Family First ordered a poll (something they subsequently left out of their press release) on young people’s views on sex and abortion, and apparently most of them agree with Family First.
The poll was conducted by Curia, David Farrar of Kiwiblog’s market research company. The sample size was 600 15 to 21-year-olds from 6,000 nationwide phone numbers.
“Based on this sample of 600 respondents, the maximum sampling error (for a result of 50%) is +/- 4.1%, at the 95% confidence level.”
Of course, it isn’t actually independent at all because Family First got to choose the wording of the question and options.
Do you think sex education in schools should teach values, abstinence and consequences such as pregnancy, or just teach safe sex?
Values, abstinence and consequences – 34%
Just safe sex – 19%
Both – 42%
Unsure/refuse – 5%
Safe sex gets ‘just’ put in front of it, but values, abstinence and consequences doesn’t. Did the 34% know they were choosing just values, abstinence and consequences?
Chief executive of Family Planning, Jackie Edmond points out that no organization actually advocates safe sex by itself.
Family First’s spin on this result:
“This is a direct rebuke from young people to the ‘use a condom’ and ‘everyone’s doing it’ messages being pushed by groups like Family Planning, AIDS Foundation and Rainbow Youth,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
Except, at least 61% support education involving condoms. And ‘everyone’s doing it’ isn’t a message safe sex groups send.
Parental consent for abortion
Provided it won’t put the girl in physical danger, should parents be told if their school-age daughter is pregnant and considering getting an abortion?
Yes – 59%
No – 34%
Unsure/refuse – 7%
Without a crystal ball there’s really no way to be sure that it “won’t put the girl in physical danger”. Why not trust the girl’s own judgment? The question suggests that physical danger is the only significant danger. There’s other considerations to be made. Emotional and financial harm, or being chucked out of home are all significant, but none come under physical danger.
“Parental notification laws in Texas, Michigan, Minnesota, and other US states have seen a drop in both the pregnancy rate and the teen abortion rate – a win-win situation for all concerned.”
I’m guessing that quite a few of these abortions have just moved to states with more liberal abortion laws.
Abortion in general
Do you believe an unborn child or foetus has a right to be born?
Yes – 56%
No – 28%
Unsure/refuse – 16%
Slightly more young women than young men agreed – 58% to 55%.
The conclusion based on gender is misleading. Slightly more young women than young men disagreed too, 28% to 27%.
A television “comedian” gets drunk and comes home, his partner declines his sexual advances and goes to sleep. Later, their four-year-old daughter joins them in bed. He pulls down her pyjama pants and her pull-up nappy and sexually assaults her by way of oral sex (described ambiguously in recent news reports as kissing).
His partner wakes up to him doing this and the police get involved. The charges get shaken around in court (a charge of unlawful sexual connection with a child aged under 12 is taken off the table, along with the possibility of jail) and he pleads guilty to performing an indecent act on a child.
Things that irritate me regarding this case:
He says that he thought his daughter was his partner, which implies that this non-consensual sexual act would have been fine if it was performed on an adult (his partner had already said no earlier in the night).
He says that he thought his daughter was his partner, which implies that a four-year-old and a fully grown woman don’t have extremely obviously differences in body shape and size or that fully grown women wear pull-ups.
That the judge treats him like a victim because people know what he did. “Despite suppression orders it was widely known in his industry who he was and that had taken a toll on his career. He must have significant strength of character to deal with all of that.” She says that he’d “paid an extremely high price already”.
Alcohol being used as an excuse.
The judge felt it worth mentioning that the assault happened in front of the mother which she says is very “unusual”, as if that means it wasn’t real abuse because it didn’t happen in secret.
He gets discharged without conviction by Judge Philippa Cunningham. The Auckland Now and Dominion Post articles conflict as to if voluntary community work was imposed as a condition (and my definition of voluntary conflicts with theirs).
To add insult to injury, here’s part of her reasoning:
“He’s a talented New Zealander. He makes people laugh, and laughter’s an incredible medicine that we all need a lot of” and that the effects of a conviction “outweighed the gravity of the offending”.
What exact context these comments are in, I’m not sure, but they seem extremely stupid.
Yes, he must feel, quite frankly, shitty for doing what he did to his daughter, but to comment on what a funny guy he is and how disastrous a conviction would be for, I assume, his career…?
Is prison the right place for this guy? No. However, is being discharged without conviction the best choice? No.
Steven Price reminds complainers that the name suppression in this case is automatic and is to protect the identity of the child.
Though Graeme Edgeler points out in the comments that there is a way to name the offender while still protecting the identity of the victim, something that crossed my mind too: if the media don’t report on the relationship between offender and victim, naming the offender won’t out the victim.
Spot the differences (or more like spot the similarities) between the comedian case and this musician’s case1 (name suppression wasn’t automatic here though, and was dubiously granted).
“The man admitted a charge of inducing an indecent act but was discharged without conviction and given permanent name suppression on the grounds that naming him would affect his record and concert ticket sales.”
And of course being convicted would adversely affect the musician’s career:
“A conviction would have an adverse affect on his chances to break into international markets.” “It would also have a negative impact on musicians that he performs with.” “Naming the man could destroy the man’s chances of succeeding overseas and could have a negative affect on New Zealand music overseas.”
Preferential treatment of celebrities? Of course not.
Side note: Google is either pretty smart, or someone puts in a bit of effort to influence related search terms in order to out people with name suppression.
1. Stuff took that article down, so here it is:
Teen victim slams musician’s name suppression By JONATHAN MARSHALL – Sunday News http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/news/3085484/Teen-victim-slams-musicians-name-suppression
THE TEENAGE girl attacked by a prominent entertainer has broken her silence, describing the musician as a “disgusting, self-righteous pig”.
And Brittany Cancian’s mother has also spoken out, saying the musician’s permanent name suppression was “totally disgusting”.
Brittany, 17, was in central Wellington on March 5 when two of her friends were led away with the drunk man around 3.30am. Brittany’s mother Racheal, of Lower Hutt, said her daughter was attacked by the man while she was checking on her friends.
“I think he’s an animal, when I heard what he had done I thought it was animalistic. He wasn’t at all gentle about it,” Racheal said.
“What happened has absolutely been downplayed. She never followed him down the alleyway. She went to see that her friends, who had followed him, were OK. She has quite a caring heart and she wanted to check on her mates. When she went around the corner he grabbed her.”
Earlier this month the Auckland District Court heard how the famous entertainer asked Brittany and her friends to “kiss my balls” before he grabbed the teenager’s head and pulled it towards his crotch. His genitals brushed Brittany’s face.
The man admitted a charge of inducing an indecent act but was discharged without conviction and given permanent name suppression on the grounds that naming him would affect his record and concert ticket sales. The charge carried a maximum jail term of two years.
The musician was ordered to pay $5000 reparation to Brittany, who is yet to receive the money.
Racheal said police never asked her or Brittany if they wanted the man’s name suppression application opposed. Court documents reveal police maintained a “neutral” position on the matter.
“As a mother I am disgusted that he could get name suppression and I’m disgusted that he could do this to my daughter.”
Brittany said in a statement that the entertainer should have been named so other females could be “wary” of him.
Brittany and her mother’s comments come just days after the Law Commission released a report recommending an overhaul of New Zealand’s name suppression system to make it harder for offenders to keep their names secret.
Commission president Sir Geoffrey Palmer said if recommendations in the report had been adopted by the government prior to the musician’s court appearance, he “certainly would not” have received suppression.
“He would have to show extreme hardship and that is very difficult to do … that is hardship out of the ordinary, not ordinary hardship, and that is a much higher threshold than the law currently provides.”
“We all have to have equality before the law. The person who is a grave-digger has to be treated the same as a person who is an All Black.”
Asked whether families’ views on suppression should be taken into account, Justice Minister Simon Power said: “The issue of name suppression needs a very broad overhaul and I’m not closed to any suggestions.”
Racheal was reluctant to discuss why her daughter, aged 16 at the time, was out in central Wellington during the early morning.
“I don’t really want to go into that part but, yeah, she was quite naughty.”
In 2009 the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) changed their deferral criteria for donating blood based on a 2008 review. The men who have sex with men (MSM) ban was reduced from 10 years to five years—“You must not give blood for: five years following oral or anal sex with or without a condom with another man (if you are male)”. There will be another review of the criteria in 2013.
A one year deferral is in place for a woman who has had sex with a MSM, and for those who have had sex with a person who carries the hepatitis B or C viruses, or an injecting drug user, a sex worker, a person with haemophilia or related condition, or with a person who has lived in or comes from a country with high HIV prevalence. People who have worked as sex workers only in New Zealand can’t give blood for a year.
People who have worked as sex workers outside of New Zealand or who have lived in a country with a high rate of HIV (including sub Saharan Africa and parts of Asia) can’t give blood for five years.
People who have injected/snorted non-prescription illegal drugs or who have lived in the UK, France or the Republic of Ireland for a total of six months or more between 1980 and 1996, because of possible exposure to Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, are permanently deferred from giving blood.
New Zealand sex workers aren’t considered to be a high HIV risk because: “there have been only 20 women diagnosed with HIV who were known to be sex workers and three to four men who were reported to be infected by a sex worker in New Zealand.”
MSM bans around the world
New Zealand isn’t as strict as other countries. Hong Kong, Singapore, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the UK have a lifetime ban on MSM donating blood. The US, Canada and Switzerland effectively do too, banning any men who have had sex with men after 1977.
Australia and Japan have a one year ban, South Africa has a six month ban, and Spain and Italy ban on behavior rather than the sex of sexual partners. Spain has a 12 month exclusion for anyone who has had more than one sexual partner in the last 12 months. The interpretation of Italy’s exclusion based on risky behavior is unclear and inconsistently applied—some centers still exclude MSM.
“Once a potential donor presents there is a three tier combination approach to safety: a questionnaire on behaviour followed by an interview, tests that are highly sensitive and specific are carried out on the donated blood, and (for manufactured plasma products) the use of physical and/or chemical methods to inactivate infectious agents.”
The HIV concerns that remain even though donated blood is tested relates to the early period following infection where the infection doesn’t show up on tests and relates to the risk that established infections aren’t picked up by testing or that infected blood is identified but fails to be removed from the system. The early “window period” for HIV averages to be about 12 days using Nucleic Acid Testing, which the NZBS tests with. A short deferral period of a year would eliminate the risk of window period infections. Longer deferral periods reduce the risk established infections present.
It’s thought that people with a higher risk of having HIV would also have a higher risk of having an “unknown or untested for infectious [agent]”.
The risk of the test system failing to detect an infection where “the marker is present” is very low because of the features of modern testing equipment used and because NZBS tests for each major virus twice. However “the test system may be unable to detect a rare form of the virus”.
“No transmissions have been documented in New Zealand since routine testing was introduced for these viruses… however… the low levels of risk are achieved by a combination of measures and are not solely due to the effect of blood donation testing.”
Australia’s one year deferral
About a decade ago, Australia dropped to a 12 month deferral for donors who have had male-to-male sex.
“Surprisingly in Australia, with a one-year deferral for MSM, though MSM are still over represented, the prevalence of HIV is only 4 per million donations, less than in New Zealand (11 per million donations). This suggests that there is either greater adherence to deferral criteria in Australia, or a higher rate of clinical HIV testing and therefore fewer undiagnosed infections, or the figures from Australia are incomplete.”
A study in Australia found there was no evidence of a significantly increased risk of transfusion-transmitted HIV subsequent to implementing the one year deferral period for MSM. In the one year deferral data the five MSM with HIV infections would have been excluded had they been honest and provided a complete history.
“We found no evidence that the implementation of the 12-month deferral for male-to-male sex resulted in an increased recipient risk for HIV in Australia. The risk of noncompliance to the revised deferral rather than its duration appears to be the most important modifier of overall risk.”
Donating blood is a valued social activity and the restriction based on sexual partners is indirectly homophobic which creates social exclusion and adds to stigma on the basis of male-to-male sex. In the US there is a group who have a “HIV prevalence 17 times that of their comparator: black versus white women”. There’s no call for a ban on that group from donating blood. Are we more sensitized to racism than homophobia?
“It does not distinguish between sexual acts… or whether a man has been in a monogamous relationship, but stigmatises any male same sex contact.”
But would a one year ban, like Australia’s, be any less discriminatory? There is an ethical requirement to protect the recipients of blood because they’ve been thrown into their situation. For indirect discrimination to be truly removed, there would have to be no ban on MSM. That’s unlikely until medical advances make it safe for the recipients of donated blood.