Friday, 9 March 2007

Evil Rickards and the Brave Women

Super 14 to me still doesn't seem real. It is only March - and the competition has been slogging itself out for the last month (mostly to a highly mediocre standard might I add).

So I write about something completely different tonight, but something that is entwined with the macho sporting culture in this country, and around the world.

Last year while the Football World cup was on - it was reported there was rise in domestic violence levels after each England game in the UK by up to 40%. In New Zealand, that statistic is even worse. New Zealand, for all its liberal policies and female leadership representation has one of the worst records of domestic violence against women in the developed world. And of course, the level rises after a major rugby test match with all that testorone coursing through disappointed or joyous liquored blood.

Tonight, I marched on the Wellington Police station against the justice system that protects the rapist and violator, and leaves the victim to be villified in public. For all our progress, it is still a sad world where inequality is rife and violence is rampant against women.

A lot of us on the march tonight were desolate about the future. About the fact that we are still not protected after all the so called social steps that our sisters before us have taken in the last thirty years. It got me thinking about the fact that wouldn't it be amazing if a sports team, such as the All Blacks, could put their efforts behind supporting a deserving charity such as Women's Refuge. I think it would be a first in the world, a macho sporting fraternity in this country putting the weight behind a cause that is noble and challenging and protects the woman and the child.

It is a sad fact of life that the men who follow an egg shaped ball around a paddock can have such an influence on the non-thinking rickards in this country. But sometimes it is these men (the non-violent men) that need to throw their weight behind the movement to end violence by men against women. There are campaigns worldwide for this - one particuarly strong one - the white ribbon campaign plugs away.

I'm prepared to believe that a team like the All Blacks could have a major influence on domestic violence in this country for the good of the country, not the bad. And that people like the Richie McCaws and the Dan Carters of the world throwing their weight behind a worthy cause could actually reach some of those violent imbeciles more than the law can. Maybe they can even reach some of those violent imbeciles within the 'law'. Who knows. You decide.

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