Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post we’ll be publishing on The Punch. A lot has changed since we launched in 2009 in the way Australians consume news and opinion.
The little Punch team joined the much bigger integrated News Limited team last year and now our Punch content is joining in too. Punch posts will now be published under the new brand Punch Breaking Views across News Limited’s huge digital news network.
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I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed by a gruff demand to “come with me” in Turkey, but I managed to get away. I’ve never found myself pregnant against my will. I’ve never had to ask myself - could I bear and rear a child of my rapist? But plenty of women do.
Since my childhood, I’ve had access to sex education (while it’s come far since the early 80s, we did learn the basics of contraception and pregnancy), free reproductive health care (courtesy of the government’s family planning clinics, I could get free pap smears and advice on and access to contraception), and education and employment, which has given me some freedom and say over my own life, and hence my body.
But then there’s millions upon millions of young women and girls, both here in Australia and elsewhere, who don’t have these things.
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In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual assault were “asking for it”, it’s not hard to understand why discussing what constitutes risk has become a virtual taboo.
From tut-tutting at the thought of a woman daring to venture outside at night without a male companion to the abhorrent practice of suggesting her attire was a contributing factor, seeking to shift the blame from perpetrator to victim is a well-worn custom.
Let there be no mistake: any attempt to alleviate the responsibility of a rapist in this manner is both erroneous and offensive. Having already endured a violent crime, a victim’s suffering is only further compounded by the insinuation she brought her misery upon herself. And even the most diplomatically worded and well-intentioned caution about the alleged hazards of wearing a low-cut top is doing just that.
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With tomorrow being the ‘National day of action against bullying and violence’, it is appropriate to take a look at the causes of bullying and the possible ways to take action that will bring real results.
The fight against bullying will not be won in the media, but at ground level where a cultural shift is needed.
School chaplains have a unique vantage point from which to view the effects of bullying in schoolyards. Our focus on pastoral care and the welfare of students puts us on the front line, supporting student victims and their families as well as helping bullies understand themselves and overcome their negative behaviour.
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It’s in the Catholic Rulebook, more commonly known as the Bible, that any Catholic can be Pope. The next one should totes be me.
To those who say, ‘Why you?’
I reply, ‘Why not?’
Just in case that flawless argument isn’t enough, let me expand.
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Was Hugo Chavez a Dictator? Some argue he’s won several elections, some by landslide, so that immediately rules out such qualification. He hasn’t, unlike his idol and mentor Fidel Castro, executed any dissidents by firing squad, so maybe he’s not quite there.
Venezuelan farmer Franklin Brito protested the invasion of his property by Chavistas groups (the government calls is an “expropriation”, in the name of Revolution) by going on a hunger strike, which was not only ignored but ridiculed by the regime. Brito died in the end, so can that be called some sort of execution?
But was he a ‘champion of Democracy and social justice’, like many in the left call him? He always showed passion for the poor, and indeed introduced a number of initiatives that seemed to give them more voice in Venezuelan society. And yes, Hugo Chavez is truly loved by many Venezuelans. But what’s the cost?
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A heartbreaking video released by America’s Humane Society has captured the moment when a troupe of lab chimps see the sky and feel the bare earth for the first time.
What’s on your mind today?
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Church. It’s probably the last place you’d expect to find a proud cabal of atheists revelling in their lack of faith. But over in England, a pair of comedians have started their very own atheist church, and the idea is quickly gaining traction. It’s no joke either.
The Sunday Assembly, as it’s called, convenes once a month in an old London chapel. It functions in much the same way as any other church, apart from the conspicuous absence of any reference to God, Jesus, Allah or that vengeful intergalactic dictator the scientologist nutjobs believe in. Old Xenu would probably find the lack of faith disturbing.
Hundreds of atheists get to enjoy a fair imitation of the church experience without the looming threat of eternal hell - which, let’s face it, can be a bit of a downer.
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Crisis is a word that gets used a lot in newspapers. There’s the cricket crisis. The Global Financial Crisis. The sports doping crisis. Crises like these are often unexpected, tumultuous events - they naturally grab the headlines.
And then there are the slow burn crises that sneak up on you. Like the obesity crisis or the energy crisis. They’re like a frog sitting in a pot of water over an open flame. Sometimes you don’t notice the crisis until your frog is completely cooked. And so let me draw your attention to a crisis that is directly in front of us, and about to reach boiling point.
Our cities are in crisis. Deep down, we all know it. When it takes 30 minutes to drive a two kilometre stretch of road. When we’re late for work because the bus didn’t turn up. When our kids are late for school because you were stuck in traffic. When we don’t get home until 7pm because of a traffic incident in a suburb five suburbs away.
Our roads and rail systems are struggling under the weight of our ever growing population and it’s time we did something about it.
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Hear their capes flap in the wind. Admire the spandex stretched over their taut bodies. Breathe and lose yourself to their pheromone feast. Suits won’t woo Western Sydney. As the election nears, our pudgy political class is turning into superheroes.
They used to be lawyers, doctors, businessmen, academics, mindful of their every word, shoving paragraphs into sentences, knowing that they would be judged by the soundness of their logic. But now that they’re talking to simple voters, they do away with making sense, and focus on larger and bolder claims.
Their side is responsible for all the good that has come to this country, while the other slashes jobs, racks up debt, drowns refugees. Forget the power the people have vested in them: to make laws, manage budgets, oversee the civil service. Super politicians can do so much more: conjure growth out of thin air, create jobs by the tens of thousands, breathe passion into our children’s teachers.
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Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…