Cars, Beer, Sexual Harassment

All in Good Fun: a man chases a woman, demanding that she expose her breasts

Lest we think that Jets fans are the only ones who form drunken mobs for the purpose of sexually harassing and assaulting women, a new story shows that Australian car enthusiasts partake in the activity as well. Click over to see footage of the mob and a slew of frightening pictures, but be warned that some contain nudity.

The Summernats car festival takes place in Canberra every year, and lovers of souped-up cars gather to watch legal “burnouts” — the practice of spinning car wheels to create a huge cloud of smoke, for the apparent pleasure of destroying one’s tires. As most car cultures are, this one is extremely stereotypically macho. And what does “macho” mean? Well, apparently it means getting really drunk, forming a mob of a couple hundred, give or take, and marching through the streets demanding that women display their breasts.

Police said that the group had organised a snap rampage in protest against the eviction of three people from the event.

At least one young woman was reduced to tears and was shielded by a male companion as the mob, which covered 5km around Exhibition Park without being stopped, yelled at women to take their shirts off.

The ACT Government yesterday warned the show’s organisers to do more to promote tolerance and respect for women. The event, in its 21st year, attracts more than 100,000 people.

ACT Police Minister and acting Chief Minister Simon Corbell said police had told him the protest began after three people were ejected by Summernats security.

Mr Corbell said show organisers had rejected police help.

“In relation to comments . . . such as asking women to remove their shirts, regrettably this does occur at this event,” he said.

“It highlights the need for Summernats organisers to continue to improve the environment at Summernats so it is a tolerant and respectful environment.”

Summernats spokesman Dale Brittain yesterday denied the parade was in protest against the eviction of three people and said a full investigation into the cause of the mob action was under way.

Alcohol was a factor, he said.

“It is a new phenomenon; we have never had that happen at the event before,” Mr Brittain said.

“We haven’t received any official reports of damage.”

[. . .]

Summernats organiser Chic Henry today said the protest mob was the first ever seen at the three-day festival, describing the mob pictured as a “big group of happy people marching around”.

But witnesses crossing paths with the mob said they had been terrified and described young girls as being in tears as jeering youths demanded they flash their breasts in a repeat of the event’s raunchy origins when stripping competitions featured.

Images of the girl who was crying, with a boy who looks much smaller and younger than the rest of the crowd trying to defend her, are over at the article, and they’re quite terrifying. I’d like to see Henry take a look at those photos and say again that this was just a “big group of happy people” engaging in some kind of harmless fun.

The conflicting accounts of whether or not this is a “tradition” or first time occurrence are interesting if not amusing. But regardless, the practice couldn’t be more similar to the Jets phenomenon if it tried. Huge crowds of men, large quantities of alcohol, demanding chants, extreme sexual harassment and intimidation of women, police refusing to do a singe fucking thing about it. Notice the spokesman saying that there have been “no official reports of damage.” Appallingly enough, the police chief makes almost identical statements:

Acting Chief Police Officer Shane Connelly said police had dedicated significant resources to the festival.

“Overall, notwithstanding the alleged disturbance which occurred on Saturday night, from a policing point of view the event could be described as slightly quieter than last year,” he said.

Mr Connelly defended a police decision not to intervene when a mob of more than 200 intoxicated men marched through the festival chanting and reportedly harassing women.

He said police had been informed on three separate occasions that police were not needed.

“No property damage or criminal behaviour was reported,” he said.

That’s right: no “property damage” occurred during the “alleged disturbance.” I seriously can’t even wrap my mind around the concept that when people complain of large-scale, frightening and unstopped sexual harassment of women occurs, the men in charge see fit to talk about how no property was damaged. Clearly, this is the fault of the husbands and fathers at the event for not complaining about the effect the mob had on their wives and daughters. If you don’t report the damage to your property, guys, how do expect them to do anything about it?

On a less snarky note, since when do police decide whether or not to take action against an angry mob based on whether or not the organizers of the angry mob ask them to? I’m pretty sure that if cops run into a fistfight on the street, but the guys doing the fighting say that the police really aren’t needed, that the officers will just shrug and walk away. But hey, screaming chanting mobs of men chasing women and demanding access to their bodies? Whatever. Surely, as we know, police routinely and systematically ignore crimes against women, particularly against poor women and women of color. But usually, they don’t go so far as to ignore angry mobs. The previously unmatched irresponsibility has reached new levels.

But the good news is that they managed to issue more than 500 traffic tickets.

Buddy at the top of the screen, I hope that somehow, some way, someone who knows you finds these pictures, attaches your name to them, and they haunt you for life. I only wish that there were such clear and incriminating photos of the rest of the hundreds of men. But of course, in reality, we know that’s not going to happen. The only ones who will have photos haunting them for life out of this debacle are the women who actually lifted up their shirts. Because physical intimidation and verbal threats equal youthful indiscretion. Showing your tits equal dirty slut who deserves to be shamed for life.

[Via Feminists Philosophers]

0 thoughts on “Cars, Beer, Sexual Harassment

  1. BettyBoondoggle

    You men grown men act like psychotic perverted children when they drink too much in large groups in a male-centric atmosphere and other privileged males in uniform do absolutely nothing to stop them from houding and sexually harrassing underaged girls until they cry?


    Or at least it would be, if I weren’t already aware of how much men hate women.

  2. Rebecca

    I live in Canberra, and really, this is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s the one time of the year here when it really isn’t safe to go out alone at night, since you’ve not only got the hoons going wild out at the venue, but in the city too.

    I wish I was surprised that there’s been more trouble this year, but it’s just about what we’ve come to expect from Summernats. As you noted (how did I miss those quotes?), the organisers don’t give a damn, and the police have been hopeless on it either. It’s a disgrace that this happens every damn year and the government still funnels money in it to drive the tourism dollars.

  3. Scotty

    Dear Cara/Betty,

    What’s the antonym for misogynist? Feminist?

    Sorry, that was unfair of me, wasn’t it, to tar all you women with the same brush? Please, don’t get me wrong, I agree with you on this issue; it was highly inappropriate behaviour, and it should have been handled with more concern/fervour. I’ve spent the last several years trying to understand womens’ issues and in the clear-cut cases of misogynism, sexual repression, sexual degradation, and that ‘second-class citizenry’ kind of mindset that seems to prevail amongst some boys clubs; I’m surprised that, as a species, we’re even remotely viable.

    But, Betty/Cara, you’re not implying/inferring/suggesting that men are the only ones capable of this kind of behaviour, are you?

    I’ve been out on the town for a ‘boys night out’ and witnessed just as many examples of sexist behaviour by women; is that considered okay as a form of retribution for years of apparently misogynistic behaviour by men, is it considered okay as an expression of women finding themselves, is it considered okay under the democratic freedoms guaranteed to all of us under the guise of “freedom of speech/expression”?

    I wholeheartedly endorse your fight to be treated as equals (and isn’t it kind of a shame that the Bible doesn’t grant you the same right(s), and that’s not even entering into the Old/New Testament argument), and even, if you’re not someone with a faith in a deity, but rather, someone who believes in the inherent right to be treated as human being whose viewpoints differ to yours, don’t you find it strange that we can be so diametrically opposed on certain issues.

    Men have been tarred with the same brush for many years (we’re all bastards, right?); do you want to be tarred with the same brush? I try so very, VERY hard to understand womens’ issues; how about you cut some of us a break?

    I don’t think that women are a tool to be used by men; how about you stop treating men as tools that use/abuse women? Don’t get me wrong (again); there ARE individual cases of men being shit-heads, but there are just as many cases of women being just as unkind, disrespectful, condescending, and downright mean-spirited towards men.

    Let’s try a little harder, eh?

  4. Ran

    o/t: Cara, why do you always let BettyBoondoggle’s comments stand? Your comment policy says that “any comments which are insulting, derogatory or inflammatory will be deleted,” but you seem to make an exception for hers. (I’m not saying you should delete her comments — I’m not a fan of comment deletion except in extreme cases, and her comments are not bad at all as these things go — but I’m not sure why you never even respond to address their inflammatory content.)

  5. Ran

    P.S. I actually wrote that comment before seeing Scotty’s, but assuming he’s sincere, he represents one problem with letting BettyBoondoggle’s comments stand: people can easily get the impression that you agree with her man-bashing. (As a feminist blogger, you’re probably going to get some commenters who have that impression anyway, but why would you want to encourage that?)

  6. Cara Post author

    Okay. I don’t know that Betty was male-bashing. There is obviously some type of typo in her comment. It looks like she started to write one thing, deleted part but accidentally not all, and wrote something else. It could, I suppose, be meant to say “You grown men act . . .” but that doesn’t fit with the tense of the rest of the comment, and usually Betty’s grammar is pretty good. I understood the proper comment to start at the word “grown,” and to be asking “really, men act like this? yes, of course they do every day.” Which is true and certainly not the same as saying “all men act like this.”
    That’s my explanation for why I didn’t take issue with it. As for the actual meaning, we’ll have to wait for Betty to come back and defend herself.
    Also, Ran, I’ve clearly let up on the comment policy as of late: go check out the “Whose Abortion?” thread. If I haven’t deleted “women are selfish baby killers” rhetoric, I’m certainly not going to delete “men are jerks.”
    Scotty, yes, misogyny is an antonym for feminism. The opposite. What you were trying to say there, I’m not sure.
    I’ve been out on the town for a ‘boys night out’ and witnessed just as many examples of sexist behaviour by women; is that considered okay as a form of retribution for years of apparently misogynistic behaviour by men, is it considered okay as an expression of women finding themselves, is it considered okay under the democratic freedoms guaranteed to all of us under the guise of “freedom of speech/expression”?
    I’m not calling you a liar, Scotty, but I find this hard to believe. Personally, I’ve never seen a large, drunken mob of women surround a man and forcefully demand that he whip out his dick for their pleasure. If they did, it would be appalling. It wouldn’t be exactly the same, because men don’t live in constant fear of sexual assault at the hands of women, particularly drunk women. But it would still be appalling, utterly inappropriate behavior and I would certainly condemn it.
    But again, I don’t think it happened.
    I also never painted you all with the same brush. I don’t see how you could infer that. I also regularly receive comments from men, have discussions with them, read their blogs, and I’m married to quite a good one. I don’t hate men; I hate patriarchy and what it does to far too many men. I don’t see anything here that would indicate otherwise.
    I don’t think that women are a tool to be used by men; how about you stop treating men as tools that use/abuse women?
    Men are tools for the abuse of women. But so are knives. And most of the time, knives are benign and actually very helpful things. Saying that knives are used in violent acts doesn’t mean that I’m going to get stabbed every time someone picks one up. And saying that men commit violent acts towards women isn’t the same as saying that all men commit violence against all women. Normally comparing people to objects isn’t a device I would employ, but I was working off of the metaphor that you started with.
    So. Back to the violent misogynist assholes, hmm?

  7. BettyBoondoggle

    “But, Betty/Cara, you’re not implying/inferring/suggesting that men are the only ones capable of this kind of behaviour, are you?”

    *groan* Here we go. Some woman said something less than flattering about a SPECIFIC group of men in a SPECIFIC article about a SPECIFIC incident so she MUST have been talking about all men everywhere!!

    Stop her ! Stop her noooowwwww!!!!!

    How about you boys stop trying to wear the shoes you claim don’t fit you, okay?

    Since the third post in this thread further details the problems these druken goons are causing for women in the area, how about you stop trying so hard to change the subject and deal with the simple fact that, more ofen than not, mixing entitled, pornfied jackasses with copious amounts of liquor and a permissive atmosphere will result in this sort of bigoted behavior.

    Not to mention the fact that I witnessed with my own two eyes exactly this sort of behavior constantly. I was a cop for years. No amount of bogus cries of “reverse sexism!!!” is going to change what I saw day after day.

  8. Scotty

    Fair enough, Betty. perhaps I did read too much into it, and if that upset you, I apologise unreservedly.

    And unfortunately, Cara, what I mentioned about the inappropriate behaviour of a group of inebriated women did indeed happen. Granted, it doesn’t occur often; in fact, I’ve only seen two examples of it in my entire life, but it does happen.

    Best wishes to you both.

  9. Ran

    Wow, the commenter who in one breath describes feti as “human”, and in the next breath refers to rape-ogenic feti as “evidence”? Your restraint is impressive.

  10. Pingback: Sports Rape Culture Keeps On Thriving : The Curvature

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