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MEDIA RELEASE

Speak Up for Women dismayed at discharge without conviction for attack on elderly woman.




Wellington March 5th 2024

Speak Up for Women (SUFW) are disappointed with the Court's decision to grant name suppression and a discharge without conviction to the 21 year old male who repeatedly punched a 71 year old woman, Judith Dobson, at the Let Women Speak rally in Albert Park on March 25th last year.


New Zealand has one of the worst rates of family and sexual violence in the world. Yet again the system has sent a message to men that they can violently attack women with no consequences. 


Holding men who assault women to account is crucial to reducing New Zealand’s shocking rates of violence against women.  Women have for too long endured men being shown leniency by the courts due to their age or other unrelated problems, in this case, neurodiversity. 


While misinformation about the Let Women Speak event likely fuelled the frenzy of the counter protesters at Albert Park, had women's right to free speech been upheld by the government, the assailant might have heard the women’s point of view. Many women in attendance that day are highly supportive of gay rights, but are concerned about the impact of gender ideology on women and girls’ sex-based rights.  Regardless of whether others agree with these concerns or the views of the MC at the event, Ms Keen-Minshull, the descent into violence at Albert Park was a disgrace and the excuses were rampant misogyny.   

 

The Court’s judgement brings into question the extent to which women exercising their rights to free speech, including voicing concerns about gender ideology, can feel confident of their personal safety when doing so.  


“Today’s discharge without conviction is a tragedy for women” - ACT MP Laura Trask.


SUFW believes that it is imperative for our government to uphold the right to freedom of speech in our country.  We are heartened to see ACT and NZ First MPs expressing disapproval of this court judgement and support for women’s free speech rights. We hope these words become actions to ensure the safety of women and girls who wish to express their concerns about gender identity ideology in New Zealand.  


We commend the bravery of all women who continue to speak up for the protection of women and girls’ sex-based rights, in spite of threats and abuse from men.

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