenue generated by the ‘trashy’ magazine market – supported largely by women who are in comparison and jealousy of other each other. Most girls are are brought up to pour over OK! and Hello magazines and judge other women by their figure/relationship/house/child/hairstyle/career/wealth. This is a deeper issue and will need re-education for all women to return to the harmonious, inclusive way of living we all crave.

This constant barrage of degradation of Women in/by the Media is having an impact on the lives of our children.

We are now experiencing the most accessible soft/pornography of all time and children all over the western world as young as 10 are “sexting” images of themselves to each other – they are your sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, nieces and nephews. The deepest concern for us all as a society is that these children think it’s normal to behave sexually with each other.

The United Nations UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child states that – “The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not. The leaders also wanted to make sure that the world recognized that children have human rights too.” And, “It spells out the basic human rights that children everywhere have: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences …”

Do we then have a LEGAL OBLIGATION to protect our children “from harmful influences”?

The mark of a broken society is illness in women. We are rotting.

The Australian High Court passed a law on August 14, 2012 to remove branding from cigarette packets. Nicotine related lung cancer costs the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare A$107m per year. Domestic Violence and Childhood Sexual abuse costs that same Government A$8bn per year – an immense difference that we ignore. And the A$8bn a year doesn’t include the costs of ongoing counseling and healing – and the emotional costs for victims is unfathomable. From personal experience, having been a victim of childhood sexual abuse, I can honestly say, it’s a long process of true recovery. Is there a link between pornography and violence towards women and children? Absolutely – and it’s an area that our society doesn’t want to address.

Reviewing the FACTS of these figures, should it be soft/pornography that is removed from the shelves and not the brand labels on cigarettes?

According to Cancer Research UK (updated 10 May 2012), in 2009, there were 48,417 new cases of breast cancer in the UK – and that doesn’t include the cases already being treated. Consider for a moment that Wembley Stadium holds 90,000 people – fill it up with those new ‘cases’, and top it up with the husbands, children, parents and siblings of those women and every year you have that many NEW people affected by our rot in society and the complacency in our treatment of women. Sure we are seeking a cure to the symptoms, but how deeply do we want to address the cause?

“Pear shaped” and “tits up” are expressions commonly used by men and women express when something’s gone wrong. Our colloquial language reveals that the denigration of women is part of our psyche. A woman’s anatomy has been commoditised to parts.

The Leveson Inquiry has a responsibility to consider guidelines, recommendations and regulations on the Abuse of Women in/by the Media to ensure we arrest this ill momentum. We need to leave a foundation for our children and our future generations that respects women and shows that there is another, more caring way to treat women that will inevitably benefit men and our society as a whole.

By choosing to ‘let this slide’ we are choosing to allow it to continue – and we have for many, many years. We need to clearly underline that we will not allow this to continue to give the opportunity for future generations to see there is another way.

Yours truly,

Sarah Cloutier

Abuse of Women in/by the Media – Leveson Inquiry submission

“ANY FAILURE WITHIN THE MEDIA AFFECTS ALL OF US”

Lord Justice Leveson opened the hearings on 14 November 2011, saying: “The press provides an essential check on all aspects of public life. That is why any failure within the media affects all of us. At the heart of this Inquiry, therefore, may be one simple question: who guards the guardians?”

I call on the Leveson Inquiry to establish a monitor for the Abuse of Women in/by the Media and to create a platform for this type of journalism to stop as part of Module 4: Submissions on The Future Regime for the Press.

In July, London lit up with the opening ceremony of London 2012. During the event, the Suffragettes were wheeled out to show how far we had advanced as a society and how far we’d come as a western civilisation. Have we really?

There are some male dominated industries, journalism is one – and I have worked in film and television for over 25 years – I know all about the aside remarks about my arse, snide comments, stares at my breasts, sexual innuendo, put downs in meetings and judgement of my capability based on the fact that I have a vagina (yes, that word again). I have endured the whistles from builders, groping in nightclubs and pubs and the inevitable judgment on my appearance, comments on the length of my skirt, the tightness of my jeans/t-shirt etc.

Now as a General Manager for a film post production company, and having worked my way up the ranks, I still have to deal with the “don’t get emotional” comments when I need to manage a difficult situation at work. I call it when it happens, and I can change my work environment because I am the boss. This attitude, and the fact that men feel they can make comments like this, is perpetuated by the onslaught of soft porn and opinion-based ‘journalism’ we are bombarded with from the mainstream media today.

If you haven’t read them already, please feel free to review the links here from recent ‘stories’ about Kristen Stewart, Geri Halliwell, Page 3 Girls, and you will see that we have not evolved one iota – the Media continues to treat women as play things and mindless twits who allegedly hug teddy bears, seek spiritual support – or better still – just get their kit off and act like a porn star. These three examples took me all of two minutes to find on The Sun* online – and these are accessible to young women all over the world. Is that how you would like your daughter, niece, granddaughter, girlfriend, sister or wife portrayed. Or are you OK with the continued denigration of women on a daily basis? We have reduced women to objects (again) and technology has brought it onto the phones of our children – I strongly feel that more responsibility is needed from the Media and its regulators.

Now I know most men will say – “Love, if you don’t like it then don’t read it, you sensitive little thing.” With a patronising tone aimed at belittling any feeling of objectification these stories/publications have on women. And I know there are some women who would discount this opinion with “Don’t be a prude – you just need a f*&k/vodka/chocolate”.

Amazing women inspire me, it’s simple mathematics that there are no stories written about them in the media – those representations don’t interest the Editors, obviously, as they believe they won’t sell papers. The print industry is dying and they need to sensationalise and sexualise stories about women  to drive people to their websites.

We are supposedly in a modern western society where women have the right to choose what we study, where we work, where we live, whom we marry, what we wear, whom we date, what we eat and the life we live. There are other women in the world who do not have these freedoms and are still subjected to witch hunts, stoning, slavery, forced marriages and lives of abuse.

Through lack of responsibility, we continue to perpetuate a society that condones the abuse of women. This type of behaviour is certainly not allowed in the workplace and, after studying UK and Australian HR law; this behaviour regularly gets employers and perpetrators into a world of litigation. Yet we allow it every day in our press and media. Why is that?

The Australian press (Courier Mail, News Corp*) has made claims this weekend that women who seek truth and a loving way of life are gormless, mindless followers and that we don’t have the intelligence to choose how we live. The blatant approval of sexual abuse in the article is simply shocking. The author states that one of the healing techniques offered by female practitioners caused women “to not allow their partners to touch [their breasts] without permission”.

There in-lies a deep fracture in the Media and how it portrays women as a whole. Less concerning is the drivel of two men’s opinion thinly veiled as ‘journalism’ – more devastating is the impact of this tirade of derogatory and misogynistic attitude towards women by mainstream media.

The Australian Newspaper published a story on 31 August 2011 detailing the “Frightening’ rise in domestic violence in Australia. According to the NSPCC, states that “Including all costs, the total cost of domestic abuse for the state, employers and victims is estimated at around £16 billion per year.”

The Crown Prosecution Service (UK) released a transcript – Domestic Violence: the facts, the issues, the future – Speech by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC (posted 12 April 2011) – it states some chilling facts:

  • Nearly 1 million women experience at least one incident of domestic abuse each year
  • At least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence
  • Two women are killed each week by their partner or ex-partner
  • 54 per cent of women victims of serious sexual assault were assaulted by their partner or ex-partner
  • Victims of domestic violence are more likely to experience repeat victimisation than victims of any other types of crime
  • 76 per cent of all DV incidents are repeat
  • Women experience an average of 35 incidents of domestic violence before reporting an incident to the police
  • 19 per cent of women have experienced stalking since the age of 16

These statistics are our sisters, daughters, nieces, granddaughters, wives, mothers and friends.

His closing statement is one for reflection; “The steps that we and our criminal justice partners are taking to tackle domestic violence risk limited success unless this complacency is tackled head on. A change in attitude is clearly needed.”

Where are we headed if all the rates of domestic violence, violence towards women are increasing?

The Leveson Inquiry has a responsibility to consider guidelines, recommendations and regulations on the Abuse of Women in/by the Media to ensure we arrest this momentum. We need to leave a foundation for our children and our future generations that respects women and shows that there is another, more caring way to treat women that will inevitably benefit men and our society as a whole.

ENOUGH.

Seriously. Enough with our complacent attitude towards the treatment of women in our society by the Media. We need to step up and take responsibility for the impact that the Media has on our attitude towards women.

I welcome any questions or for more information.

With thanks,

Sarah Cloutier
(address/number sent but withheld from this blog)

(*This is not solely about News Corporation, though they are the most overt in their representation of women in their publications so are an obvious ‘out’ for this type of journalism.)

Letter to the Editor – News Corp

To the Editor – Courier Mail/News.com.au/Perth Now/News Corp

Re: “New age medicine of Serge Benhayon leaves a trail of broken families”

As General Manager of a film and television company in Melbourne, I expect a level of commitment of my team to research and investigate new technology to ensure we have all our facts straight before proceeding with any commitment that could impact on the success of the business.

As the Editor/s, and manager/s of a team of journalists, and a member of a national news network, I am surprised that neither your, Josh Robertson or Liam Walsh, did any investigation or research into Universal Medicine, Serge Benhayon, or the true intelligence of women such as myself, in fact, all women.

Why are you not putting on the front page the skyrocketing increases in diabetes, cancer of all types, heart disease, lung conditions, mental illness, alcohol abuse – and the most affected by this ‘story’ – domestic violence towards women??

Isn’t it time we started to arrest these alarming statistics?

According to Diabetes Australia:

“Up to 60% of cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented. The total number of Australians with diabetes and pre-diabetes is estimated at 3.2 million”

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare:

“The risk of being diagnosed with cancer before the age of 75 years is 1 in 3 for males and 1 in 4 for females.
“The risk before age 85 years is higher, at 1 in 2 for males and 1 in 3 for females.”

According to the Parliament of Australia:

“Alcohol is a significant risk factor for domestic violence, particularly in Indigenous communities. A longitudinal analysis of alcohol outlet density found a relationship between alcohol availability and domestic violence. Packaged liquor outlets that sell alcohol for off-premise consumption were particularly implicated.”

And, from the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse

“Children are exposed to domestic violence by witnessing violence and abuse, intervening to protect their mother, being present in a household filled with violence and terrorising behaviours as well as being directly abused themselves.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics:

In 2007, 47 963 divorces were granted in Australia, which is one in three, and most divorce applications are submitted by women.

The costs on our public funds are immense:

According to the Department of FaHCSIA, the cost of domestic violence on the Australian Economy is $13bn a year.

According to Diabetes Australia, the cost to the Economy is $10.3bn

According to the Australian Institute of health and Welfare, the cost of cancer diagnosis and treatment is $2bn a year.

Very revealing that domestic violence costs the Economy more than cancer and diabetes put together.

Divorce is costing $18bn a year – $11bn of that goes to legal costs.

Your ‘expert’, Cult Counselling Australia director Raphael Aron said of the alleged 42 marriage breakdowns “That’s an absolutely devastating figure, catastrophic”

The facts I found readily online easily show that this is a very small percentage to the national average – and as I’m sure you well know, marriage/relationship breakdowns are complicated and never attributed to one situation, but a build up of issues over time.

Most concerning for me, was your last comment  – for women “to not allow their partners to touch [their breasts] without permission”

Editor/s, may I remind you it is 2012 – and women have the right to choose when and how their breasts are touched. Isn’t that what you want for your daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter, mother – wife?  Since when did women give up the right to choose who they want to spend time with, what courses they attend, who they marry or divorce and by whom and when they allow their breasts to be touched?

I’m 44 years old and have worked all over the world in my profession and have been listening to Serge Benhayon and attending Universal Medicine courses since 2001. He is a man of the highest integrity and has never once told me what to do – ever. I consider everything he presents and make up my own mind – yes, I have one of my own. It reveals your lack of intelligence that you, without any investigation, slander women who chose to live a life of gentleness and care for themselves as ‘followers’ – I have not given up my career, education, intelligence, hopes or ambitions. I have had more true success in my work and private life since choosing to live with more tenderness towards myself.

I live an amazing life, full of wonderful friendships with women without jealousy or comparison. My commitment to care and nurture myself now is greater than I ever imagined, changes that my mother (in Toowoomba) calls miraculous. The miracle is that, through the Universal Medicine courses, I have connected to a deeper sense of love for myself and cherish myself deeply. I have wonderful friendships with men too; they are tender, truthful and loving – and I will only be intimate with a man when I feel that there is harmony, openness and true care.

A responsible life of getting to bed early, eating well, exercising and not drinking alcohol is pretty simple and can support a healthy life – and a healthy society. My choices have a positive impact on my team at work and my family, as they are seeing that there’s another way – to live a vital life with energy, clarity and consistency.

Educate yourselves, please – you are abusing your journalistic power when we very clearly need more truth in this world.

https://www.universalmedicine.com.au/medicine-life-lived-well-apparently-cause-alarm

http://truthaboutuniversalmedicine.com/

http://truthaboutsergebenhayon.com/

http://medicineandsergebenhayon.com/

http://womeninlivingness.wordpress.com/

http://wordsonsergebenhayon.wordpress.com/

References:

http://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/Understanding-Diabetes/Diabetes-in-Australia/

http://www.aihw.gov.au/cancer/

http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BN/2011-2012/DVAustralia#_Toc309798377

http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3307.0.55.001

Brand New Day

The glorious sun rises, sometimes from behind clouds, but it is always there, reminding us of a new beginning. The sun feels like a reflection to me of the opportunity I have every day to re-set and make new choices.

Yesterday was my final day at work – as predicted, they couldn’t get me out of there fast enough and I am feeling relieved to be returning to London, and a little sad that the Melbourne journey wasn’t as I expected. I know I had very high expectations and was in illusion about what the position held and what I thought the job was going to bring to me, instead of the truth – which would be to see the job for what I would bring to it.

I reflected yesterday about a comment from a very dear friend that said “Love yourself a billion percent” – and I know that there is an opportunity for me to have another crack at that in the next job! I know that I will continue to have opportunities to bring another dollop of Sarah to the corporate world 🙂

In truth, in every moment, I can Love myself a billion percent – and with every new sunrise and in every moment, I have that opportunity to change how I see myself and give myself the grace to take the sunrise into my heart and feel that new beginning. And a sense of graceful urgency to begin each day with tender acceptance of change and my responsibility to be me a billion percent.

Yesterday, one of my female colleagues gave me a big hug and said, “I’m going to miss the energy you bring.”

London here I come!