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Saturday, February 12, 2005

AFL's Response to Sexual Misconduct

In the face of a barrage of media scrutiny about some of its players' practice of raping women, the AFL has started floating some ideas about how to respond.

Normally, you would think "police" and that would be the end of the matter. If there's a reasonable prospect that a crime has been committed, the police need to investigate. Simple, no? Well, according to The Age:

The AFL could terminate the contract of a footballer convicted of sexual assault as part of a wide-ranging series of initiatives in a bid to confront community violence against women.

Determined to take a leadership role on the issue that has haunted the game over the past year, all 16 clubs have been told to respond today to a discussion document that has also floated the establishment of a sexual misconduct tribunal that could compensate women violated by AFL players. (The Age, Feb 11, 2005)

The idea of members of the public - young women in particular - appealing to the pseudo-judiciary of the AFL for justice is as absurd as it is offensive. Under this system, sexual assault will be rendered "unduly rough play". While money has already been paid out to women who accused AFL players of sex crimes, this will see the practice become institutionalised. The AFL strategy would no doubt buy the silence of some victims, but could provide a lottery for some unscrupulous women.

No, the best solution is to treat AFL players like citizens, not women as AFL players.

Citations: The Age, Feb 11, 2005

Word Count: 260

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