AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT AND VATICANIN WORLD YOUTH DAY STD COVER-UP

With reference to my previous post:
FROM AUSTRALIA TO THE UK - A WARNING.

From ALCIBIADES:

Nor does this mention anything of the cost in human terms. The night before the WYD Mass tens of thousands of young pilgrims slept outdoors at a local racecourse, from which the condom vending machines had been removed.

A doctor friend who was present as part of a public health team still gets angry when describing what he saw that night, and the next morning he and the other medics were inundated with frantic young women in desperate need of support and the morning-after pill. He's currently undertaking research into a post WYD rise in chlamydia, and battling government officials who don't want the data made public.


Comments

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT AND VATICANIN WORLD YOUTH DAY STD COVER-UP — 20 Comments

  1. frantic young women in desperate need of support and the morning-after pill

    Is this meant to be a reference to rape? If so I hope the young women concerned went to the police too. If it isn’t, though, I hate to say this but my sympathy is slightly tinged with irritation. Of course the condom vending machines had been removed – was anyone surprised by this? I know young Catholics, male and female both, probably have mixed feelings about carrying around their own condoms, but if you’re relying on the Pope to provide them you’ve only got yourself to blame.

  2. But, but, but abstinence is the only reliable birth control method. Everyone knows all good children take that message seriously.

    vw = inomesc – yep. in a mess

  3. I would not expect condom vending machines at an RC church but a race track? Really celibacy does seem to destroy sections of the frontal lobes. There is a research project there somewhere.

    FWIW
    jimB

  4. I am not surprised to see condom vending machines at a racetrack. Here one finds them at gas-station restrooms.

    I am surprised that the RC authorities would physically remove the machines, however. Were they afraid that people would know that they were ever installed? Or did they think that merely emptying them of their contents would send a hidden message about the organizers? Did they have to post a bond to ensure that the machines were re-installed and any damage to the walls repaired?

    Aside from these fascinating (but unanswered and perhaps unanswerable) questions, there is the further point that these STDs had to come from somewhere. Could it be that a significant number of the attendees were not so innocent as the organizers believed?

  5. I hope this study is done and the results made public! I suspect these young folks were doing a bit more than praying the rosary!

    word verification: raved

  6. Paul(A.): The State & Federal governments (ie Oz taxpayers) paid $41 million compensation to the Australian Jockey Club and the racing industry for loss of earnings and damage etc. Removing the machines typifies the same denial of reality that pretended the thousands attending were in someway exempt from the foibles (and illnesses) afflicting the rest of humanity.

    Cathy: No reference to rape was intended: I believe my friend was referring to the remorse accompanying the realisation that what seemed a wonderful idea in the cold of the night and the heat of the moment wasn’t so great in the guilt-inducing hype of the morning.

    Even in those cases when nonconsensual sex did occur (which it undoubtedly did), reporting the perpetrator when one is a long way from home, in an unknown city & country, and they may well be someone in a position of respect and authority (ie a youth fellowship leader) is a big ask of anyone, particularly if they come from a culture which traditionally places much of the blame and responsibility upon the victim. Given the circumstances (& remembering that NSW police don’t exactly have a long and proud tradition of sensitivity when it comes to such matters, particularly when they are politically embarrassing), if any woman in such circumstance chooses to try and cope by remaining silent then her decision needs to be respected and she is still entitled to our full support. I (like anyone) would much rather see her attacker prosecuted, but we don’t have to return to her community and deal with the fall-out, and WYD probably isn’t the right context for her to initiate the systemic changes necessary to eliminate the injustice and sexism deeply ingrained in her society.

  7. Is this meant to be a reference to rape? If so I hope the young women concerned went to the police too.

    As if going to the police ever makes much of a difference…

    Have you seen conviction rates for rapists? (And I don’t care what country it is–the rates are all abysmal.)

    There is no way in hell I would let my daughter go to an event where she would be sleeping in the open with 10,000 other teenagers. That is a “perfect” set-up for rape and sexual abuse.

    OCICBW, but I bet that is part of why Alcibiades’ doctor friend was so angry. The Catholic Church put those kids in an incredibly dangerous situation, whether or not there were condom machines available.

    Doxy

  8. Alcibiades: I didn’t think it was a reference to rape – however, it was a little unclear.

    As if going to the police ever makes much of a difference… Have you seen conviction rates for rapists?

    Agreed totally. But giving up before you even start by not going to the police doesn’t really generally help either.

    The Catholic Church put those kids in an incredibly dangerous situation, whether or not there were condom machines available.

    How old are the young Catholics in question? … I took it they were late teens, approaching 20. If they’re a good deal younger than that my comments about looking after your own birth control do not necessarily apply.

  9. Um, it’s a great situation for gals who are as horny as guys too. We can’t always blame the boys. The whole situation was one great mass of temptation and satisfaction, forced and consented. If there really was rape, wouldn’t complaints have been heard? Or would they have been ignored? Did those youth have no concern for others? Too many questions to blame anyone other than the adults who organized it but didn’t patrol it carefully. And the whole RC idea that birth control is a sin. I hope the girls, both the guilty and the assaulted got the help they needed.

  10. But giving up before you even start by not going to the police doesn’t really generally help either.

    Have you ever tried to report a rape? Or been close with someone who did? I’ve heard people describe it as a second form of rape…

    According to this website, the conviction rate for accused rapists in Australia had fallen to 1.6% in 2001. Couldn’t find any more recent data in the time I have this morning, but I doubt it’s risen significantly since then or it would have been trumpeted all over Google…

    Um, it’s a great situation for gals who are as horny as guys too. We can’t always blame the boys.

    As a professional sex educator, I are firmly pro-(safer) sex for both young women and men. As a social scientist, feminist, and mother, I am all too aware of the power differentials between girls and boys, and the high rate of sexual abuse of young women.

    In other words, you don’t have to “always blame the boys” or be anti-sex to acknowledge reality. Putting thousands of teenagers together without adequate supervision is a recipe for disaster.

    It is simply a fact that girls are at much greater risk than boys–for both rape and STDs (their biological risk is higher). And they are the ones at risk of pregnancy.

    Too many questions to blame anyone other than the adults who organized it but didn’t patrol it carefully.

    This.

    I hope the Brits take a lesson…

  11. Um, it’s a great situation for gals who are as horny as guys too.

    In my own personal opinion, that would be all of them. That’s partly why my sympathy is a little bit tinged with irritation.

  12. They won’t have all been Australian gals, Cathy

    I seriously doubt that that made much difference, Mad Priest 🙂

  13. Have you ever tried to report a rape? Or been close with someone who did? I’ve heard people describe it as a second form of rape…

    Yes Doxy, I have, an attempted rape. The police were dim but tried their best to be helpful, as you would expect from the plod in England (though perhaps only in more recent years). No, they didn’t catch him. It was a random attack from a stranger, so the chances were always low.

    It is not anti-women on my part to suggest that rape is a crime and should be dealt with by the law. Yes, I agree the police have a history of handling it extremely badly. But staying home and keeping an attack to yourself is not going to change that, is it. Moreover, there is nothing else you could do that would so effectively guarantee that the attacker will get off scot-free.

    I’m not even sure why you’ve got angry with me – unless you think my suggestion that a rape victim should go to the police is evidence of a lack of concern on my part. It isn’t.

    It should be said that one of the reasons that there is such a low success rate with rape convictions is that it can be a very difficult charge to prove. It’s often not hard to establish that sex has taken place but it can be hard to prove that it was non-consensual, because there is usually a shortage of witnesses – either because it takes place behind closed doors or because the attacker makes damn sure there is no one around – and so it often comes down to one word against another. If there is bruising, that helps, but the victim has to get that verified and examined as quickly as possible for it to be any use in court. That means taking the bruises to the police.

    Law courts are also a harsh place for rape victims, it is true, but they are for anyone involved in a criminal trial – assault victims, witnesses of any kind – because, to state the bleeding obvious, it is a lawyer’s job to defend their client and so to cast doubt in any way they can on his or her opponents. Everyone who takes the stand gets put through as unpleasant an experience as the lawyer can manage, without exception. It’s not nice, it’s not morally right, it is quite possibly particularly hurtful to rape victims, but it’s not only them that have to go through it. And if my case had got that far I would have gone through it willingly, even though I knew what I would face.

  14. I also think that one of the differences in what we are saying is that you think the kids at this youth day should have been protected by adults, whereas I was saying they should have taken better care of themselves. That difference is down to the fact that I am talking about an age group that is older than you are, and that may be my error, because I don’t know what age they actually were. But if they were anything over 16 or 17, my point stands.

  15. an age group that is older than you are

    Obviously this should read “an age group that is older than the one you are talking about” (!)