A Woman’s Victim Status Entitles Her to Break the Law?
The news story this week about ACC employee Dr Peter Jansen was fascinating. A disgruntled female ACC claimant (on the basis of alleged sexual abuse) wrote potentially defamatory things about Dr Jansen on a blog. Dr Jansen asked her to remove the comments and, when she refused to do so, commenced a defamation case against her claiming $250,000 in damages. He has made it clear that his aim was simply to have the comments removed, although more recent news articles reported he also demands an apology.
In wades Labour MP Ms Carmel Sepuloni who, in parliament, asked the ACC minister
“Does he think fair treatment includes a senior medical adviser at ACC, Dr Peter Jansen, suing an ACC claimant, a victim of sexual abuse, for $250,000 for speaking her mind on a blog about the appalling treatment of sexual abuse victims under his watch?”
Well Ms Sepuloni, clearly this woman is being sued for defamatory comments about Dr Jansen, not for speaking her mind about ACC policy. If she had taken care to remain within the law in her public utterances then no lawsuit would have transpired.
Ms Sepuloni appears to follow a fashionable feminist belief that a woman’s victim status renders her free from any obligation to obey the law and from any accountability for breaking the law. This is the same attitude that sees feminists routinely defending all manner of criminal behaviour by women including murder on the basis of claimed victim status. Consistent with the Helen Clark regime, Ms Sepuloni appears to have adopted a new variation of the “girls can do anything” slogan, now: “girls should be allowed to do anything they want”.
Ms Sepuloni may not have thought through her position. If victimhood status is an excuse for breaking the law then we should be excusing rapists, child molesters, career burglars and indeed most criminal offenders for their crimes because nearly all of them have been victims of serious violence, exploitation and/or abuse in their own childhoods and that victimization contributed heavily to their own offending. Indeed, nearly all men are victims of sexist exploitation in our society so, according to Ms Sepuloni’s reasoning, they should never be hassled about illegal or inappropriate behaviour.
Various spokeswomen from feminist groups have essentially continued Ms Sepuloni’s line, claiming that this woman is being “re-victimized” by Dr Jansen (Huh? Is he sexually offending against her too?), even insisting that Dr Jansen should be sacked because his private law suit cannot be separated from his employed capacity.
Dr Nick Smith, Minister for ACC, announced that the woman had removed her defamatory statements from the blog and that Dr Jansen had therefore withdrawn his legal action. However, neither of these claims were correct and may have reflected wishful thinking on the minister’s part, hoping he could make the issue go away quickly. Apparently emboldened by the political support, the offending woman announced she “was considering” counter-sueing Dr Jansen. Yeah right, I’m sure he’s shaking in his shoes.
I commend Dr Jansen for standing strong against the political and employer pressure that has clearly been put on him to abandon his legal right to protect himself from defamation. It’s a disgrace that we are paying Ms Sepuloni an MP’s salary for promoting such sexist nonsense. Hopefully, this little saga will add another small step in showing up feminist entitlement and excess for what it is.