Death Notice

I was on the crux of publishing another article about Fed Parliament, rape, and the rule of law (and will do so soon), but I’m so enchanted by this that I must share – what a brilliant woman!
I hope her family will forgive me for republishing this, but given it’s already in the public domain, and given what a fantastic woman she obviously was, I hope they will forgive me.

EVANS, Elaine Anne

After 84 years of pushing and dominating her family, ‘little sis’ Elaine has lost her final battle with the grim reaper.

Although she managed to get her way on most of the matters she took on during her lifetime, she bit off more than she should with the big C, but she would say only because it took a rare and highly aggressive one to finish her off.

Despite her diminutive stature and disarming smile, only the brave took on Elaine or the causes she fought for, at least directly, and woe to anyone who misjudged her tenacity and will power to push aside mountains of bureaucracy and accepted practice if these stood in her way.

Not content with getting her way with her immediate and extended families, Elaine took her battle for fairness and justice for her beloved Sydney western suburbs to such areas as Board member of Parramatta Hospital (1984-88), Councillor on Parramatta City Council (1987-91), Board member on Parramatta Park Trust (2001 -11).

While these organisations all probably felt the heat of Elaine’s passion to challenge the ‘accepted way’, they would probably all admit they emerged fairer and more responsive to local needs for her time with them.

Eschewing most official recognition for her community work, Elaine was chuffed to be pulled up by the Western Australian police while holidaying with her beloved Bill in 1999, telling her she needed to fly back to Sydney to receive the inaugural Justice Medal awarded by the Law Foundation of NSW at Parliament House for her “outstanding contribution to justice in NSW” – arising from her decade of work at the then Women’s Legal Resource Centre supporting women, especially in western Sydney as well as the more remote and needy corners of the State.

All pretty good for the daughter of a fettler and a railway gate keeper in Armidale who left school at 15 to take care for her newly widowed dad, worked in factories and farms before resuming her schooling at forty by completing her HSC so she could enter tertiary studies to better help others. Always the overachiever, Elaine topped her class at the then Milperra College of Advanced Education and was awarded the Council Medal in 1979.

Elaine’s passion for justice for all made her a very active member and supporter of the Labor Left, and the Evans dinner table at Toongabbie was never free of animated discussion and debate on the failings of the ‘other side’, be it Labor or Liberal, to achieve fairness and equity for those in need.

Elaine will be greatly missed by husband Bill, her siblings Grace, Joan and Gerald, along with her proud children Graham, Jennifer, Jeffrey and Sharon (dec) and their wider families.

Thanks to Sally-Ann, Trish and their respective teams at Mt Druitt Palliative Care Unit for their special care in Elaine’s final weeks, along with Dr Dinh at Westmead Hospital oncology.


Rape Never Heals

Today’s Guest Author is Puff, the Magic Dragon. Thank you so much for your contribution, my dear friend. My apologies for the delay – it’s taken me several days to get into the “guest author” persona but at last I’ve managed! (And I’ve written down the password …)

Rape never heals is the basis of any discussion about rape.

There is no passage of time, no therapy, and no medicine to reverse it.

There is no way to return to being un-raped.

The trauma may reduce, but it can never unhappen.

You could protest that any violent attack does the same. But there’s a fundamental difference: rape is an invasion. Why do countries spend so much energy and resources to repel invasion? Let that thought linger a while and consider it.

The perpetrators may have many reasons or none.

A perpetrator, or to say it plainly, a rapist, always has an excuse, usually founded on a false belief of the lesser humanity of women. But unlike non-human mammals, a female human has a menstrual cycle, not an oestrus cycle. The permission needed to engage with a male human comes from her consciousness, as it does for any human to engage sexually with another.

Unlike animals, human mammals have choice, and they exercise it. Female humans exercise the choice all the time – to accept, reject, or just not be interested – all their lives. It is why we as females are not animals in heat. We are not there for the taking. No human is there for the taking. We have the fundamental human right to decide with whom we have sexual relations, and when and how.

So when this human right is broken, it is not we who become less than human.

We do not revert to the animal instincts of a species needing to propagate to survive. There are too many humans anyway, we passed that point millenniums ago.

The rapist is the one who has chosen to revert, to treat other humans as mere objects, and to betray humanity.

Rapists violate the human rights of others for their own sub-human excuses.

This is not just the violent assault, the sudden attack.

When a person does not or cannot give consent, it is rape. If you are not invited into the house, it is trespass. If permission is revoke and you do not leave, it is trespass.

With the body of a human both are rape.

A rapist can believe what they are doing is not rape: “You can’t call rape” is a common phrase.

It is rape even when a person has to put up with the act to relieve the pressure to give-in, to “get it over and done with”, or to keep the rapist from hurting others in the family.

So how should we react to rapists?

As humans who briefly lost their way, with the usual excuse of its being the victims fault?

Or as perpetrators of a crime against humanity: unfit for the freedom of human society, or any role in which they have authority over any other human being?

Society can only work on trust. When that trust is broken, it must be mended.

Rape is a fundamental breach of trust and cannot be mended.

When a person is raped, society itself is raped.

As a human society, it is up to us to determine if we will accept this, excuse it, cover up for it, deny its existence, collude and, ultimately  betray our humanity and each other.

Just remember, the victim, and us, can never, ever be un-raped.