“Over the last few months I have become increasingly concerned about the actions of our Prime Minister, and how they show a complete lack of understanding about the impacts of sexual and physical violence in this country. His “prison rape” joke on radio yesterday was the last straw. I believe it is no longer OK for John Key to make light of sexual abuse and sexual violence, and so I ask you to join me in calling on the White Ribbon organization to remove John Key as an ambassador.”
~ Kyle MacDonald, ActionStation Member
This petition was submitted by Kyle:
The White Ribbon Campaign is a “global campaign led by men who condemn violence against women,” and asks men to pledge to this cause once a year in November, by wearing a White Ribbon.
According to the White Ribbon Campaign, their Ambassadors “embody the principles of the campaign” and are chosen for “their willingness to challenge the behaviour of abusive men, and to convey key messages directly to their own communities.”
Despite being a White Ribbon Ambassador, Prime Minister John Key has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of leadership on, or even basic understanding about, key concepts of the campaign including consent and respect. Having only recently apologised for his inappropriate and offensive comments in Parliament about Opposition MPs ‘backing rapists’, the Prime Minister yesterday took part in a radio station joke about prison rape.
Ken Clearwater from Survivors of Sexual Abuse New Zealand said he found the stunt “bloody appalling”.
“Rape is not a joke, full stop. Regardless of the gender of the victim. The psychological damage done to men and boys is the same as to women.”
The National President of New Zealand’s National Council of Women, Rae Duff, said Key routinely trivialises sexual violence,
“Violence is a serious issue in New Zealand with many cases going unreported. Key’s ‘joke’ shows a lack of respect for victims and contributes to the stigma faced when speaking out about violence and harassment.”
Challenging the behaviour of abusive men, as Ambassadors of the White Ribbon Campaign have committed to do, includes challenging the persistent representation of rape as something to be laughed about. Whether the joke is about men or women, prison or family life, jokes about rape help perpetuate the idea that sexual violence is okay.
So, for the second time in just over a month, ActionStation members are telling our Prime Minister, “It’s not okay.” Led by ActionStation member Kyle MacDonald, this petition calls on the White Ribbon Campaign to remove Key as an Ambassador.
Participating in a rape joke is inappropriate behaviour for a Prime Minister under any circumstances. For a Prime Minister who is also a White Ribbon Ambassador, it is doubly inappropriate. By keeping Key on as an Ambassador the White Ribbon Campaign is sending mixed messages to the men of New Zealand about consent and respect, and undermining the goal of its campaign.
Will you join ActionStation member Kyle and call on the White Ribbon Campaign to remove John Key as an ambassador?
NB: This topic is a harrowing one. If you or someone you know could benefit from some support, please consider finding a sexual violence support service in your area.
John Key joins Tom in his cage, The Rock