I can only imagine what “Kate”, the young woman at the centre of the Australian Defence Force Academy outrage, is feeling today.
No matter what the outcome, Kate’s life at the ADFA is forever changed, and probably not for the better. It’s clear she can’t count on the support and understanding of her superior officers, who ploughed ahead with a hearing against her on trivial matters regardless of the allegations that she was unknowingly involved in consensual sex with a young man who’d set up the web cam and arranged for six of his mates watch his sexual performance with her.
Whether deliberate or not, going ahead with the hearing under these circumstances seems at the very least insensitive, possibly punitive, and definitely idiotic, given the media attention already focused on the workings of ADFA.
It’s difficult to get one’s head around the mindset of the young men who set up this situation. The degree of treachery they demonstrated themselves capable of is blood curdling. Kate no doubt liked and was attracted to the individual who did the deed. In all good faith, she consented to sexual intimacy, thinking it was indeed intimacy, and why on earth should she expect anything else? How many women agree to engage in consensual sex and think to ask first if they’re being secretly filmed?
These men seem to have no awareness that a woman is a human being, and neither do some of their superiors.
There should be zero tolerance of events such as this. These men ought to be thrown out on their arses in the gutter.
It isn’t Kate who ought to lose her career, though given the difficulties she’ll have to face, I wouldn’t blame her if she got out. Those men, however, have crossed the line and there ought to be no going back allowed once that line is crossed.
In 2011 there are young men still willing to treat women as sub human in this country’s defence forces. These seven male cadets are supposed to be the future leaders in the army, navy and air force. If they can’t recognise and respect the humanity of half the globe’s population, in my book they’re not leadership material.
But the buck doesn’t stop with them. Who are their superiors, and what are they doing to change this Neanderthal culture? Very little it would seem, as Kate is still being subjected to harassment, in spite of media outrage and global media coverage of the incident, the fury of Defence Minister Stephen Smith, and the anger of Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston. Even though these heavyweights are on the case and the ADFA is under world wide media observation, nothing has stopped those young bloods carrying on regardless with their harassment of Kate, as they coat her bedroom door with shaving cream, and apparently demand that she apologise for outing the seven men.
So much for military discipline. Doesn’t seem to be having much effect.
So who is in control at the ADFA?
Now there’s an attempt by Neil James, executive director of the Australian Defence Force Association, to distract from the substance of the scandal by quibbling about the appropriateness or otherwise of Stephen Smith’s comments on the matter. While that might be an issue at some later date, the central concern at the moment is the inappropriate behaviour of the ADFA cadets towards a young woman, and the culture inherent in ADFA that apparently allows them to believe such behaviour is acceptable. It seems to me that’s a far more urgent issue than whether or not Smith crossed some boundaries.
Perhaps Neil James’ peculiar priorities are an example of the sub human sexist ADFA culture, in that the abuse of women comes well below the list of concerns, and the proper protocols between the Minister and his department are uppermost.
- Sex tape scandal rocks Australian military (independent.co.uk)
- ADF cadet sex ‘broadcast on webcam’ (theage.com.au)
- Australian Military Rocked By Sex Scandal Claim (huffingtonpost.com)
- Australian military hit by film sex scandal (telegraph.co.uk)