The driver's side of a Wicked camper van.
The driver's side of a Wicked camper van. Megan Kinninment

Byron council "powerless" against Wicked campers

UPDATE 12.30PM: BYRON council has admitted it is powerless to act and prevent Wicked vehicles with derogatory slogans visiting the town.

After Byron grandfather Paul McCarthy painted over slogan he thought was demeaning on a Wicked vehicle in the town last month, he was determined to get councillors to discuss the issue at this Thursday's council meeting.

But the issue isn't on the agenda, council's regulatory services manager Wayne Bertram told the ABC, as council is powerless to act.

Mr Bertram said it wasn't the first time the Wicked slogans have been raised with the council.

"It would be the NSW Police, it is an offence under the Summary Offences Act," he said.

"Council will be working with the police and we'll be writing to the business owner to again inform him to reduce the offensive language on those vans.

"Council does get a little bit frustrated about some people's attitudes towards what they think is acceptable behaviour.

"However council will try and work with everyone to resolve the matters.

"Some people have also actually taken the matter into their own hands to tidy up some of the vans themselves."

 

TUESDAY 7AM: SLOGANS on vehicles owned by Wicked Campers are not only demeaning to women and children, they also are denigrating to men.

The clinical lead sexual assault counsellor at the Richmond Sexual Assault Service, Sharon Brodie, said negative language was a form of domestic violence.

"When we talk about domestic violence or violence in general we are looking at not only the physical but also the psychological and emotional abuse, and the impact of emotional and psychological violence is just as powerful as physical violence," she said.

"So negative messages can really impact on the way people see themselves.

"When language like whore or sl*t is being used that is very degrading to women and children.

"Women and girls are being told their either a sl*t or a princess.

"A 12-year-old girl may already have a damaged sense of themselves if they have experienced trauma in the past and a message like that is going to reinforce that they aren't worth anything.

"It reinforces that they are powerless and it objectifies women turning them into an object to be abused."

Ms Brodie said while the company might not think the slogans are misogynistic, it did not consider the damage the language could do to all people.

"I'm sure the people that are doing this don't consider themselves as being misogynistic, I just think they don't think how they are going to impact people," she said.

"Personally when I'm driving along in my car with my children, or my grandchildren, I don't want to have to explain to my five-year-old grandson what sl*t means or why its isn't okay to used that language."

The slogans are not just demeaning to women, Ms Brodie said.

"I think to suggest that all a man needs is a good f**k and he will feel better undermines men just as much as it undermines women because men are more complex than that," she said.

"Using that derogatory, sexualised sort of language towards men and women, how does that help their business?"

Not just teenage girls can be psychologically impacted by crass language.

"It gives teenage men the ammunition to see women negatively," Ms Brodie said.



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