By Dorothy Thompson.
As the recent slew of explosive unproved accusations against well known Media Personalities and Entertainment Celebrities of accused sexual intimidation or inappropriate behaviour grows exponentially as the weeks roll on, who knows where it might end. Is this Justice, or some bellicose retrospective attempt by zealots for what they see is their form of social revenge?
Let me at this stage state; any form of sexual intimidation, aggression or sexual blackmail is totally abhorrent and must not be tolerated.
I would however draw your attention to the obvious or indeed what should be obvious. The basis right of any one accused, is the ability to face their accuser in a proper court, “NOT” to be tried by innuendo or hearsay “so called” evidence, with their accusers cowering behind the cloak of anonymity, demanding their right to privacy be protected whilst denying this very entitlement to the accused. They spew unsubstantiated highly damaging allegations from the front page of the tasteless tabloid newspapers and magazines, whose only interest is to sell their pitiful rags. If they (the accusers) believe that there is truth in their allegations, let them go on the record and report the matter to the police, not support a trial by mainstream media or the so-called “unsocial” media crusaders.
See below: the indignity that Australia’s most awarded actor Geoffrey Rush has had to endure at the hand of a cowardly ignominious indictor, supported by the doubtful hearsay evidence from two of her work place cronies. (Front Page of The Daily Telegraph)
In fact, a defendant’s rights are enshrined in Australian Law, the following supports this claim:
The Law Reform Commission ratified by the High Court of Australia.
The Fair Trial
10.81 The High Court has said that ‘confrontation and the opportunity for cross-examination is of central significance to the common law adversarial system of trial’. The right to confront an adverse witness has been said to be ‘basic to any civilised notion of a fair trial’. In R v Davis, Lord Bingham said:
“It is a long-established principle of the English common law that, subject to certain exceptions and statutory qualifications, the defendant in a criminal trial should be confronted by his accusers in order that he may cross-examine them and challenge their evidence”.
10.82 This principle, Lord Bingham said, originated in ancient Rome, and was later recognised by such authorities as Sir Matthew Hale, Blackstone and Bentham.
“The latter regarded the cross-examination of adverse witnesses as ‘the indefeasible right of each party, in all sorts of causes’ and criticised inquisitorial procedures practised on the continent of Europe, where evidence was received under a ‘veil of secrecy’ and the door was left ‘wide open to mendacity, falsehood, and partiality’”.
I am absolutely positive being pillarised on Twitter, Facebook or by any other social media extremists web sites or blogs, is in direct opposition to the common law of our Nation.
Indeed the world has changed. Our expectations and acceptance has moved dramatically over the past 5-10 years. Perhaps it is due to unsocial media, the access to portals to lodge complaints cossip, or indeed the so-called social crusaders’ intent on rewriting history in what they seen is their new modern framework. All in all, they do not realise you cant turn back the clock and rewrite apparent wrongs. They should take note, “Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlighten the future”. I goggled one of the zealots and leading figures of this cause Tracy Spicer. Below is her interview at , in which Spicer said the following:
“Tracey Spicer is about to drop the mother of all bombs on the Australian media and entertainment industries.
This isn’t going to be a ‘drunk punch’. I don’t understand just what she means by this!
This is going to land directly in the middle of the ingrained culture of sexism, misogyny and criminal sexual behaviour that pervades these sparkly and glamorous industries.
And she isn’t doing it alone.
Spicer has put together a fierce team of police, legal representatives, witnesses and victims all ready to go on the record.
So far up to 400 women have contacted her with stories of workplace sexual abuse and assault both past and present, some with explosive evidence proving their claims, many of them pointing the finger at the same 40 offenders”.
She further went on to say:
“The quest to bring perpetrators of sexual abuse and assault in the Australian media and entertainment industries to justice began during a visit to a police station.
She was there researching a story on cyber bullying.
“An officer who worked with victims of sexual assault brought up the Harvey Weinstein scandal, saying she was surprised a similar outcry against perpetrators of sexual abuse hadn’t happened in the Australian entertainment and media industries.”
The officer told Spicer to tell anyone who reached out to her that there is no statue of limitations for the vast majority of these cases. “If something happened 30 or 40 years ago, tell them to go to their local police station and report it,” Spicer was told in what she describes as a real “light bulb moment” for her”.
One has to wonder is this effort born out of revenge or justice they are so often confused. And that’s hardly surprising, for in the course of history, they’ve frequently been used interchangeably.
As and example of this apparent confusion number of significant historic events come to mind The Inquisition, (The Inquisition was a group of institutions within the government system of the Catholic Church whose aim was to combat what they perceived to be heresy. It started in 12th-century France to combat religious sectarianism). And the Salam Witch Trials, are two that immediately front of mind. (The Salem Witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. The trials resulted in the executions of forty people, the majority of them women, and all but one by hanging. Five others (including two infant children) died in prison).
You may be familiar with the phrase – “just revenge.” Still, as meanings alter and evolve over time, the connotations of these two words have increasingly diverged. It’s now uncommon to see them used synonymously. And doubtless, revenge has borne the brunt of the various semantic changes that have transpired.
Most Physiatrists and Psychology’s maintain that there are four essential differentiates between Revenge vs. Justice, they for the most part are diametrically opposite.
I just can’t help wondering which camp these zealots fit into. Lets examine the difference between the two.
- Revenge is predominantly emotional whilst justice primarily rational.
Revenge is mostly about “acting out” markedly negative emotions. At its worst, it expresses a hot, overwhelming desire for bloodshed. As perverse as it may seem, there’s actual pleasure experienced in causing others to suffer for the hurt they’ve caused the avenger, or self-perceived victim.
Justice is logical, legal, and ethically defined, it isn’t about “getting even” or experiencing a spiteful joy in retaliation. Instead, it’s about righting a wrong that most members of society (as opposed to simply the alleged victim) would agree is morally culpable. Therefore it is presumably unbiased (i.e., unemotional) moral rightness of such justice is based on cultural or community standards of fairness and equity. Whereas revenge has a certain selfish quality to it, “cool” justice is selfless in that it relies on non-self-interested, and established law.
The driving impetus behind revenge is to get even, to carry out a private vendetta, or to achieve what, subjectively, might be described as personal justice. If successful, the party perceiving itself as gravely injured experiences considerable gratification: their retaliatory goal has been achieved the other side vanquished, or brought to its knees. Just or not, the avenger feels justified. Their quest for revenge has “re-empowered” them and, from their biased viewpoint, it’s something they’re fully entitled to.
- Revenge is an act of vindictiveness: justice, of vindication.
The intense effort to avenge oneself or others can easily become corrupting, morally reducing the avenger’s status to that of the perpetrator. The old saying two wrongs do not make a right and (ethically speaking) never can. It can be argued degrading another only ends up further degrading yourself. Even if a kind of justice might be served through an act of revenge, it could still be argued that there’s nothing particularly admirable or evolved in retaliating against a wrong by committing a “like” wrong. Or (to put it more emphatically) to behave vengefully is, at best, to take the low road to justice.
In opposition, justice is grounded in assumptions, conventions, and doctrines having to do with honour, fairness, and virtue. Its purpose really isn’t vindictive. That is, bloodthirstiness has no part or should have no part in precepts of justice, at least not in the way the term is presently employed. It’s based on established law, and its proceedings are designed to dispense to individuals precisely what is deserved: nothing more, and nothing less.
- Revenge is about cycles: justice is about closure.
Revenge has a way of relentlessly repeating itself as in interminable feuds, such as the famous Hatfields and McCoys (The feud entered the American folklore lexicon as a metonym for any bitterly feuding rival parties. More than a century later, the feud has become synonymous with the perils of family honour, justice, versing revenge. Eventually going on so long nobody really remembers just what they were fighting about). Revenge typically begets more revenge. Whether it’s an individual or an entire nation, it takes place within a closed system that seems able to feed on itself indefinitely. One side gets satisfaction, then the other is driven to get its satisfaction, and then… theoretically, it may go on forever. There can be no resolution, no compromise. For each faction (say, Israel and Palestine) has clan like its own agenda, its own sense of right and wrong.
Justice, in contrast, is designed by individuals or officials generally not linked to the two opposing camps to offer a resolution far more likely to eventuate in closure especially if, in fact, it is just equitable. And when justice is done so is the conflict that led up to it. Beyond that, punishments for wrongdoing carry an agreed-upon authority lacking in personal vengeful acts, which are calculated solely to “get back” at the assumed perpetrator. Technically speaking, so-called “vigilante justice” isn’t really justice, or social justice, at all though at times it may appear to be. Taking matters into one’s own hands may sometimes seem justified, but it hardly meets the more rigorous criteria for proper community justice.
- Revenge is about retaliation: justice about restoring balance.
The motive of revenge has mostly to do with expressing rage, hatred, or spite. It’s a protest, or payback, and its foremost intent is to harm. In and of itself, it’s not primarily about justice but about victims’ affirming their inborn but non-legal right to retaliate against some wrong done to them.
And because it’s so impassioned, it’s typically disproportionate to the original injury meaning that it usually can’t be viewed as just.
The punishment may fit the crime, but it’s often an exaggerated response to another’s perceived offense.
On the contrary, justice is concerned with dispassionately restoring balance through bringing about equality or better, equity. It centres on proportion as it equates to fairness. Not driven by emotion, restorative justice meted out by a court of law seeks to be as objective and even handed as possible. It’s not, as is so much of revenge, about doing the other side “one better” but about equitably or properly punishing wrongdoing.
In a very point quote that sums up the difference between the two the zealots should take note.
“A society built upon a foundation of vengeance is a society doomed to destroy itself.” —Richelle E. Goodrich