That’s why after such a painful, heartbreaking week of news about Gabby and Sabina, a judge’s ruling in Sydney felt like a major, devastating step back.
A former student of Sydney’s Knox Grammar, Nicholas Drummond, went before the court after he punched a woman. The victim in question was described by the Judge as wearing a dress which “might have been perceived by a former student of Knox to be provocative.”
Per the proceedings, when Drummond verbally insulted the woman in relation to her outfit, she approached him and asked for an apology. Drummond told her to, "f**k off".
The woman later approached Drummond again and photographed him. Drummond was subsequently ejected from the bar he was in. He then punched a man before he was once again confronted by the woman. He punched her in the face and knocked her to the ground.
In court, Drummond said: “I was brought up better and I know better... I know violence isn’t the answer especially not towards women.”
His barrister also cited Drummond had a “very difficult” 2020, which included the death of a family dog and a relationship breakdown.
Ultimately, the court deemed that Drummond be placed on a good behaviour bond—literally nothing else.
Yep, a women was wearing a “provocative outfit” which led to an assault from a male.
The man’s potential subsequent convictions were then deemed “not necessary”.
Read that again and let it sink in.
To add fuel to this fire, high school education consent activist Chanel Contos posted a picture of what she said the woman was wearing on the night she was attacked. See it below.
“This is who Nicholas Drummond punched in the face and knocked to the ground,” she claimed in text over the picture.
“This is what she was wearing the night when the judge concluded that Nicolas made a “lewd and completely inappropriate remark towards someone he didn’t know but whose dress might have been perceived by a former student of Knox to be provocative.”
It’s terrifying to think that this woman’s outfit (which is a hell of a lot more modest than what plenty of other women—including myself sometimes!—rightfully wear when they head out with their friends) could be considered a factor behind an assault.
We, as women are already on high alert. We carry our pepper spray. We cross the road if we’re alone and we see another man walking towards us.
Now, apparently we have to think twice before wearing what we can only describe as a smart-casual outfit on a night out too. What on earth is happening?
One thing is clear here—there’s still some serious work to be done.
In a show of support, women’s health startup Ovira parked a billboard outside Knox Grammar this week. It reads: “You Will Not Silence Our Pain”.
The startup’s founder Alice Williams elaborated on the Nicholas Drummond ruling, calling it “disappointing, but unfortunately not surprising.”
“It’s just one example of how alarmingly comfortable our society is with pain and suffering being an expected part of life for women,” she added.
The woman who was punched has also anonymously given a statement, saying: "All the writers and campaigners who have shown an overwhelming amount of support, it made me feel that some sort of justice has been served as it was evident I wasn't alone.”
"Everyone is just shocked and disappointed by [the outcome of the case].”
Sadly, the ruling remains the same, and we, as women move forward with yet another thing to be hyper-aware of.
Dress less provocatively, carry keys, walk on the other side of the street to men if you’re alone and for the love of god don’t leave your house after dark.
Yes, our reality is truly as ridiculous as it sounds.