Schooling Senator Hinch

19 Jan


In the early hours of Wednesday morning, January 17 2019, the body of 21-year-old Palestinian student Aiia Maasarwe was found next to a Bundoora shopping centre in Melbourne.

Police described her murder as “horrendous as you could get,” and refused to release further details out of respect for Ms Maasarwe, her family and friends.

Later that day, Senator Derryn Hinch posted a tweet that contained a most horrific detail, allegedly leaked to him by a “police contact.”  I will not repost his tweet.

Hinch’s tweet provoked an immediate and furious backlash on social media. He responded to this reaction by doubling down, and insisting that “the stark details were included to warn women in the area what this monster, still on the loose, is capable of.”

He followed this up with:

 To all the do-gooder tweeters attacking me for telling the gruesome truth about the Bundoora rape/murder. This brute is still out there. My tweet was for the memory of Jill Meagher and Eurydice Dixon.

Hinch’s posts are deeply unsettling from a number of angles. There is the legal question of publishing details of a crime, and how that may influence subsequent prosecution. His account is also unsubstantiated: we only know that he’s been told some details of the crime by an anonymous someone else. For reasons that are not immediately apparent to me, Hinch believes himself worthy of our trust on these matters.


Most important of all is what it must do to Ms Maasarwe’s family to see that the extreme harms inflicted on their beloved are the subject of a politician’s self-seeking tweet, dashed off in seconds, posted on a global social media platform only hours after her death. One moment spent imagining my own child ‘s suffering and death being co-opted in this way is entirely unbearable. The Maasarwe family, and friends, have to live this. It is monstrous to inflict further anguish on them by detailing the torment Aiia suffered in the form of a tweet. To do this under the pretence of protecting women, and further, to claim it honours the memory of two other brutally murdered women, is beyond belief.

Yet, this is what Hinch did, and he has continued to defend his indefensible actions.

There’s also the effects of his posts on his accidental readers, many of whom, like myself, simply opened our Twitter feed to be confronted by horrific descriptions that I, and many other women I’ve engaged with today, have been unable to erase from our minds.

The details of the attack on Ms Maasarwe will eventually become public, in court transcripts and media coverage. It will be my choice whether to read these or not. Senator Hinch denied women this choice by posting the information on social media and I, and many others, feel violated by his act.

Twitter is not the platform on which to reveal terrifying details police have decided to withhold. This was not an act of noble truth-telling by a courageous man whose only desire was to inform women so that we might better protect ourselves. Indeed, Hinch has demonstrated yet one more way men can provoke terror in women, by detailing the torment another man has inflicted via a platform where such information carries no trigger warning, and cannot be anticipated or avoided.

It is not Senator Hinch’s role to decide for women that we need to be confronted by gratuitous descriptions in order to grasp the danger we are in. We are far from unaware. We understand that if police describe a woman’s murder as “horrendous as you can get” they mean what they say. Many women live on a continuum of fear, from mild apprehension to full-blown terror, pretty much every day of our lives. We can decode “horrendous as you can get.” We do not require men such as Hinch to do this for us, and in so doing, erode what little control we have over how we can best manage our lives in a world where we are at constant risk. Hinch seems to be on a grandiose, messiah-like mission to force women to face the details he decides are necessary for us to know.

In itself, this attitude absolutely violates our right to decide what we can and cannot admit into our lives. It is a dreadful thing to do to women who have already survived male violation, and denial of our autonomy.

What Hinch actually succeeded in doing was to make himself the centre of the story, not the women who were murdered, not their families and not their friends. We have become somewhat inured to politicians’ despicable behaviours over the last years. We don’t expect much decency. However, this action taken by Senator Hinch is up there with some of the worst political behaviours on record.

Women who survive sexual assault as adults, and/or children, and the terrifying powerlessness of being overwhelmed by male violence, are, at the very least, entitled to decide how much we can afford to know about the suffering inflicted on other victims. This is the reason for trigger warnings: to give us the opportunity to decide if we want to take the risk of having our own trauma reignited by the details of the violence wrought on another. We can say no to such information. We are not obliged to absorb the details of horror. We’ve lived horror, and we’ve earned the right to choose not to allow details such as those published by Hinch into our lives. We well know what some men are capable of. We do not forget. We certainly do not need another man to forcibly remind us.

Hinch has been reported to Twitter by numerous tweeps. Many of us have asked him to delete his post. He has steadfastly refused to do this.

It would be appropriate for his political colleagues to school Hinch on his despicable behaviour. However, I doubt any of them will bother. Yet again, it is up to us to express our disgust and contempt for the hideous actions of an elected representative.

Vale, Aiia Maasarwe.







21 Responses to “Schooling Senator Hinch”

  1. Eva Gutray January 19, 2019 at 9:15 am #

    Hi,Visit at Facebook   Australian Association to Stop Guardianship & Admin Abuse (AASGAA)  and learn moreRegards Eva | Jennifer Wilson posted: ” In the early hours of Wednesday morning, January 17 2019, the body of 21-year-old Palestinian student Aiia Maasarwe was found next to a Bundoora shopping centre in Melbourne.Police described her murder as “horrendous as you could get,” a” | | Respond to this post by replying above this line |

    | | |

    | New post on No Place For Sheep | |

    | | | | Schooling Senator Hinch by Jennifer Wilson |

      In the early hours of Wednesday morning, January 17 2019, the body of 21-year-old Palestinian student Aiia Maasarwe was found next to a Bundoora shopping centre in Melbourne. Police described her murder as “horrendous as you could get,” and refused to release further details out of respect for Ms Maasarwe, her family and friends. Later […]Read more of this post | | This post is ad-supported | |

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    Jennifer Wilson | January 19, 2019 at 8:57 am | Tags: Asia Maasarwe, Derry Hinch, Feminism, Homicide, Sexual assault | Categories: Media, Politics, Society | URL: | Comment |    See all comments |



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  2. Rex Williams January 19, 2019 at 9:39 am #


    You were absolutely right to “school” Derryn Hinch on this matter. He should have known better. Sadly being a politician in this country is no guarantee of intelligence and wisdom as we have all seen over the years past.
    Another sad indictment based on a lack of judgement.
    The protection of family is the key reason why the Police did not issue a description. Now if the Poiice think is is not wise to do so, the least Hinch should do is to show some respect for their decision. They don’t make such decisions often and not to try and bask in further media notoriety, his normal procedure.

    All mouth and little forethought.

    Thanks Jennifer for all your actions on behalf of good sense and rational thinking.

    You’re a winner in my book, always have been.



    • Eileen Gordon January 19, 2019 at 9:44 am #

      Well said, Rex. Oh for those old days when a politician was worthy of respect in this sad, sad country in 2019.
      As for the likes of Jennifer, bouquets for you. Don’t know much about you, but I like your style.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Diannaart January 19, 2019 at 11:19 am #

      I live with the horror of both domestic violence by ex and narrowly managing to escape abduction attempts (yes, more than one – appalling male behaviour is endemic, not all men, just too many). Just hearing about Aiia’s murder is enough to bring me to tears, listening to her father …

      I have also been trolled when trying to describe some of my less traumatic experiences (I will never detail the truly harmful experiences) by posters who not see themselves as trolls, but claim I am a liar.

      Yet Derryn Hinch has the power to express himself whenever and exactly how he chooses. Another white male gets to pontificate while women still struggle to be heard or when heard, listened to and treated with respect.


      • paul walter January 19, 2019 at 9:25 pm #

        Diannaart, when are you going to realise that it is not about you?


        • Diannaart January 19, 2019 at 11:39 pm #

          It is about all people’s experiences Paul. Mine is as valid as yours. When are you going to stop trolling me?


          • paul walter January 20, 2019 at 1:59 am #

            De-centring can be so liberating.


        • Sam Jandwich January 21, 2019 at 11:14 am #

          Whoah, Paul! Of course it’s about Diannaart, and everyone else who is fed up with being told what to think by someone who thinks they know better but actually doesn’t. Would you put yourself in the latter category?


    • Jennifer Wilson January 20, 2019 at 9:34 am #

      Thank you very much, Rex.
      Appreciate your comments.


  3. kristapet January 19, 2019 at 10:50 am #

    Thank you for this article Jennifer …

    Liked by 1 person

  4. paul walter January 19, 2019 at 9:24 pm #

    So there is a twitch in corpse yet?

    Just caught it at AIM and enjoyed it, even had a laugh at it in some parts, because it is not, ultimately meant to be trivial and is too paradigmatic of what is culturally wrong with society just now.

    Where do Boris Johnson, Morrison, Trump, Dutton and all the other unconscious, unreflexive, crass and self-promoting oafs spring from, like the army of Boar’s Teeth of ancient legend?

    Tt becomes a bleak stew, these really are the Kardashians of current affairs.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Shaun Newman January 19, 2019 at 11:38 pm #

    Another good article from you Jennifer


  6. Shaun Newman January 19, 2019 at 11:46 pm #

    Hinch has always been an attention seeker this behaviour should not surprise anyone. Why Aussie continue to elect people without scruples to their parliaments completely baffles me, it seems we have been converted to the yank idea of ‘hero worship’ of people who are not deserving of that title.

    The Australian identity has all but disappeared, we are now just a generic version of the United States of North America.


    • Rex Williams January 20, 2019 at 8:35 am #

      ………and isn’t that scary, Shaun.

      A junior version as well and a lapdog to boot.


    • Jennifer Wilson January 20, 2019 at 9:37 am #

      Sadly, I think your observations are only too accurate, Shaun.


    • Mal Kukura February 11, 2019 at 3:29 pm #

      Isn’t Australia now in a relationship to the USA much like they were with the British Empire of 1776 when they declared their independence? Their least civilized people are choosing the Australian’s without scruples who are preselected to serve their imperialist masters


      • townsvilleblog February 11, 2019 at 3:44 pm #

        I have absolutely no idae if that statement is true or false but what I can say is that there is very few politicians who continue to advocate for working people, the only one who comes to mind is Senator Doug Cameron, who has a great intellect and continues to use it well.  _SHAUN NEWMAN_


  7. Diannaart January 21, 2019 at 6:14 pm #

    I have yet to read of any sympathy for Aiia, her family.

    Let alone a glimmer of light upon the day to day lives of women.

    If I have missed anything, I apologise


  8. paul walter January 22, 2019 at 1:29 am #

    It seems illogical and strange to suggest that people do not feel sorry for her and her family and find it a typically offensive insinuation. I’d have thought that would be a “given”.


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