Art of Woman

Reclaim The Night 2012

Reclaim the Night is an annual event where women gather to demonstrate against sexual violence by men of women. Once a year women and their men supporters walk around the city streets declaring freedom of movement for women. Our streets should be safe enough for women (and men) to walk freely without being molested or raped. Rape is a crime regardless of what time of day it occurs or location or what clothing the woman is wearing.

Violent men have often tried to deflect responsibility for their actions by blaming their victims. There is still a lot of victim blame in society, where the focus is on the victim’s behaviour or clothing or even the time of day or location, rather than addressing the perpetrator’s criminal behaviour. A civil society does not blame victims for crime.

Rape and sexual violence are not a result of clothing. Around the world, there are many cultures that do not wear clothes, yet these cultures have very strict marriage laws, incest laws and rape laws. Some people holiday in the nude, but they do not expect to be sexually assaulted. It is like going shopping. The advertising banners and signs are bright, obvious and enticing. It is hard to navigate past the armfuls of merchandise that vie for our attention in tightly packed shopping malls and stores, some are so close they brush past us when we walk through. We may be hungry or in great need for something, yet if we take any piece of merchandise without paying, we will be charged with shoplifting. Enticing and seductive advertising is no defence for stealing! Likewise, rape and sexual violence is not about the type or amount of clothing a woman wears.

There were many types of clothing featured in the march. Some women wore long sleeves and long skirts, some had head covering, some wore very short shorts showing all their legs and some had low cut tops. These items of clothing show a fashion preference and have nothing to do with consent for sex. Some women wear provocative clothes in our society, but we do not condone sexual attacks on them. Think of Lady Gaga, Madonna or Kylie Minogue. These powerful, talented performers are not inviting assault. Neither is the teenager next door who wants to look fashionable.

I wonder if a study has been done of the cloths that were worn by victims of sexual assault. My prediction is that most victims wear ordinary cloths because most sexual assault is committed opportunistically. In many cases, the victim is not even dressed up, the victim is simply going about her usual activities. I searched the internet for such a study and found many studies that assessed people’s attitudes, such as the paper by Maurer & Robinson, 2008.

I found none that has actually checked police records to find out what the victims were actually wearing.

This quote from skeptics.stackexchange.com by a policeman was very revealing however:

Having been in police work for 40+ years, I can say that how a woman is dressed has little or nothing to do with sex crimes. It's about opportunity. Our local serial rapist, The "South Side" rapist, attacked some 30 women in their homes. He could not even see them before hand, he forced his way in through a window and raped the victims at knifepoint.

– M. Werner May 10 '11 at 15:01

I agree with the conclusion from a fact sheet from Rape Crisis Ireland:

Attitudes that blame victims of rape excuse perpetrators and reduce the likelihood of the prosecution of rapists. Such attitudes thus increase everyone’s vulnerability to rape.

(Download fact sheet)

Here are some interesting articles published by Utah State University:
Myths and facts about rape
Friends_family_of rape victims
For men only_male rape victims

Let’s all stop blaming the victim!


I love the banner that the demonstrators carried. It stated in hot shiny pink letters “There’s nothing sexier than consent”. I agree. Sexual love and joy should be promoted and spoken about openly in society so that all adults have their sexuality respected. There is no place for coercion or intimidation. Consent is a basic foundation of respect for our bodies.
Photo of Reclaim the night with banner reading 'There's nothing sexier than consent'

Ginninderra Journeys

Another exciting exhibition!

Ginninderra Journeys explores the varied responses of the artists of Belconnen Artists Network. I had a sneak preview on the weekend and there is some stunning work...
  • Several wall hanging style textile arts combine fabric, thread, dying techniques, fabric painting and collage.
  • A representation of Ginninderra Falls painted in relief positively shimmers. The volcanic rocks emerge like children’s blocks from the canvas, offsetting a forest background with a twisted tree featured.
  • A peaceful poem, inspired by a visit to a prominent park in the region, is surrounded by graphite and charcoal palm fronds.
  • A woollen cloak billows in the breeze that wafts by as someone walks past. The cloak is embellished with embroidered spring flowers and a lavish felt flower clasp.
  • A suitcase, covered in the dust and stickers of many travels, is marked by the hand and footprint of its owner as if she is about to arrive at any moment and continue on her journey.
  • A tourist town is featured in bright colours in axiomatic projection like a Chinese map. All the landmarks are immediately recognisable and brightly coloured.
  • A fun night panorama with model cars driving to to enjoy the lady of the night.
  • A hospital facade with windows filled with the journey of life starting with birth and ending with death and many body dramas in between.
  • Four lizards expressing different aspects of the river’s personality.
  • A parliament of frogmouth owls chicks sit together on a log ready for their maiden flight.
  • Travellers with horses explore the National Bicentennial Trail.

I invite all my followers to the opening on Friday 7 September, 6:00pm at the Belconnen Arts Centre.

Download invitation

Opening of "Belconnen Ways" exhibition

On Sunday, BeAN (Belconnen Artists’ Network) proudly opened its annual art exhibition, “Belconnen Ways”. It is held at the Church Gallery at Gold Creek in Canberra. Thirty works of 13 artists are on display, articulating their unique experiences of living in Belconnen. BeAN always produces a show with varied works and this year is no exception.

The Church Gallery is a small heritage cottage behind the George Harcourt Inn. It is surrounded by mature trees and lawns which create a peaceful setting.

As you come in the door, you are greeted by a mannequin wearing unique chic clothing made from a textile called Ozifelt, a blend of merino wool and silk. This fabric is soft to touch, light to wear and warm, yet does not feel too hot in summer. A perfect fabric to wear during changing seasons. These clothes are designed by Sue Berger.

Along the walls are photos by Jimalyn Lawless, Margaret Kalms, Pauline Mager and Nancy Hamilton. These photos show aspects of Belconnen in unexpected ways, some showing themes that are often overlooked. Paul Haslam and John Hamilton have thought provoking collages. Also included are painting digital art, drawing and work with fire.

I have four photos in this exhibition.

Overall the exhibition is an experience to treasure.



Download the catalogue.