Here we go again. The news of my Australia Day Honour has not only led to feminists on twitter going into meltdown, but has also inspired fresh attacks from the woman who has most to lose by the success of my campus campaign.
Nina Funnell is a rape survivor who has built her journalism career exaggerating the risk of rape to young women at our universities. She’s the key spokesperson for End Rape on Campus which played a significant role in prompting the Human Rights Commission’s survey on sexual assault and harassment. Then, when that proved a fizzer, her organisation still bullied universities into measures to tackle ‘sexual violence’ – like sexual consent courses, rape crisis lines and so on. She recently managed to persuade universities to do new surveys, trying to cook the results more to her satisfaction.
In recent years Funnell has published at least nine articles which attack me or include material designed to damage my professional reputation – plus a Sixty Minutes programme, the ABC 7.30 Report and numerous other newspaper articles have included the damaging material she has been promoting, using material she has clearly supplied to the journalists.
Last year she linked the rape and murder of the La Trobe student Aya Maarsarwe to my campus tour in an article in The Saturday Paper. I posted a detailed analysis of the many inaccuracies in that article on my Facebook page and encouraged my readers to report her to the Press Council.
Clearly my loyal followers did their homework because I then suddenly received a letter from a female law firm threatening defamation action over that post. This petered out following a letter from the formidable Brisbane QC Tony Morris, who is well-known for successfully defending the QUT students in the indigenous computer lab scandal.
Morris wrote to Funnell’s lawyers saying we did not wish to discourage her from commencing legal proceedings. “Ms Arndt cannot conceive of a better way to ventilate the issues about which she is passionate, than at a trial where the focus of the tribunal of fact will be as to your client’s honesty, integrity and professionalism as a journalist.” Read here Morris’s entertaining response to the Funnell letter.
Most of the Funnell attacks relate to a YouTube video I made with Nico Bester, a Tasmanian teacher who went to prison for having a sexual relationship with one of his students. I decided to interview Bester after a judge spoke out against vigilante justice when feminist activists were targeting him following his release from prison, trying to stop him studying for a PhD at the University of Tasmania. In that interview I condemned Bester’s criminal actions, we discussed the seriousness of his crime and agreed his prison sentence was absolutely appropriate.
Once again, the media sources associated with Funnell are using carefully selected edits from the Bester video, taking comments out of context to suggest I’m a pederast apologist. See the blog in which I explained all this following the ferocious 60 Minutes attack on me last year, where Funnell launched her “Let Her Speak” campaign to allow Bester’s victim to speak about what happened.
Tasmania changed its laws to allow sexual abuse victims to go public – which then enabled Funnell to launch a new wave of attacks on me as part of the victim’s new version of events involving Bester, which differ significantly from the evidence presented in the criminal trial.
Funnell has also been on social media raising questions about my professional qualifications. I am aware of two recent complaints to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission claiming I am misrepresenting myself in this respect. Both times the Commission dismissed the complaint
I am now careful when describing my qualifications to say that I “trained as a clinical psychologist,” rather than suggesting I am currently practicing. There are numerous interviews on the public record where I explain in detail the start of my professional life, when I worked very briefly as a sex therapist and clinical psychologist before moving into editing the sex education magazine, Forum. It’s obvious from these I have nothing to hide.
I haven’t worked in this field for over 45 years, but it’s difficult to avoid inaccurate descriptions appearing occasionally in the media.
It is common practice for doctors and other professionals to include their previous professional backgrounds in descriptions of their life’s work and I have done so on many occasions. Clearly the authorities see no problem with the way I have dealt with this issue. But I am well aware Funnell is doing her best make trouble for me here as well.
Her determination to rain on my parade is a bit sad, but I’m being swamped with messages of congratulations so it’s very clear few agree with her.