Make a Difference

Matthew Johns And Treating Women With Respect

A woman invites a group of footballers back to her room.  According to Matthew Johns “She encouraged the players to come forward, she actually says ‘Someone come forward and have sex with me.’ One player said he would, she said ‘No, no, anyone but you,’ and pointed to me, at which point I declined.”

During an interview on the ABC’s Four Corners, the woman said she had felt under pressure, and that the experience left her feeling degraded and suicidal.

But workmate Tanya Boyd has told Channel Nine tonight that the woman openly boasted about the incident with fellow employees. “I was disgusted that a woman can all of a sudden change her story from having a great time to turning it into a terrible crime,” she said.

Matthew Johns’ career is ruined, and an embarrassing moment of weakness and stupidity is public knowlegde. Johns has apologised to the woman. A rape counsellor says his apology is not good enough.

I am not sure he should have apologised at all. He had sex with the woman at her invitation.

She then invited other players to have sex with her. For them to do so was stupid, and unfair to their wives and girlfriends.

In as far as the word has any meaning any more, what they did was immoral.

So was what she did.

I am not surprised that after a few days and some reflection the woman felt ashamed of what she had done, and regretted her decision. But it was as much her decision as it was that of the footballers who accepted her invitation.

It is hard to have any respect either for her or for the footballers. But I would have a great deal more if she had accepted that even if she now regretted her choice to act the way she did,  it was nonetheless her choice.

The woman was an adult. Part of being an adult is taking responsibility for your own decisions. Matthew Johns seems to have done that. She does not.

It is not respectful of women to treat them as children who are incapable of making reasoned choices, who have to be mollycoddled, and others blamed, when they make choices they later regret.


  1. Dave

    Matthew Johns loses his job because seven years ago he had sex with a woman who wanted to have sex with him.
    How is that right?

  2. Joanne

    That’s not the point. The point is there were lots of them, bigger and older than her, and they treated her like an object. If it was a once off people wouldn’t be making such a fuss, but there is a pattern of this kind of disrespect for womern in Australian sports.

  3. Dave

    She invited them. Was she respecting them by treating them like trophies?

  4. Lena

    I can’t see how they disrespected her – just the reverse. They respected her ability to say yes and to amke decisions about the kinds of sexual activity she wanted to beinvolved in,a nd when she said no ‘One player said he would, she said ‘No, no, anyone but you’ they respected that as well.
    No one who was there has any right to be proud of themselves, but it wasn’t abusive. People who say women cannot be held accountalbe for the choices they make are not doing women any favours.

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