NEWS

The Billboard Outside Knox Represents More Than Women’s Pain

Change needs to happen now.
Loading the player...

The below content discusses assault. For confidential information, counselling and support call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

Former Knox Grammar student Nicholas Drummond, almost 21, pleaded guilty to assaulting a woman and a bystander outside a Sydney pub. He was kept on a 14-month good behaviour bond but had his convictions erased earlier this month.  

Following the ruling, a stark billboard was parked right outside his elite alma mater, with the glaring words: “You will not silence our pain.”

WATCH: Girlfriend meets with protestors at the March 4 Justice in Sydney

After hearing about the court’s decision, female-founded women’s health brand Ovira took to the streets, navigating a mobile billboard around Sydney, parking in front of Downing Centre Local & District court, as well as Knox Grammar School.

The intention was to spark a conversation about women’s pain.

“The fact that the young man had his convictions erased is 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,” Ovira founder Alice Williams said in a statement.

knox-grammar-school-billboard
After hearing about the court’s decision with regards to the Nicholas Drummond case, female-founded women’s health brand Ovira parked a Billboard in front of the assaulter’s old high school, Knox Grammar. (Credit: Ovira)

“It’s reflected in the horrific numbers of violence against women and filters all the way through to so many parts of our daily lives (like period pain, endometriosis, painful sex) – where women’s pain is repeatedly dismissed. As women, we are used to being told to ‘just deal with it’ when it comes to our pain. And we’ve had enough.”

Alice went on to say Ovira stands in solidarity with the young woman who was assaulted and wants to “amplify her voice,” while also empowering the thousands of other women suffering in silence.

“1 in 3 Australian women have experienced physical violence. Ovira recognises women’s needs have been historically ignored, underfunded and under-researched by society. They are determined to change this.”

knox-grammar-school-billboard
The intention was to spark a conversation about women’s pain. (Credit: Ovira)

When Nicholas Drummond saw who would later be his female victim at Greengate Hotel in Killara, the NSW district court was told he called her a “slut” and told her to put her “tits away”.

Later that night, they ran into each other at another pub where she photographed Nicholas. A scuffle ensued and Nicholas was ejected from the pub where he punched a man and then, later, the woman.

Nicholas pleaded guilty to assault, telling the court “I was brought up better and I know better… I know violence isn’t the answer especially not towards women”.

Judge Robert Sutherland ruled that Nicholas’ offending was an aberration – his actions were out of character – acknowledging that he made an “inappropriate remark” towards a stranger “but whose dress might have been perceived by a former student of Knox to be provocative”.

Overall, the judge decided that the convictions were not “necessary” given the circumstances.

knox-grammar-school-billboard
Despite the lack of conviction, the female victim in question has said that the “overwhelming” public support has made her feel as though “some sort of justice has been served”. (Credit: Ovira)

Despite the lack of conviction, the female victim in question has said that the “overwhelming” public support has made her feel as though “some sort of justice has been served”, according to The Guardian.

Teach Us Consent founder Chanel Contos has been very vocal about the case on her Instagram, explaining that “privilege and entitlement” are the reason that “gender-based violence occurs” and “why no accountability is held”.

“Could we expect the same result if that was a 20-year-old from a low socio-economic status who didn’t have Nicholas’ barrister?” Chanel asked her followers.

We think we all know the answer to that. While the intention of Ovira’s billboard was to spark a conversation about women’s pain, it strikes an equal conversation about how privilege manifests in society.

knox-grammar-school-billboard
Would a billboard of this nature need to be parked outside a school in a lower socio-economic area? Or would the punishment fit the crime? (Credit: Ovira)

Would a billboard of this nature need to be parked outside a school in a lower socio-economic area? Or would the punishment fit the crime?

Derogatory comments towards women are perhaps not exclusive to those who grew up in privilege, but they do stem from having grown up in a patriarchal and often entitled culture that normalises the policing of women’s bodies to what is deemed “appropriate”, particularly for the male gaze.

And assaulting a woman and being then able to afford a particular barrister, plead it was out of character, and get let off the hook, is a direct result of privilege.

Related stories