The sorry & shameful tales three newspaper front pages tell us today.

The sorry & shameful tales three newspaper front pages tell us today.

The front pages of three Australian newspapers tell us different, disturbing stories today.

The Age in Melbourne carries a front page exclusive interview with a girl, who was allegedly raped in Geelong by three men at the age of 14, and her family. Charges against the three perpetrators were dropped earlier this year because the criminal trial was too distressing for the victim.

She has been traumatised enough.

“I can’t live a normal teenage life anymore. Teenagers all have their labels: the sporty girl, the party girl. I’m the girl that got raped,” the now 16-year old told Social Affairs reporter Miki Perkins.

The Daily Telegraph in Sydney has the shameful story of a 15 year old school boy who faced court yesterday for filming his friend raping a 15 year old girl three weeks ago. The footage was distributed to at least 50 students.

Teachers at the Cranbrook School in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, where the attacker had recently started, became aware of the incident after hearing students discussing the video.

They reported it to police who discovered the video footage. The 15 year old faced the Children’s Court in Glebe yesterday and pleaded not guilty to charges of filming a young person committing a sexual act on another young person without their consent, producing child abuse material on his mobile phone and distributing that material on social media.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports on a senior Westpac executive who is facing allegations of sexual misconduct. It is reported that the behaviour being investigated includes taunting a female employee for being fat and unwanted physical contact.

Three different stories paint a sorry and shameful tale. Men – and boys – behaving badly. Criminally.

Violating the girls and women in their vicinity and – in effect – getting away with it.

To say the behaviour making news leaves a lot to be desired is an understatement in the extreme: seeing these front pages side by side is distressing.

It is sickening to contemplate 14 and 15 year old girls being raped.

It is abhorrent to consider that crime being filmed and shared. How little respect – and recognition –  does that entail?

It is repugnant that these crimes are left unpunished. The scars are indelible.

Of course, sexual harassment in the office seems minor in comparison. It is obviously in a different league to rape, but it is just as dispiriting. When a highly-paid senior executive taunts their female peers as fat or subjects them to unwanted advances and remains in employment the subtext is clear. Treating colleagues with respect isn’t inviolable. It will be tolerated.

The combined effect of these stories is the impression that not behaving badly – or criminally – is difficult. And that is truly shameful.

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