Women abused at Summernats

Jazz 7 January 2008 79

It should come as no surprise to Canberran’s that at this time of year we get a few articles in the various media outlets about the Summernats. Invariably it starts with Chic Henry espousing how this year will be different and its a safe family friendly event which, I’m sure it is, during the day perhaps.

But a few beers later and we also inevitably get the following. In this article from yesterday’s the Canberra Times, reader Jessieduck noted the following corker.

Mr Henry said he had not had to face any major security complaints.
“I haven’t had any reports of any incidents of any significance. My security manager is very happy,” he said. “I spoke to him late last night and he said everything was moving along very smoothly, no accidents that I’ve heard about.
“We took one unfortunate man to the hospital because he had a problem with his heart, but he is back at the event today, smiling.
“Essentially, it is all about cars that are driving on the street and so the people that come here recognise that. It isn’t a race meeting, it is a festival.”

Tool unearthed this story on News.com which quoted summernats spokesman Dale Britten with some nicely scripted responses.

“In relation to comments such as asking women to remove their shirts, regrettably this does occur at this event,” he said.

“It highlights the need for Summernats organisers to continue to improve the environment at Summernats so it is a tolerant and respectful environment.”

“Alcohol was a factor”.

“It is a new phenomenon; we have never had that happen at the event before,”

And this is different to the past 20 years how? For those readers who went to the Nats, Does this match with your experience of the event or are the media blowing things out of proportion by taking small isolated incidents and making the Nats out to be the bad guy?

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79 Responses to Women abused at Summernats
mikey mikey 8:58 pm 07 Jan 08

NickD is right. It it wasn’t for the annual hand-wringing in the media over the behaviour at Summernats, what else would those of us who didn’t go to Batemans Bay have to fulminate over.

I was intrigued by a comment made by ACT Police in some of the early reporting – to effect, they wouldn’t go in without being called in by the organisers. (Yep, can just see Chic ‘Family-Friendly’ Henry admitting he needed to call in the cops to control an outbreak of boganism …)

Still, does this mean the police will sit by and tolerate behaviour in a public place that probably wouldn’t be tolerated outside the gates of EPIC?

ant ant 9:33 pm 07 Jan 08

Queanbeyan Survivor said: “However after one particular year of being harassed the whole day by a mob of bikers I thought I would get more enjoyment going on the Sunday, where I could look at the cars in peace.”

Further on, you said that women who turned up in loincloths and faint boob-coverings shouldn’t be surprised if they got harassed, so, that begs the question, what provocative outfit were you wearing to motivate the bikies so?

I also heard some huge number of cops were on duty at the summernats. Um, they were paid-for by Chick Henry, I hope? Not the taxpayer?

Thumper Thumper 9:41 pm 07 Jan 08

No, Chick Henry cannot pay for cops. He can pay for security guards.

The government pays for cops.

Maybe Chick can be charged some sort of fee but in the end we pay for it.

VYBerlinaV8 VYBerlinaV8 9:56 pm 07 Jan 08

I’m sure I saw Chic Henry on the telly the other day saying “I’ve always said it’s an event for the 18-23 year olds…”

Mr Waffle Mr Waffle 10:06 pm 07 Jan 08

I must go to a different event every year, ’cause I don’t see any of the drunken “show us yer tits” and hoon behaviour until the afternoon. It’s perfectly family friendly in the morning/midday, and that’s when I see all the families/couples out.

Thumper Thumper 10:18 pm 07 Jan 08

I have no problem with chicks showing me their norks.

however, I don’t scream it out whilst pissed on JDs and coke.

Maybe it is family friendly until after midday?

If that is the case, then it should be noted by organisers and relayed to the punters.

Frankly, if someone said ‘show us yer tits’ to my missus she’d punch them in the face, followed closely by me.

Admittedly, I would then be beaten to a pulp, but that’s life 😉

Pandy Pandy 11:41 pm 07 Jan 08

Women showing us their tits are OK.

The Stanhope Government sponsors this event and gives Chic money to hold it. Therefore it must be OK.

Qbn survivor Qbn survivor 8:43 am 08 Jan 08

That’s the one thing about Summernats – it always encourages some pretty heated debates!
After reading all of these comments, I think everyone raises some pretty good points. I’m in two minds what I think of it. On the one hand, I love the Summernats and I would be so sad to see it moved elsewhere or, more than likely, cancelled altogether. However, on the other hand, I would really like to see the sexism and harassment banished from the event so all people from both sexes can enjoy it peacefully. However, we don’t live in a perfect world so I really don’t know if it’s possible.
I would really like to see the organisers do something proactive to combat the sexist behaviour, like allow police access to all areas of the Nats at any time, and more importantly implement a zero tolerance policy for those that engage in offensive behaviour. There is enough security within the grounds to enforce a policy like this, it’s just a matter of the organisers growing some balls and doing it. Sure, for the first year they might try and organise a protest rally in response to people getting kicked out but if the police are informed and security are ready, I really don’t see why it wouldn’t work.
Ant, in response to your question, I was 18, enjoying a few drinks and stupidly wandering around wearing next to nothing. Did I deserve to get harassed? No. However, did I go along knowing full well that it was highly likely I would get harassed? Yes. In the end, who is at fault? Do I have a right to complain about it?

BattleKath BattleKath 9:43 am 08 Jan 08

just because you’re aware that harrassment will most likely occurr, doesn’t make it ok.

Qbn survivor Qbn survivor 9:46 am 08 Jan 08

BattleKath, you’re right. However, does it mean that I am completely blameless??

ant ant 10:19 am 08 Jan 08

I would quite like to go and look at the cars, but being in such an overtly male-owned environment, where women are “visitors” and subject to insult, doesn’t appeal to me so I just don’t go. and I really resent the government subsidising such an event, where half the taxpaying population can be subject to insult.

Would they do the same for an event where people of other races were subject to insult? I don’t think so!

Mr Evil Mr Evil 10:24 am 08 Jan 08

“Women showing us their tits are OK.

The Stanhope Government sponsors this event and gives Chic money to hold it. Therefore it must be OK.”

There’s probably a section in the Bill of Rights about it!

Thumper Thumper 10:27 am 08 Jan 08

“Would they do the same for an event where people of other races were subject to insult? I don’t think so!”

Good point ant, very good point.

Mr Evil Mr Evil 10:30 am 08 Jan 08

I would really like to know what women are doing at Summernats anyway: shouldn’t they be a home looking after the kids, cleaning the house and cooking dinner? 🙂

Thumper Thumper 10:34 am 08 Jan 08

I wonder if it’s okay to go to the multicultural festival, form a mob and wander around screaming obsenities at women?

Afterall, there is now a precedent.

Mr Evil Mr Evil 10:46 am 08 Jan 08

“I wonder if it’s okay to go to the multicultural festival, form a mob and wander around screaming obsenities at women?”

Whilst wearing a monkey suit? 🙂

BattleKath BattleKath 11:39 am 08 Jan 08

there is no excuse for this sort of behaviour. full stop.

whatever you’re wearing, aware of, participating in… certainly may encourage this objectifying behaviour, wrongly, but there is no excuse or valid reason for it.

Thumper Thumper 11:42 am 08 Jan 08


VYBerlinaV8 VYBerlinaV8 11:48 am 08 Jan 08

It’s worth noting to difference between circumstances and fault. It is possible for someone to create a circumstance where a negative event occurs, that isn’t their fault. That said, the wise tend to recognise and avoid the circustance…

The interesting question is more one of whether the blokes would be upset if a few sheilas shouted “show us ya dick…”

sepi sepi 11:54 am 08 Jan 08

Or if they were surrounded by a large angry mob shouting the same.

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