Why we need to stop judging when sexual harassment and assault victims choose to come forward.

•December 29, 2017 • Leave a Comment

As the majority of the world has read by now, to state that Harvey Weinstein is a prick is an understatement, and while there is still much to be said on this topic, from no doubt countless more women, this essay is not about that.

While it is so important to applaud, acknowledge, and celebrate the brave women and men who have come forward with their experiences of sexual harassment and assault, without judgement on things such as reason, or timing, it is just as important to respect the privacy of, and pay understanding to the countless others who cannot speak out or have not yet.

With every article outlining details of harassment perpetrated by some person of power onto someone else comes the inevitable comment section. Many of the comments encourage those who have spoken out against their attackers and abusers, but therein lie weeds: comments that span the wide spectrum from accusing the victim of jumping on the bandwagon, to stating that their silence was a perpetuation of the behaviour. In all ways, laying at least some of the blame, or shame, on the victim.

At a time in society when victims of harassment finally feel the courage to come forward, OF COURSE we are seeing it occur in droves; OF COURSE we are seeing people who didn’t feel they could speak out for years come forward, and that’s the point – there is no right time to come forward, because there is never a right time for harassment to occur in the first place. The action itself is wrong, the reaction to it is – and rightly so – foreign and unpleasant, with the psychological and emotional scars far outliving any potential physical ones. Just because one person feels the courage to come forward, doesn’t make those who are not yet or may never be ready, anything less than courageous. They are choosing to survive with every moment and every step forward.

As a relatively young woman, I too have experienced harassment, but this article isn’t about that. This article isn’t about personal experience, this article is about the instances in which I’ve seen women and men blamed for existing and for not coming forward, the instances where women are blamed for what they wore that night, for drinking too much, for not giving something which they were told they “owed”. It is hard, even as a woman in my thirties, when confronted with words, or actions – subtle or otherwise, to not be flung back headfirst into those situations and be torn between ripping the head straight off the person I’m being confronted with, and crawling into the shell of my subconscious. Luckily in my case, these situations are rare, and have occurred with strangers I have had the option to avoid, and I’ve been able to stop going further.

The fact of the matter is, no matter how much we disavow these misdeeds, they still happen. It’s time we start encouraging and nurturing those who have survived harassment and abuse and provide them with the safe environment to do so. It’s certainly time that we stop blaming them, and instead consider the ways we can educate ourselves, each other, and future generations on making the world a safer place all round.

Finally, perhaps when compelled to put the onus on the survivor of this heinous abuse, we could all take a moment to consider that the one thing these survivors have control over – because harassment of any nature removes some form of control and agency from a person – is if, and when they choose to speak about it. Perhaps this little bit of control will allow them to heal.

 

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Why I’m 32 and will still stay with friends instead of at a hotel while on holiday.

•October 30, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Recently, I read an article that suggested that 30 is the cut off for “sleepovers”, in other words, staying at friends’ houses while on holiday. While there was validity in reasons such as “If they want to watch loud TV until 3am or continue drinking cocktails until dawn (when you want a good night’s sleep), you just have to grin and bear it”, I don’t necessarily agree with points such as having “to stay ‘on’” all the time, and the potential for poor hospitality like the “worst bed sheets that I knew were unwashed” or “strange foreign” noises worrying me in the middle of the night. While these are valid reasons, the same can be said for staying in a hotel or Air BnB, both of which would need to be paid for. I’ve personally stayed at a hotel before that had a 3.5 – 4 star rating on Google, Trip Advisor, and lastminute.com, where I couldn’t even use the supplied appliances because there was a warning that the smoke alarm could go off and tenants were liable for the $1300 plus fire brigade call out fee, and at a particularly swanky 5 star hotel where the hot water shut off completely as my partner was getting into the shower because the staff had failed to mention that they were renovating.

So, without further ado, here’s my list of reasons why I’m 32 and will, more often than not, choose to stay at a friend’s house while holidaying instead of at a hotel or Air BnB.

Affordability. I’m part of a generation that can’t afford to buy housing in Sydney unless I make over a certain amount of money that, needless to say despite not wasting my income on lattes and smashed avocado as some investors  – who have now since contextualised said avocado comments – would suggest, I don’t. Not every gen Y has a million dollar start up idea, and the average personal income in Australia is $662 per week. Add utilities, a phone, rent, and – if you live outside of the inner city – a car, it doesn’t leave me, or my partner, a lot to play with, let alone to spend on hotels. If I want to have a break, I generally have the choice of staying at home, or with friends.

I get to spend time with people I trust. I know in a hotel you get tiny toiletries, a comfortable bed – aside from those twin beds that are pushed together to make one super awkward dent in the middle, but I digress – and don’t have to be “on” all the time. But when I stay with friends they generally give me the time and space to be on my own, do my own sightseeing if I’m travelling, and generally provide access to towels, blankets, and coffee. We co-ordinate, and when we’re all free, we make a meal together, or go out, or order in – the same as, shockingly, at a hotel – and have quality time together then.

I know where that bedding’s been. While the majority of hotels can leave you relaxed and at peace with the world, some places can suggest more than a hint of uncleanliness. Hair actually tucked right into the bed, a tissue in the waste basket, discoloured tiling, and – as was the case with one hotel I stayed in – rock candy stuck to the folded bathroom towels. As paying guests we’re meant to assume cleanliness, but let’s face it, unless you want to carry a UV light in your luggage, you’re at the mercy of hotel management’s strictness. I know my friends, and I know they’ll be giving me clean towels and bedding, otherwise I probably wouldn’t be staying at their house in the first place.

It’s my home away from home. My friends have their own lives and will usually go about their day and tell me to make myself at home. This doesn’t mean I leave my clothes and belongings everywhere, mess up their bathroom, and lose my sense of hygiene by leaving dirty wet towels on the bed. I also don’t do this in hotels because I have respect for housekeeping staff and I’m not a 3-year old.

I know where everything is and if I need something all I have to do is ask. This one is pretty self-explanatory. I know where my friends leave their coffee, cotton buds, spare toilet rolls, glasses etc. and after noting points 5 and 6, this makes it easier than having to call housekeeping or a concierge and feel the need to explain why I need extra toiletries or a tampon at 5am, or *ahem* clean towels.

My friends are like-minded about space. They need their alone time just as much as I do, and if one of us doesn’t feel like being social, we’ll do our own thing, whether that means I’m chilling on their couch with a book while they watch TV, or I’m going for a walk while they’re taking a nap. If I’m going away to get away from people they get it, and they’ll leave their house keys in case I need to go out while they’re at work / out with other friends / at the movies. It’s called communicating.

There are better things to spend money on. While the idea of lazing by a pool or in my hotel room that I don’t have to clean, or on a bed I don’t need to bother making sounds absolutely delightful, staying with friends while on holiday means I get to do my own thing in a comfortable environment, save hundreds of dollars per day that are better used elsewhere, and I get to see the friends who were probably the reason for my visit anyway.

At the end of the day, needs are communicated, my partner and I get to continue to save our incomes for other things, and everybody wins.

Monique Le Chat is a writer, student, business owner, home brewer, and musician. When she isn’t doing any of these things, she’s usually out of town, staying with friends.

Asylum Update, and Senscape Announce New Kickstarter!

•October 12, 2014 • Leave a Comment

There have been several updates since my last post about Asylum, and I had the happy fortune of again being able to chat to Agustin Cordes, creator of renowned point-and-click Horror adventure Scratches and the evil genius behind Asylum.

Firstly, for all of us who have waited with bated breath, it looks as though the game is “graphically complete”, meaning we are closer to Asylum’s  release.

Second, it looks as though Senscape have decided to amalgamate their Dagon engine with Unity to create the Dagonity engine. Now, for anyone who is new to game engines (like me!), Cordes gave it to me in layman’s terms, stating that “the easiest way to see it is to think about cooking: the oven would be the engine and the cake would be the game.”

Cordes further stated that “the engine is just a combination of tools that allows the programmer to focus exclusively on the game content. Of course, each engine is tailored for specific types of games; in our case, Dagon is better tailored for adventure games.” So, the combination of Dagon and Unity will allow Senscape to create Asylum without graphic compromise.

Senscape have also recently announced a Kickstarter campaign for their classically themed Horror, H.P. Lovecraft: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. This too will no doubt be a fantastic game, and the reward tiers announced so far are hard to resist. Obsolete Graffiti wishes Agustin the best of luck!

In the meantime, take a look at just one of the samples of graphics to be coming out of Asylum.

Kickstarting The Backpack Baller

•December 30, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I’ll be honest. I don’t know a lot about basketball, but after reading SLAM magazine’s excerpt of this quirky yet informative offering by the ever-elusive Mr Brad Graham, I’m intrigued to say the least.

One of the main men behind Buckets and handle magazines, as well as Crtside (read: courtside) podcast, Brad Graham has eviscerated into some 250 plus pages, the inspirational story of ‘the second best player on the planet’, Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant.

Kickstarter is the game this time, and Graham is looking to crowdfund at $35,000 by January 1st. A small sum to self-publish such a magnum opus. A wishlist item for any sports fan, or anyone who knows the need to go the distance.

With ‘The Backpack Baller’ Graham will yet again scoop basketball out of Australian obscurity, and slam dunk it into the minds of the masses.

Check out the campaign here: Kickstart The Backpack Baller

Follow Brad Graham on Twitter: @backpackballer

Mr Black Spirits Launch. Interviews with Tom Baker and Phillip Moore

•November 24, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I made it out to the official Mr Black spirits launch in Sydney on November 8th, & am pleased to say, it was a blast.

Held at aMBUSH gallery in Waterloo, this was definitely the place to be on a damp Friday night. Mr Black on ice, Mr Black espresso martinis and Old Fashioneds were free all night, along with Pale and Light ale from the friendly chaps at Six String Brewing Co.. Backers of Mr Black’s very successful crowdfunding campaign were also able to watch live art by the man behind the owl mascot Dale Bigeni from Art By Dale, and Ronstoppable.
mrblackimage
I also had the lucky fortune of interviewing Tom Baker and Phillip Moore (Distillery Botanica) – the co-creators of Mr Black. Feel free to have a listen.

Communion For The Masses?

•October 5, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Looks like there’s no longer a reason to avoid communion.  The body of Christ is making the rounds and can now be delivered right to your door.
Yep, you read correctly, the helpful folks at Amazon sell boxed communion wafers. Just add blessing and the sacrament’s done.

Wafers, Wafer, Get Your Wafers Here!

Be sure to take a look at the user reviews and ratings on this one.
In further unconsecrated news, USA Today just published a story about Chicago burger joint Kuma’s Corner. As their special burger for October, the “sacrelicious” restaurant is serving up a tasty-perhaps somewhat unholy-treat paying homage to Swedish Metal band Ghost in the form of a burger topped with – yep you guessed it – a communion wafer, and using a red wine reduction.
Body of Christ anyone?

Mmmmm sacrelicious

Cold Drip Liqueur Is The New Black, Mr Black That Is.

•October 5, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Sydney is slowly stealing the limelight from Melbourne for the “Australian coffee capital” title for some time now. The Third Wave has been embraced by career baristas and their faithful, with multiple caffeinated options gracing the menus of cafes throughout Sydney’s hip Surry Hills (Single Origin Roasters), inner west, through to the eastern suburbs and Crows Nest (Bean Drinking).

With alternative brewing being the current trend in specialty coffee, it begged the question – what’s next?

Enter Mr Black. In every video, press release and article, and even on their Pozible crowd-fundraising page, there is a caveat: Mr Black is not for everybody. Instead of the watered down and over-creamy cocktail mixers of the past, Mr Black introduces the convergence of specialty cold drip coffee and spirits.

Utilisng beans supplied by the Central Coast’s Glee Coffee, and the master distilling skills of Philip Moore of Distillery Botanica, and having won the 2012 International Wine & Spirits Gold Medal, Tom Baker has successfully created the alchemy that so many coffee drinkers unknowingly craved.

Due for release this month, the much anticipated liqueur – which amassed over $16,000 AUD above it’s $10,000 Pozible goal – will be celebrating the success with their official launch party at aMBUSH Gallery in Sydney’s Waterloo.

See it for yourself @ Mr Black Pozible page: http://www.pozible.com/project/29114 137622388713762236141376223796