Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Their stories

Brad Shipton's parole hearing is happening at the moment. Louise Nicholas, Donna Johnson and another woman that had been raped by Brad Shipton asked to be heard by the parole board. The parole board refused to let them speak.

These women weren't allowed to tell their stories. They weren't allowed to stand up and say "Brad Shipton raped me. Not a day goes by where I don't think about it. He could leave what he did behind, until I was just a number in his notebook, but it will never leave me." Maybe they would have said something very different, but they didn't get a chance. Their experiences weren't considered relevant by the parole board.

The woman Brad Shipton was convicted of raping was able to give evidence at the parole board, but she hasn't been given copies of what the court said about her experience.

I may be deeply confused about whether or not Brad Shipton should get parole. But the casual way women's lives are being thrown about by the system, demonstrates that there is no fundamental conflict between feminism which honours the experience of women who have been abused, and feminism which wants to tear the prison down. Our justice system treats women who have been abused, and their stories, as peripheral to the actions that are taken about that abuse.

For writing about what a response that centred on those who had been hurt, rather than on the Brad Shipton's of this world, I recommend this article.


  1. The problem is that Shipton was found not guilty of raping Louise Nicholas.

    I don't like Brad Shipton one bit, I think his view on women, and his actions, display a gross misogynist who has no respect for women.

    But it would not be fair to allow Louise Nicholas to speak at Shipton's parole hearing.

  2. Anonymous3:26 pm

    Shipton and his cohorts are animals!I cant believe they didnt lock him up and throw away the key ages ago. It wasnt hard to see. he has a long history of ganging up and gangbanging on women. maybe its because it rflects badly on the police force as a whole...
    To me it shows the effect of heavily gendered institutions. (ie powrful institutions like the police force, are masculinized, where as service oriented caring type roles like teaching,and nursing are femininised and thus under paid.)
    I am so glad Louise Nicholas wrot a book and for all the women that spoke out despite fear co

  3. Slightly off-topic ... perhaps you've heard that Jason Cumming, who represented himself in court in 2002 and cross-examined for TWO DAYS the woman he was accused of raping, has had his conviction of preventive detention over-turned because he was apparently in no mental state to represent himself.

    The woman was 16 at the time and she collapsed at the end of the two days. Now there will be another trial and this woman will have to tell the story of being kidnapped and raped ALL OVER AGAIN.

    This is so wrong and so bad my head spins just thinking about it.

    End of rant.