Thursday, April 07, 2011

Defence Force Scandal

Defence has called in the Federal Police to investigate claims male cadets secretly used a webcam to broadcast live footage of one of their number having consensual sex with an 18-year-old female colleague.

So who took the footage? Who broadcast it on Skype and why is there a notion that any disapproval of this is "hysterical" and that any disgust expressed  should not be incase it affects the case? It ought to be affected. "Kate" is someone's daughter, someone's family member and she is 18. We all know teenagers can do some extreme things these days and that social media can get them into trouble but "Kate" has been humiliated and violated.This was all premeditated and very public. I am saying that and I don't think Stephen Smith was angry at all when he first came out and expressed he would not tolerate any behaviour like that in the military forces of which he is head. What he has done further, and to his credit, is he has used his position and exercised a duty of care to help ensure reasonable and sane conditions for an 18 year old who is under extreme emotional distress and risks long term psychological harm in the defense academy. If this story is anything to go by then it is our minister's job to ensure the safety of women at the academy. Maybe the family is lying and has got it all wrong, like everyone else is hysterical and has got it all wrong. The person who defended the defense academy this morning on the radio was saying  Stephen Smith had said things before he had the facts...well it is a good job Stephen Smith did say something because it is not looking any better now. For as long as people say the media has got it wrong, I have got it wrong, he has got it wrong and we conjugate it like that, then stepping back and saying nothing means that "Kate" is at risk. We have a duty of care and when it seems there is a real problem like this and that someone has been violated in such a fashion - the law has been broken, the workplace conditions are not safe, I don't actually have faith in the military to sort this out fairly on her behalf given the other stories we have heard - then yes, Stephen Smith needs to clarify the situation and allow due process to occur even though  the only due process "Kate" has had is to be put up as pornography on Skype for the pleasure of others and then rendered so distressed and broken that she cannot withstand the barrage of everything else which is now occurring. There has to be a law that says she needs to be protected from her workplace and at the moment Stephen Smith has stepped in and offered that protection so that things can be sorted out within the law and with the defense force personnel. I hope there is someone else in there from the government who is offering Kate psychological support. That is crucial at the moment. The police will do their job and sort it out but we need to know our daughters are safe if they join the military forces and we need to be very vocal if they are not. The military academy is not responsible for how their cadets behave until they have been trained. It is part of a learning curve, but the message is clear about social media  and needs to be an early lesson and the message needs to be  far clearer about harassment, bullying and victimization.

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