Media Release: Classification Board approves movies depicting child rape - Collective Shout calls on Communications Minister Fletcher to urgently intervene
Collective Shout has called for an overhaul of Australia’s classification system and a review of recent Classification Board determinations following discovery of illegal animated child sexual abuse material depicting child rape, abuse and exploitation which the Board classified as suitable for audiences as young as 15 - in some cases even younger.
South Australian Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff exposed the Board’s deeply disturbing failure to exercise its responsibilities under Australian law in a speech in the Senate Tuesday followed by a Senate motion yesterday.
Senator Griff described anime movies depicting “wide-eyed children, usually in school uniforms, engaged in explicit sexual activities and poses, and often being sexually abused." He called for an immediate review of all Japanese anime movies accessible in Australia.
The Commonwealth Criminal Code prohibits the sale, production, possession and distribution of offensive and abusive material that depicts a person, or is a representation of a person, who is or appears to be under 18.
Senator Griff cited a number of anime series featuring the sexual abuse of children. One of these, Sword Art Online: Extra Edition depicts the rape and sexual assault of children. It was given an unrestricted M rating by the Classifications Board, despite the fact it constitutes illegal child exploitation material. According to Senator Griff, the character Asuna is raped by her captor Sugu, who threatens to also rape her in the real world, where she is lying in a hospital room in a catatonic state. Sugu says he will make a recording of the virtual rape to shame her.
Senator Griff said that the Classification Board justified the M rating in its report, stating that the nudity through the film is 'moderate in impact' and 'justified by context'.
We would like to know how Board members could possibly justify the sexual violation of children for entertainment as justifiable in any way.
Other anime series depicting sexual abuse of children as well as strong incest themes were given an MA 15+ rating by the Board, despite also featuring illegal content. In Goblin Slayer children are portrayed as frightened or resisting - at the same time enjoying the sexual abuse inflicted on them.
“The Board has made child sexual exploitation material available for purchase in Australian retail outlets - including mainstream stores like Sanity”, Movement Director Melinda Tankard Reist said. “This has allowed a paedophilic culture to flourish. How can we claim to care about the epidemic of child sexual abuse when child sexual exploitation material is given the tick by our so-called regulatory body?”
Our experience working with child sexual abuse survivors and clinicians supports Senator Griff’s statement that this material is “a gateway to the abuse of actual children” and can be used as a grooming tool to normalise abuse.
“This matter must be immediately referred to the Australian Federal Police,” Tankard Reist said. “And Communications Minister Paul Fletcher needs to take charge of this failed government agency and investigate how it could allow this content to be permitted contrary to Australian law”.
In its submission to the current review of Australian Classification Regulation, Collective Shout provided detailed evidence of systemic failures of the Board over a decade and called for its complete overhaul. Its approval of child sexual exploitation material is just the latest example of a broken system.
Melinda Tankard Reist
[mtr at collectiveshout.org]
[caitlin at collectiveshout.org]
27 February 2020Read more
Earlier this month we exposed &-Eleven for selling porn magazines Picture and People with headlines such as 'X rated Aussie Teens' and ‘Fresh Teenage Flesh’. These mags are displayed in full view of children, and are often displayed right under the Krispy Kreme donuts. These magazines not only display pornographic content but also regularly feature nip slips and upskirting pics.
Upskirting is a crime in Australia yet men and boys reading this magazine are encouraged to peep on women who have not consented to their images being published and used in this way. 7-Eleven profits from normalising sexual harassment and contributes to a culture of violence against women. Kids who meet at 7-Eleven after school for Slurpees, Chuppa Chups and Krispy Kreme doughnuts are exposed to these harmful messages.
Here are just a few examples of editions showcasing 'nip slips':
You’d think that in an era of #metoo when sexual harassment is condemned everywhere, companies like 7-Eleven would think about their social responsibility to the community.
Ask their execs to stop selling sexploitation today.
Contact 7-Eleven. Tell them women and girls are not sexual objects and to pull 'unrestricted' pornographic magazines from sale in their stores.
Website (if viewing on a phone and a contact form does not appear, click 'view full site' - small writing at the bottom of the page - then once on full site click ‘Contact us’ on top right menu which will take you to the contact form.)
Message 7-Eleven on Facebook
Message 7 Eleven on Instagram
Tweet to 7-Eleven on Twitter
Call their Head Office on (03) 95410711
Write to them at 2/658 Church St, Richmond, Vic, 3121.
Leave a comment below to let us know if you receive a response.
Classification system fails to protect women and girls: immediate action needed to stop pornification of teen girls for profitRead more
In response to the global outcry over the children’s film Show Dogs, the Australian Classifications Board issued a media release. This was after the production company had promised to withdraw the film and re-cut it to remove the offending scenes, however, only minimal content was removed, with scenes featuring the dog Max having his genitals touched against his will remaining in the movie. Classifications Board referred to the scenes in question, involving the dog Max having his private parts touched against his will, as scenes that ‘may cause offence to some viewers’:
The Board is aware of social media commentary over the past couple of days that a scene or two in Show Dogs, may cause offence to some viewers, who are of the opinion that the touching of a dog character’s genitals, and the accompanying dialogue, may promote acceptance of grooming of children for sexual exploitation.
Reducing the issue to mere ‘offence’ is problematic. The concerns from parents, survivors, child advocates and organisations dedicated to fighting against child sexual abuse are not that individuals will be ‘offended’. They are about the disturbing and dangerous messages to children about sexual touching when the main character, Max, must put aside his discomfort and endure having his private parts touched, after which he is rewarded.
The Classifications Board assert that context is crucial, and on this basis suggest that scenes of the dog having his private parts touched against his will were assessed as thematic content. They went on, saying, “There is no suggestion in the film that the dog is a metaphor for a child.”
Long-time activist and Collective Shout supporter Melinda Liszewski addressed these sentiments below:
“The concern about the movie reflects a community putting thought into the media created and designed to be consumed by our children.
“This practice of inspecting genitals is common in dog shows, but there are a lot of other things about dog shows that I’m sure aren’t in the movie. The writer made deliberate choices about what to include and what to leave out. The scenes in question were included to get a cheap laugh, but this is where lack of consideration for their target audience comes in. Consulting with anyone specialising in child development, child psychologists would go a long way. They can spot issues others wouldn’t immediately recognise. Really important issues.
“So we can't say this is a realistic true to life depiction of dog shows, or dogs. They're anthropomorphised dogs. We have assigned human personalities, reactions, feelings, goals and fears. These are talking dogs. These are characters that exist for the children to identify with, to go on a journey with, to overcome obstacles with through this story.
“These dogs are not reacting how a dog would react, they are reacting how a human would react in the same circumstance. This is portrayed for an audience of young children. The statistics say one in five children will be sexually abused in their life so we know that in the audience of children viewing that film, some of those children are abused children. The idea of 'going to a happy place' while enduring unwanted touching is called dissociation. We are not doing children any favours by normalising the idea that people - again, the dogs are humanised - enduring unwanted touching is normal.
“My conclusion is this – it’s not a good thing if some children don't give this a second thought. This shouldn't be normalised and used to get a cheap laugh.”
Response from cinemas
We are pleased to report that several Australian cinemas have responded to community concern over the messages in this film. The film is not being promoted by Cineplex, Village Cinemas, Grand Cinemas, Dendy Cinemas or ACE Cinemas. Majestic Cinemas have confirmed they will not be screening the film, and Deny have told us that at this stage they have no plans to release the film.
The following cinemas have failed to respond to community concerns over the movie, still promoting the film despite being informed as to the issues: Hoyts, Event Cinemas, Palace Cinemas and Wallis Cinemas.
Both Wallis Cinemas and Hoyts have referenced the re-cut, yet neither of them will clarify whether the film is to be re-cut for a second time to remove all scenes where the dog submits to unwanted genital touching, or if they are referring to the initial and unsatisfactory cuts which still included scenes of unwanted genital touching.
Contact your local cinema here, and let us know how you go!
Allowing images that depict children as keen for sex makes them more vulnerable to abuse and violence. Partially covering titles makes no difference. These magazines don't need tighter ratings, they shouldn't be sold at all.
A recent check of 38 magazines in corner stores in three Melbourne suburbs by Julie Gale of Kids Free 2B Kids, a group committed to raising community and corporate awareness about the early sexualisation of children, shows the titles have been wrongly classified or should have been ruled "RC - Refused Classification" because of explicit content involving girls who are, or are depicted as, minors.
It appears our Classification Board hasn't just fallen asleep at the wheel - it never even got into the car.
The Classification Board has given the titles quoted here "serial classification", which means instead of having to clear each issue, the publishers get a two-year approval, Gale complained to the Board.
It then decided to audit three titles, among 30 imported by David Watt. Board Director Donald McDonald admitted in a letter to Gale that they had been wrongly classified.
"In the Board's view, the contents of the audited publications Purely 18 and Live Young Girls would exceed the classification of Category 1 restricted, granted by their respective Serial Classification Declarations," the letter said.
"When auditing the issue of Live Young Girls, the board noted that one advertisement included in the magazine warranted an RC classification. The advertisement is an offensive depiction of a person who is, or appears to be under 18."
So what tough action does the Board take next?
Well, it asks the distributor to write a submission arguing why it should be allowed to keep the serial classification ruling and sends a community liaison officer to explain the rules.
If this material is allowed to be sold - and sold so openly - the Classification Board is sending a message that its OK to want sex with real “live young girls”. It's time for the State and Federal Attorneys-General to intervene and stop it.
These people have been importing porn for a very long time. They should know the rules by now. And all they get is a visit from the community liaison officer, maybe even with a nice cup of tea. Has anyone called the police?
Gale's first letter to the Classification Board was sent on July 31 this year but it was only this week that BP and Shell service stations were required to remove the magazines from more than 600 outlets around Australia.
How many other mistakes have the Board made over the years these titles have been sold? Someone needs to audit the Board.
In the meantime, let's join together in wishing The Australian Sex Party a very short life.Read more