In response to the denigration of women by the press

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?

38 thoughts on “In response to the denigration of women by the press

  1. It feels like a very significant point that you make Nicole re: the old values of how women were treated in society. Is it possible that these values are entrenched in the minds of males everywhere? Is it possible that in order to ‘play ball’ we allow the women some surface freedom, but still have our beliefs buried so deeply that we barely recognise them when they slip out – and slip out they invariably do. As a society are we not responsible for all that occurs in it? Then as men we are responsible for all that we write, do, touch, say…It is time that we all stepped up and faced the truth that we are still so far away from. Stop, take stock, and start to walk back toward it.

    1. What I find most amazing is the tabloids pointing the finger when you DON’T think or behave in these archaic ways.

  2. Thank you Nicole! I feel what you have shared highlights the fact that this particular media allegation is an affront to ALL women, and is in no way restricted to those women who are associated with Universal Medicine. As such, it is exposing as to exactly where our society is at (as Lee points out) and how deeply entrenched some of these belief systems are. I am deeply grateful for the work and presentations of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, and particularly Natalie Benhayon, which has supported us as women to begin looking at some of these beliefs and begin to re-claim the naturally amazing and very capable, precious women that we are. From that basis – the basis in which we as women honour, love and respect ourselves first, we can then claim that in our relationship with others, and once again begin to say ‘no’ to what is not true and what does not feel right in our body.

  3. How immersed in their own agenda must the journalists be, that they are so oblivious to what they are actually writing? To write about women in this way signals a level of paternalism, even misogynism, that is astounding to see in the mainstream media.

  4. Thank you for the history, Nicole, and in my relationship with my husband, as I have become more accepting, respectful and loving with myself and my husband, it allows him to be the loving, gentle man he truly is. He often comments now on how I feel (how my body feels) and I can feel my tenderness and preciousness too.

  5. Thank you Nicola, you raise important points here. The boundaries between consent, rape, and permission are often conveniently and loosely termed, and we as a society have not stood up to this. We see cases in the news, or hear about cases, and yet many of us (me included) observe, feel sad, and then do nothing but carry on with our own lives. Not to say we have to all start some movement, or defensive action, but that we can each in our own lives start to state our feelings clearly, and express what we feel as we go about our daily living in all matters, including those related to the denigration of women.

  6. Thank you Nicola for your research and the compilation of your blog entry, its clarity in delivering the truth as it is, is simply awesome. I have been shocked at the means in which journalists have employed to sensationalise their deceptive stories. It is suggested that if a husband wants to touch his wife’s breasts that permission is not required as he is the husband and this gives him the ongoing right to touch and treat her body however he feels fit – “what the?” – this is crazy caveman mentality.

  7. Thank you Nicola, for what you have so deftly exposed here. Indeed, such ‘historic mentality’ does still exist today; that our media allow such insult and irresponsibility to be openly published, without any form of correction, apology or accountability is a horrendous situation.
    And yet, we have so many voices of clarity – such as your own, those commenting here (female and male), and many, many others, who are saying this is not now (and was not ever) ‘ok’. We are all hurt by the perpetuation of such misogynistic views.

  8. Goodness me, I was astounded to learn that “the notion that a woman was the ‘property’ of her husband remained enshrined in law until as late as the 1980’s” – golly, that was only ‘yesterday’. So perhaps this feeling of a woman being a man’s property/object, still runs very deep in some people’s consciousness – evidently including these journalists. Shocking really.

  9. Thank you for your article Nicola. You make a good point about ‘historic mentality’. With the publication of Josh Robertson and Liam Walsh’s article it is quite evident that the notion of women being mens property is still living. Even though there is plenty of evidence showing how many men attend the presentations of Universal Medicine, I find it strange that the focus is always on the women that attend, implying that women are gullible and have no mind of their own, which again brings the ‘historic mentality’ attitude to the fore.

  10. Quite a disturbing history indeed – the media would only benefit society by not perpetuating these misogynistic beliefs and undertones through extraordinarily poor journalism like that clearly exhibited in their article on Universal Medicine.

  11. It is very interesting reading articles like the Courier Mail article on Serge Benhayon – they point the finger and in the pointing they reveal some really disgusting attitudes. It is especially crazy when the one pointing is pointing at a party that has done nothing whatsoever wrong.

  12. More evidence of the media’s irresponsibility. For the sake of a sensational story, they are happy to imply that there is something wrong with a woman who only allows her partner to touch her with consent. How would they feel if this woman was their daughter, sister, mother or partner?

  13. Yes, it is very interesting that when journalists (or anybody, really) attack people of integrity they have to present a point of view. Here that touching without permission is desirable, as being correct. That is just ugly.

  14. I cannot believe the totally misleading way, the bias and the outright sensationalism in their comments that these particular journalists portrayed Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon. It is disgusting. Its about time the media lifted their game and started to print only truth instead of creating controversy when there is none while also promoting the lies of their dubious ‘sources’ of questionable integrity which is exactly what this article did. Only when the media are held totally responsible for, and forced to correct, the lies they share, will we see the change that is so needed in journalism.

  15. Very interesting to understand how deep male arrogance and supremacy run in regard to women. It might not be that blatantly obvious anymore with all the gender equality achieved – at least somehow in some cultures – but the dominant male consciousness is still very palpable and well exposed by the courier mail.

  16. Nicola, thank you for exposing much of that underlying dominant energy that still exists today of women being property. I never knew that sexual assault was considered a property offense, and yet it makes sense given the attitude that underlies it and yes it still exists today, in a more subtle form in many societies and more blatantly in others with honour killings, child marriage and marital rape not considered offenses, or considered domestic / family issues. We have some way to go before we get rid of this, which as Alex notes above is a male arrogance and supremacy issue. The idea that women somehow can be led astray is insulting and really not any different to those societies where women are kept hidden for their own ‘safety’ – the thread that runs through both is the idea that women are somehow not capable and it’s a great way to dismiss their opinions and what they feel, especially if what’s being suggested is a challenge in any way to the accepted dominant societal narrative.

  17. For men, a woman’s body is a bit like a bottle of scotch. You do not expect the bottle saying to you anything to stop you in your tracks when you are seeking relief after a long and difficult day. The problem (for men) is that women are not a bottle of scotch, and that even intimacy has to abide to legal provisions that are usually left aside in the name of we promised each other (to get as much relief from life as we need). What happens here and it may be difficult to understand by someone that only knows this version of life, that people may discover a different version of life, one in which love (not relief) plays a big part and where, consequently, the ideals and beliefs governing us do not apply any longer. This may shock and even upset mainstream people who may deem it unacceptable, weird, very weird, mega weird, mega ultra weird, horrible, insulting, etc. So, it is not just about how men can or cannot relate to a woman’s body, it is about the big picture of which this is a part.

  18. It is quite shocking that this historic mentality is still with us today. We teach young children – both boys and girls- to not allow anyone to touch them without their consent, Why should this be any different for women today – and indeed men?

    1. Thank you Nicola and Sue, my feeling is that as a society we should all stand up and shout from the rooftop till this type of behaviour gets a true out come, which is that this style of journalism has no place in our modern society!

  19. Thank goodness we have moved past women being the property of men and have even passed a law to support discontinuing the belief… now we just need one for the denigration of women in general… so the media can’t perpetuate and reinforce such backwards belief systems and behaviours or add to the harm they cause without being called to account like they deserve to be.

  20. I am wondering is what the journalists write a reflection of how they behave towards their own partners? Where is the love in a relationship when there is no respect, or caring and obviously no consideration of their partner’s feelings.

  21. Thank you Nicola for your research here. It seems that the ‘historic mentality’ isn’t that historic and is with us very clearly today in regards to men believing that women are their ‘property’ (even though there are laws against this). The male dominance can be felt in the Courier Mail article and there is no place for it in today’s society.

  22. Historically women have been made to be less, held down, often considered to be the “second sex” and men have taken advantage of this and still do. Shouldn’t women as much as men have the freedom to say who is allowed to touch them or not? Is marriage suddenly a free zone from respect? Yes we marry and that is done with an intent, I presume, of saying I’m letting you in, I’m willing to spend my life with you, in good times and perhaps not so good times, BUT, it doesn’t say that respect should be let go of, quite the opposite. Marriage should be something that is engaged in to keep flowing and growing in what is already felt, which is the deep love and unity one feels with another person. So if your partner is off and wants to touch you in a way that doesn’t feel right we have all the rights in the world backing us to say no please, not that way. And if that is considered wrong then you are on the wrong side of the fence buddy. These reporters seems to be lacking the awareness of where we have come to in regards to equality.

  23. What is the basis of relationship when one person ignores the innate right of the other to choose? In my worlds that’s abuse and nothing to do with love.

  24. Wow it is obvious we still have a long way to go to shift these beliefs many still hold towards women, a great article exposing the misogyny that is still very much at play in our society.

  25. Thank you Nicola for presenting the facts on consent, rape and unwanted touch on all levels, and the extraordinary slow progress of the legal background to bringing a woman rights out from under the laws of being a man’s property. I wonder when things shifted in other countries. Gosh, how many of us have been touched against our wishes and consent and how many times, I am glad to stand up today and say no more.

  26. Thank you Nicola for presenting the facts about the woman being the property of their husbands, even though this has changed some I still feel that male dominance runs deep in many men in their behaviour towards women. The men who wrote the article definitely show where they are at in their attitude towards women.

  27. I look forward to the day where the media is somewhere we can look to for truth and integrity in journalism and not the bastardisation of truth or the perpetuation of misogynistic ideals and beliefs. We deserve more, yet sadly are not currently demanding it.

  28. Children, either girls or boys, are not the property of their parents and neither are they the property of anyone when they grow up. The media barons own the property of their media business and have a responsibility to report with integrity and truth and not to perpetuate the abuse of man on man, woman and child.

  29. I certainly agree how there are lies in our consciousness that women are thought to be the property of men. I used to think that too — disgusting! This is far away from basic decency and respect let alone true love.

  30. It’s interesting to note how complex consent is and therefore how it has been derived by our law. Consent is simply saying Yes or No. If you say yes to a relationship you are saying yes to all of it. If there is any slight of abuse via disrespect and indecency this will inevitably play out in the bedroom. I would never rely on any system to represent my feelings except Universal Medicine the only one I know that is based on Love.

  31. It is appalling to realise that this consciousness that treats women as property is still out and about and that there are men in leading positions who think like that. How irresponsible is that. And why are we then surprised and cry out when we hear of rape, sex trafficking, domestic violence, etc. thinking we have nothing to do with it whilst we have everything to do with it as it all starts in our own tiny and very limited little minds.

  32. What is interesting is that at least women outside of Universal Medicine are not outraged at the claims that it is ok to proceed without consent in moments of intimacy. This reveal, unfortunately, how much it resonates with what goes on.

  33. It is disturbing that the article did not cause an uproar because of how it referred to women. Men are not the problem when it comes to how women are treated – men and women play equal roles and women have to accept such status as what the article in reference refers to.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s