Sunday, 22 April 2012

Again with the Slut Shaming: The 'Sex Injury' Compensation Case

If you haven't heard about this one (and I expect most Australians will have, it's just the headline grabbing story), read about it in detail here.


Essentially, a woman in employment for a Commonwealth government agency was sent on a work trip to a town in NSW. After working during the day, she met a male friend from the town at her motel. They had sex, and during this time a light fitting fell from the wall, hitting the woman. The light hit her face, injuring her nose and teeth.


She applied to ComCare (the agency that administers worker's compensation for public servants) and they denied her claim. Now she has won a court case, five years after the incident, with the Judge finding she is entitled to compensation.



The woman's lawyers argued she was entitled to compensation because sex is an 'ordinary incident of life'. If the woman had been, for example, showering, eating or sleeping- all other ordinary incidents of life- she would have been granted compensation from the beginning.


Now I can't comment on what the decision means legally, or if this was the right decision ect. But I can comment on some of the disgusting comments and opinions I have seen about this case.


Some of the responses to this decisions have been classic examples of slut shaming. I've posted about slut shaming before here if you want to take a look. My previous post includes a definition of slut shaming, so I won't repeat it again here. 


Essentially much of the negativity against this case has been from people who seem to think this woman was 'slutty', 'trashy' ect for having sex whilst on a work trip and thus doesn't deserve the compensation to pay for medical treatment for her injuries. 


One commenter liked the incident to them 'pouring hot coffee on myself' and then asking for compensation.  


The Judge, in their comments on the judgement, said that if the woman was, for example, playing cards, and injured herself then she would be entitled to compensation. So it's not an issue that the act was what some deem to be 'recreational'. 


Another commenter thought the suppression order should have been lifted so that everyone in Australia could ridicule this woman by name:


"The thing that s***s me is the suppression, if we the tax payers have to compensate someone for smacking themselves in the face with a light fitting while screwing around on a work trip the we should bloody well know who it is."-  screaming banshee on RiotAct


Why, so you can target this woman by name? So people like you can subject her to ridicule because you think the decision was wrong?


Another one:


"She should be named and shamed. Someone with enough front to pursue a bullshit claim like this deserves it." 


Another commenter thinks that because sex is embarrassing it obviously the woman shouldn't  have applied for workers compensation.

"personally i’d be too embarrassed to say i was injured while having sex but takes all sorts i guess. who would she be having sex with on a work trip anyway??? must be a very different “agency” to mine
just more waste of tax payer $$……sigh sigh"


The 'takes all sorts' comment is, presumably, trying to imply the woman is strange or different because she applied for the compensation. 


The biggest question is if there would be so much outrage about the ruling if the woman had been watching TV, reading a book or eating her dinner when the injury occurred? I don't think there would be. But as soon as you mention sex people get up in arms. What right does she have to be having sex on a work trip they say? What kind of person does that they cry!


The thing is, these days were are trained by the media to both want sex and be shamed by it. Everything is sexy to sell products, but god forbid an actual, everyday person- who isn't a 20 year old- has sex! 


There is nothing wrong with sex. There is nothing wrong with a woman having sex. There is nothing wrong with a woman having sex on a work trip. She was outside of her work hours, at her motel, and not doing anything illegal. So why all the slut shaming? 


Because people feel the need to judge others for having sex, when really its none of their business. It's up to the court to determine if she is entitled to compensation, but it's nobody's place to determine if what she did was what they think is 'slutty'. There is no such thing in my opinion, as everyone's definition of a slut is different. 


So stop judging this woman and be more concerned about your own sex life than hers. Because your own sex life is the only one that you should have an opinion about.


I hope now this woman can recover from her injuries and from the public scrutiny. And I hope she continues to have as much sex as she likes.

7 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you. The fact it was during sex has nothing to do with the compensation claims.

    If it was a man (yes I'm going there) it wouldn't have been an issue.

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  2. My objection to the claim is that sex was not part of her job description and the employer has no control of the contrived work place. Why didn't the loose fitting reveal itself during a risk assessment? Because asking this question is just as stupid as having to do one. But risk assessments are part of everyday life in many workplaces... What if she had sex in the office? Maybe the claim would be more valid but still morally dubious. Others in the office may claim that they feel harrassed by being in this environment, in which case she may have contravened an HR policy and lost her job. Either way, be it man or woman I would find a way to get the employee off the pay roll because I feel its morally wrong to use the system for these claims over people who are seriously injured and will never return to work.

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  3. Excellent post. I was going to write something similar myself, but you've hit the nail right on the head.

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