Public schools rely on the unpaid overtime labour and emotional blackmail of teachers. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve challenged why we are expected to complete an arbitrary task in our own time only to be told ‘we don’t get into teaching for the money’ and ‘we go that step further because it’s what is best for the children’.
No-one should pretend such behaviour was anything other than vile. At the same time, it’s important to recognise just how much of the conceptual apparatus we now possess to understand sexual abuse owes to the liberation struggles that Devine, Power and co so loathe.
Most obviously, the modern notion of consent emerged from a women’s movement that fought bitterly against male entitlement to female sexuality.
I took one of the courses that d’Abrera singles out – ‘Imperialism, 1815–2000’ – and by the time this goes to print I will have sat the final exam, so I’d like to take this opportunity to counter the ways d’Abrera dismisses the unit.
Coming out rarely occurs so smoothly. Mine certainly didn’t – met more with intrusive fascination than genuine support – and the assumption that the safety of coming out is all but assured in modern society is wishful thinking, especially where moral panic surrounding teen queerness (remember Safe Schools?) still abounds.
The outpouring of anger, fear and collective grief from women has been steady and predictable. So too has the steady and predictable stream of advice for women to ‘keep safe’, be vigilant and ‘take responsibility’ for their safety. It is not the first time that police, and politicians, have offered this kind of advice. In 2015, after the killing of Melbourne teenager Masa Vukotic, Homicide squad chief Detective Inspector Mick Hughes said on national radio that ‘particularly females […] shouldn’t be alone in parks’.