Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here’s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.


 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate

Subscribe!
Subscribe





On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.
___________

Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Abortion coercion: the NRL still has a long way to go in its treatment of women

By Rachael Wong - posted Monday, 20 March 2017


Within the course of a week, the NRL has been shaken by two separate, shocking allegations involving players who coerced their girlfriends into undergoing abortions.

Except that the NRL doesn't appear that shocked, which begs the question: Is this just part and parcel of NRL culture?

Or is the NRL's cavalier response to the derogatory and disposable treatment of women and children merely a microcosm of a much larger cultural crisis?

Advertisement

The first allegation involved Penrith Panther's Bryce Cartwright who paid his ex-girlfriend ("Miss X") $50,000 to abort their child.

Attempting to avoid contact and responsibility, Cartwright arranged ex-football star Lou Zivanovic to broker the deal, a "footy fixer" whose job it is to clean up players' "messes." Cartwright also repeatedly pressured Miss X to have the abortion, telling her that he wanted nothing to do with the baby and that she would "struggle as a single mother for the rest of [her] life" if she didn't go through with the procedure.

Miss X did go through with it and now deeply regrets the abortion and is still receiving grief counselling.

The second allegation involved Wests Tigers' Tim Simona. Simona also pressured his then girlfriend Jaya Taki to abort their baby, similarly telling her that he wouldn't be there to support them and that the child would "ruin his life" and ultimately his footy career.

Like Miss X, Ms Taki is also suffering grief and trauma after the abortion and the way she was treated by Simona and the NRL.

Neither player has taken responsibility for their appalling conduct. Instead, both have sought to downplay their behaviour, with Cartwright lamenting that he thought this was settled a long time ago and Simona dismissively commenting that, "It's a bit sad to get rid of a baby, but it was like three or four weeks old or something like that."

Advertisement

Even more concerning, however, is the nature of response (or lack thereof) from the NRL. When the Cartwright matter became public, Zivanovic tried to protect Cartwright (and perhaps himself) by deflecting blame onto Miss X. Cartwright's managers have also repeatedly emphasised their support and concern for his "welfare" and, like Cartwright, have been intent on denying responsibility. Perhaps worst of all, they actually seem to sympathise with his behaviour.

This reaction is extraordinary and not a little hypocritical, given the lengths to which they have gone, not only to engage a professional adviser on cultural issues such as behaviour towards women, but also to launch a public "Strong Men Respect Women" campaign.

Panther's General Manager Phil Gould bizarrely stated he was satisfied that Cartwright had "acted in a respectful manner and a supportive manner" and had done "as well as any young man could in the same situation." If treating a woman like some disposable commodity and bullying her into having an abortion is considered "respectful," "supportive" and the best a young man has to offer, we're all in serious trouble.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All


Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

18 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with del.icio.us Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Rachael Wong is a Barrister, an Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Law at the University of Notre Dame Australia, and the Director of Research, Policy and Advocacy at Women's Forum Australia.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 18 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend
Advertisement

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy