by Nicola, Tweed, Australia
The following letter was sent to the Courier Mail Brisbane, Australia, in response to their article published on 8th September 2012. This is a link to the original article http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/new-age-medicine-of-serge-benhayon-leaves-trail-of-broken-families/story-e6freon6-1226467645378. That article has since been picked up and published in other papers and on other sites.
I have just read your article titled “New age ‘medicine’ of Serge Benhayon leaves trail of broken families” in which the journalists report that clients are told “not to allow their partners to touch them without permission”.
Are your journalists suggesting that it is ok for a person to be touched without permission?
The Australian Government provides a resource sheet on rape at http://www.aifs.gov.au/acssa/pubs/sheets/rs1/index.html.
A great deal of this detailed resource sheet centres around the question of permission/consent, for example it states:
“Consent is the crucial concept in sexual assault. It is also one of the most complex. Consent is the issue that divides legal from illegal sexual interaction – the prohibited act is not just sexual penetration of or touching another person, but engaging in sexual touching or penetration without the consent of the other person.”
Interestingly, in the same document they also cover how historically sexual assault was considered a property offence: “Historically, sexual assault and rape were defined as property offences. Women were considered the property of either their father or husband. Consequently, raping a woman made her ‘less valuable’ if she were not married, or was considered as damaging her husband’s property if she were married. The woman’s desire for the sexual interaction, and therefore consent, was typically not considered in these cases. The notion that a woman was the ‘property’ of her husband remained enshrined in law until as late as the 1980s when marital immunity to rape was abolished in Australia (SECASA, 2009).”
Perhaps some of that historic mentality is still with us today.
For example, your journalists further denigrate women with their comments that Serge Benhayon has mostly ‘female followers’. Firstly, that comment is not true in that there are no ‘followers’ and plenty of men – but even if it was true, so what?
Is your paper implying that women (unlike men) are so foolish and easily swayed that they cannot discern or decide the truth of something for themselves?