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Shivani Gopal

Shivani Gopal

November 26, 2021
| Womens Advocacy

Founder's Weekly 24th Sept 2021: Toxic entitlement sees man walk free after punching woman in the face

Why private schools need to tackle socially unacceptable behaviour festering within their walls.

Fellow remarkable women,

Here in Australia alone, we’ve had an earthquake, demonstrations gone wild (and violent!) and just when we thought we were almost at the weekend, details regarding Nicholas Drummond’s assault case came out…

The former Knox Grammar student dodged all assault charges after verbally abusing a woman, punching her in the face and destroying her belongings. Yet another example of our legal system protecting offenders and letting victims of assault (who are largely women) down. 

The case follows numerous incidents over the past year, pointing to a culture of toxic entitlement in the private school system. We believe the time is long overdue that Principals - and parents - face the endemic issue and address it. 

On a happier note, as a female entrepreneur I found it incredibly affirming to read that when women-led startups receive funding, they end up delivering value at more than double the investment than those led by men.

Toxic entitlement sees man walk free after punching woman in the face

Toxic entitlement at Sydney private schools has reared its ugly head again, with a former Knox Grammar student escaping conviction after punching a woman in the face.

Nicholas Drummond was placed on a good behaviour bond after assaulting the woman and a male bystander in December, with the judge ruling it wasn’t “necessary” to record the convictions.

Let’s talk about what wasn’t “necessary”...starting with Drummond’s appalling behaviour. 

Upon seeing the victim at The Greengate Hotel in Killara, he called her a "slut" and told her to put her "tits away". Charming. 

They later ran into each other at another pub and she photographed him; a fight broke out over her phone, leading to him being ejected from the venue. Nicholas then punched a man in the head who was queued to enter Chatswood's Orchard Hotel before punching the woman on his way to the train station and stomping on her phone. 

To summarise, Nicholas Drummond verbally abused a woman, violently punched her in the face, destroyed her property and to top it off punched another man in the head. All for what? Because he wasn’t aligned with her fashion choices that had nothing to do with him? 

This is so far beyond acceptable that it’s hard to find the words to denounce the decision.

Yet the judge simply told him to thank his lucky stars and "keep your nose clean" moving forward.

Why? Because having a criminal conviction could cost Drummond his Working With Children's Check for coaching football, while his barrister asked for leniency because his client had experienced a "very difficult" 2020, including the death of a family dog, a relationship breakdown and family illness.

We’ve all had a tough 2020, and 2021 for that matter, but violence is not an excuse for the byproduct of emotional hardship, it’s quite frankly a poor, low and disgusting reaction intertwined with obvious misogyny and immaturity; a classic pale, male trait I’m sick of hearing and seeing. 

What’s even more jarring is the fact that the legal system quite literally gave this man a free get of jail card as a thank you for being a private school boy. Huh?! Aside from the obvious white male privilege, here’s something to think about, Judge Sutherland, if a man can’t treat a woman with respect, what makes you think he’ll treat a child with respect and care? Revoking his Working with Children Check? Sounds like the bare minimum to me. 

The judge noted that the incidents were sparked by Drummond's "loose tongue and loose thoughts" on a background of excessive alcohol use.

"(He made) a lewd and completely inappropriate remark towards someone he didn't know but whose dress might have been perceived by a former student of Knox to be provocative," Judge Richard Sutherland said.

Well according to Sutherland, “a former student of Knox” has clearly learnt and inhabited Knox’s values of “​​Faith, Wisdom, Integrity, Compassion and Courage, with a sure knowledge of who they are and how they should live”. And it’s this tacit approval of violence by the court that is disturbing when we continue to see a woman die every week in Australia at the hands of a current or former partner. 

It follows the disgraceful muck-up scavenger hunt planned by Year 12 students at Shore last year, which included deplorable items such as “Get with a chick which is 3/10 or lower (photo of the chick + the dirty work)”,  “'Boar Hunter:' sex with a 80kg+ woman”; and “Get with someone below 15”.

Don’t get us started on the gang of North Shore private schoolboys who assaulted an innocent cyclist so badly that they blinded him and he ended up in a coma. The boys then joked about it in text messages.

On second thought, DO get us started. Private schools and our society at large need to immediately tackle the socially unacceptable behaviours festering within their walls.

As Teach Us Consent founder Chanel Contos noted to AAP: "[This] tells us that privilege and entitlement are not only the reason gender-based violence occurs but also why no accountability is held.”

Unlike Judge Sutherland, the Northern Tigers football club has taken the appropriate action and cut ties this week with Drummond, who was a first-grade player with the team.

"We are extremely disappointed and do not condone Mr Drummond's behaviour," club boss Edward Ferguson said on Thursday.

"In accordance with our club values and culture, we have a zero-tolerance policy for incidents such as this."

Anti-violence campaigner Tarang Chawla summed up our sentiments perfectly in an Instagram post: “It does not matter what a woman wears. What a woman wears doesn’t cause violence.

“This bloke made a choice to harass a woman, bash her, destroy her belongings and gets a good behaviour bond for 14 months.

“News flash. We’re all on good behaviour bonds. A good behaviour bond is literally what living in a civil society is. Drummond’s wealth and connections got him off. Male entitlement wins again.”

Let’s get this right; the root of inequality and injustice is not one we should be dealing with after its occurrence. The fact of it happening and festering over and over is a reflection of the very values, morals and perspectives generations have been taught from out of the selfishness of those who do not see humans, but playthings to use, taunt and step on. It has to end, we are tired.

If you or someone you know needs help dealing with violence or abuse, you can call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732. In an emergency call 000.

Why female start-ups are the best investment

We don’t need data to tell us female start-ups are often overlooked and under invested (although there’s a lot of it!), but it’s fascinating to see data that shows women-helmed companies have higher business metrics than those run by men.

One analysis performed by Boston Consulting Group found that when female-led startups are able to receive funding they end up delivering value at more than double the investment.

While this provides value for investors looking to maximise their ROI, it also presents an unseen opportunity for gender equality in the workplace, as female bosses hire more than twice as many females as men.

If you need more proof that female start-ups are a good investment, you just need to look at the incredible success of Canva under the leadership of Melanie Perkins, who The Remarkable Woman profiled last week. Canva is now valued at $US40billion and Perkins has committed 30% of her equity in the company to ending inequality in the world.

Jackie Vullinghs, a principal of AirTree Ventures – one of the first backers of Canva – told the Morgan Stanley Australia summit last week that she trusts women more during business pitches.

“One of the things that we do notice is that women often tend to pitch the most realistic version of their plan, whereas men will often pitch the most optimistic version of their plan,” she said.

“Calling out cognitive bias is a big part of our decision-making process, and something we spend a lot of time on as an investment team. So, that is one of the elements that comes up frequently for us when we’re doing due diligence on a business that has a woman founder or a male founder.

“We would normally scale back a guy’s forecasts by 50%, and maybe we’ll scale the woman-led business back by 15%.”

Unfortunately, the AirTree approach goes against the industry norm, where male start-ups get more money than women, but perform worse.

AirTree has invested in every Canva fundraising round since 2014, which means it stands to make a staggering return on its investment when the company lists on the Nasdaq in New York.

Our advice to investors: be like AirTree. Female start-ups need your support and you stand to make a motza in the process. It’s a win-win.

Texas doctor sued for defying abortion ban

A crusading doctor in Texas is taking a stand for women’s rights and has vowed to continue performing abortions in defiance of new legislation aimed at preventing them. Now THAT, is a remarkable man!

As we reported earlier this month, Texas’ Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a law that prohibits abortion once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks and before many women know they’re pregnant. It also allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone involved in facilitating abortions.

Dr Alan Braid revealed he had carried out a termination on a woman who was in the early stages of her pregnancy but "beyond the state's new limit". Former lawyers in Arkansas and Illinois filed lawsuits against him on Monday.

In an op-ed for The Washington Post Dr Braid said: “I fully understood that there could be legal consequences,” Braid wrote, “but I wanted to make sure that Texas didn’t get away with its bid to prevent this blatantly unconstitutional law from being tested.”

Braid started his gynocology and obstetrics residency in San Antonio in 1972, when abortions were illegal in Texas. The following year, the Supreme Court decided Roe vs Wade, which ruled the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.

“At the hospital that year, I saw three teenagers die from illegal abortions,” he wrote. “One I will never forget. When she came into the ER, her vaginal cavity was packed with rags. She died a few days later from massive organ failure, caused by a septic infection.”

Braid said he sees rape survivors every month who are desperate for an abortion, which they are no longer allowed, and others are in abusive relationships, while many are struggling financially. He refuses to turn his back on women who need his help.

“I believe abortion is an essential part of health care,” he wrote. “I have spent the past 50 years treating and helping patients. I can’t just sit back and watch us return to 1972.”

Meanwhile, 500 prominent athletes, including soccer captain Megan Rapinoe, are calling on the US supreme court to protect abortion rights in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organisation, which challenges a 2018 Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks.

The athletes argue that female athletes need autonomy over their bodies and reproductive rights to participate in high school, college and professional sport. They say restrictions on abortion harm women’s ability to participate and excel in sport.

 “As women athletes and people in sports, we must have the power to make important decisions about our own bodies and exert control over our reproductive lives,” Rapinoe said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.

“Physically, we push ourselves to the absolute limit, so to have forces within this country trying to deny us control over our own bodies is infuriating and un-American and will be met with fierce resistance.”

It’s inspiring to see women and men unite in their fight to protect reproductive choice in the United States. Time the government took note.

Our government won’t help Afghan women

The hard-fought rights of women have been destroyed since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan a month ago. The government ministry dedicated to women's affairs has been closed, female students have been prevented from returning to schools and universities, and female workers have been told to stay home until further notice. Videos have even shown Taliban soldiers flogging women on the streets.

This is barbaric. Yet the Australian government continues to ignore pleas from more than 5,000 people from Afghanistan living in Australia on temporary forms of protection visas for permanent residency, despite the majority of them being from the persecuted Hazara ethnic group.

“They cannot return to Afghanistan and yet our Government continues to deny them permanent protection,” Sharara Attai is a human rights lawyer with the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, told news.com.au

“This also has the effect that they cannot sponsor their spouses and children who remain in Afghanistan or elsewhere to join them, because they are not permanent residents.

“Other countries such as the UK and Canada have each introduced additional humanitarian intakes of 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan, Australia has announced just 3,000 visas for people from Afghanistan. The catch is that these 3,000 places are not additional to our existing annual humanitarian intake but are to be taken from within our existing intake.

“While the Prime Minister did allude to potentially offering more places later, it has been over one month since he made that announcement and with the human rights crisis in Afghanistan worsening, nothing further has since been announced.

“Australia could easily offer permanent protection to refugees from Afghanistan already living in Australia. We could lift the effective ban on family reunification and we should move on this quickly. We could offer a one-off humanitarian intake from Afghanistan. As the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan worsens, Australia must take these actions and do so with a sense of urgency.”

The Australian government’s long-standing attitude towards vulnerable refugees is astounding. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke also took the unfathomable step this week of granting three members of the Nadesalingam family 12-month bridging visas, but kept their youngest daughter Tharnicaa under a community detention order. This means the family cannot return from Perth to the community who loves and supports them in Biloela, Queensland, despite Tharnicaa being born in Australia.

Much like Pfizer doses, the government has failed to procure enough empathy, making us question whether they really care about people or just political hopscotch, economic contingency and whether they can get away with taking holidays in any future national crisis, perhaps even claim Hawaiian shirts with their 2022 tax return or maybe figuring out a plan to get Biden to stop calling our Prime Minister “that fella down under”.

Here’s to the end of another week.
Happy Friday, remarkable women!

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