I haven’t been following the Australian swimming community’s sexual abuse scandal. I only feel like I have been. That’s because these sorts of heartbreaking stories are so goddamned familiar: a coach is accused of sexually abusing the young charges under his tutelage and with whom he has shared lots of private time, often far from home.
In Australia’s case, several coaches were accused of sexual abuse of both male and female swimmers between the ages of 11 and 16. One coach is Scott Volkers, who is accused of child sexual abuse by three now-adult women. Volkers is accused, among other things, of rubbing the genitalia of a 13-year-old girl and groping the girls’ breasts; he has long claimed his innocence. Charges were dropped against Volkers in 2002 because accusations could not be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Two years later, in 2004, prosecutor Margaret Cunneen advised against recharging him.
Currently, Australia is holding an investigation (called a “royal commission”) focusing on the country’s institutional response, including whether Cunneen’s advice not to recharge him was appropriate. At the time, Cunneen showed skepticism that the abuse could be prosecuted. Which, as a lawyer, is her job to prove. However, what Cunneen said about it all was pretty offensive to these victims. Cunneen said it could all be seen as “trivial … almost fanciful” and it would be difficult to prosecute Volkers for molestation because his victim may not have developed breasts yet. “It is legitimate to consider whether 12-year-old swimmers even had breasts,” she said. Keep reading »
The semi-creepy travel dating website MissTravel took a survey of its members to find where the sexiest people in the world come from. The site asked both men and women to rate which nationalities they find sexiest in a partner. Obviously, sexiness is pretty subjective, but it’s all in good fun anyway! The oh-so-scientific results found that the hottest men hail from Australia while the hottest ladies come from Brazil. Keep reading »
As soon as I started dating an Australian, I began fantasizing about all the adorable animals Down Under who would someday become my friends. Koalas! Roos! Wombats! Sadly, this American was quickly informed that all of those wild animals are indeed wild animals and seldom seen, let alone snuggled. (Kangaroos, I am told, are very common, but are huge and dangerous to humans.) So it gives me hope whenever I watch a video such as this: baby wombats enjoying belly rubs! Also, scurrying around like toddlers on Red Bull! (These little guys live in some kind of a zoo or shelter, which I am obviously Googling immediately.) Thank you, Internet, for further proof that every species loves a good belly scratch. [YouTube via Laughing Squid]
I’m going to make some sweeping generalizations about Australians. They have very cute, but oft-difficult-to-discern accents. They all come from places with silly names like Dingawoomba. Some of them drink a lot. They are sick of fielding questions about kangaroos. And most importantly, they love their snacks. Brits have their Marmite. The Quebecois have their poutine. Australians have a proud tradition of tastsy snackery that I had no idea about until I married one. And it’s not just snacks! Our friends Down Under have some pretty great skincare, beauty products, clothes, and pop culture. Oh yes, Australians are more than just cute koalas and Crocodile Dundee jokes. Keep reading »
The only thing more facepalm-y than holding an “African-themed” birthday party — whatever that even means, it’s an entire continent, people! — is how she took to Tumblr to defend the photographs of her friends in blackface, “tribal paint,” and a KKK costume.
Now the whole world knows an Australian woman identified by Huffington Post as Olivia Mahon is an racist idiot. Keep reading »
The Sydney Living Museum recently made public a series of mugshots taken from the 1920s. Yes, I know, I know, Australia’s always had a rep for being an island of criminals, but these mugshots are actually super cool. The collection comprises both male and female convicts, posing artfully in both close up and full-body shots.
The pictures make me wonder what these men and women did to get arrested int he first place. Taken out of context, they could be inspiration for the latest J. Crew or Madewell collections. The photos are part of a collection of more than 2,500 images the museum has archived. Explains the collection’s curator, Peter Doyle:
“Some subjects were repeat offenders, and we find their names in police records and newspaper reports again and again, sometimes over many decades. A small number achieved notoriety in their time. But, generally, the subjects of the Special Photographs make only one or two fleeting appearances in the records. Some have left little more than a single amazing photograph. At the time these portraits were taken personal identity was a fluid, indeterminate thing. People drifted in and out of the lives and affairs of others, often never to be heard of, or from, again. Names were freely invented and changed. An individual’s origins and history could not be easily checked and, indeed, perhaps were not often sought. The sense of trustworthiness that a man or woman communicated in the flesh counted for much, and if you could fake that, as they say, you had it made.”
Check out a few more after the jump! [The Phoblographer]
Keep reading »
We’ve all done something stupid in the name of sex, usually involving one too many tequila sunrises and men with neck tattoos. But one Australian man puts us all to shame: he shoved a fork up his peehole. Yes, he shoved a piece of cutlery into his urethra. The 70-year-old Canberra man’s escapade was cataloged in a report called “An Unusual Urethral Foreign Body” from the International Journal of Surgery Case Reports. In a ballsy attempt to”achieve sexual gratification,” this elderly fella inserted the four-inch-long fork inside his penis … only to rush himself (or waddle slowly) to the emergency room when he couldn’t get it out. The fork was not visible from the outside, but could be felt by doctors. They were able to replenish his cutlery drawer using forceps and “copious lubrication.” Who knew the urethra could stretch so large! Just keep Grandpa away from the sporks, OK? [Huffington Post; News AU]
“They’re young, they’re feisty, I think I can probably say have a bit of sex appeal, and they are just very very connected to the local area.”
– This is MP Tony Abbott, leader of Australia’s Liberal Party, when asked about two female politicians, Fiona Scott and Jackie Kelly. The best he could come up with to describe these professional women were their more … comely … attributes. Just what we all want in our politicians, right? Feisty with a bit of sex appeal! What a ringing endorsement. A reporter for the UK’s Telegraph noticed that even Abbott’s own daughter “appeared to wince.” [Telegraph UK, Guardian UK]
“The Sapphires” is reportedly one of the very best films of the the year. It’s won all kinds of awards! But the DVD cover is … problematic. The flick stars Chris O’Dowd as the manager of a ’60s girl group in Australia comprised of four Aboriginal women, including “Australian Idol” runner-up Jessica Mauboy. Based on real events, “The Sapphires” is a love story that also tackles the racism these women faced in their native Australia. Alas, the U.S./Canada DVD cover for the film (above) plops O’Dowd front and center while the four women — their darker skin tones appearing blue along with the graphic design — smaller, behind him in the background. Keep reading »
Some will send binkies. Some will send booties. Some will send rattles. But the government of Australia gave the newborn prince/their monarchal overlord Prince George Alexander Louis another sort of gift entirely: a baby crocodile. The little snapper was hatched on December 3, the same day Kate Middleton announced her pregnancy to the world, and he’ll be joining the pair of crocodiles already “gifted” to Prince William and Kate the last time they visited Australia. But lil’ Georgie won’t actually get to play with his new pet croc, as he will live in a city called Darwin, presumably at a zoo. What a shite baby gift! George can’t even take it for walks around Kensington Palace or scratch its chin without getting his hand snapped off. Oh well. Queen Elizabeth is probably going to give him, like, the Cayman Islands or something, so it’ll work out. [Telegraph UK]