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Safe Beaches Meetings

Richard Burford, Tyagarah
I am a Tyagarah resident. For several months, I’ve been attending the Byron Bay Safe Beaches Meetings, in regard to the isolated stretch of Tyagarah beach from Grays Lane to Sunrise.
For a short time after the police crackdown it seemed the beach might be becoming safer. That was certainly our hope. However, incidents continue unabated from Tyagarah through to Sunrise even though it is winter, low season.
A small selection of verifiable incidents follow.
#  Couple go into water in clothes optional area. Younger male approaches them and stands on the beach masturbating.
#  A 78 year old woman leaves the beach for the carpark. She is followed by a naked male who lays on his back at the entrance and masturbates.
#  A woman feels intimidated and afraid by naked males in the carpark. She rings the Police and is told they are too busy to attend.
#  Male in the carpark masturbating in the front seat of his car in middle of the day.
Women tell us it doesn’t matter if they are 8 or 80, if they are pregnant, or have small children at their feet.
Why is this behaviour so common? Why does it go on?
Well, according to Naturists themselves it has been typical, wherever they gather, for quite some time. Website, Get Naked Australia (GNA) in a recent article, Cleaning up Australian Naturism, reveals
…..’the naturism, naked in nature, nudist culture or whatever the hell you wanna call it has been stolen. It’s been stolen by the lonely horny men, the truely creepy perverts and the swingers’ (GNA)
It is accepted and normalised behaviour among many naturists.
 …..’leaders defend actions of the clearly creepy people. “Oh don’t mind old mate John, he occasionally messages females inappropriately and will occasionally whack off behind them when they’re sunbaking at the beach, but once you get to know him he’s a really nice guy.’ (GNA)
Sexual pests and predators are an endemic problem for the nudist culture in Australia.
Our Police and Council simply don’t have the resources to properly manage that problem. Council cobbled together 3000 dollars for some signs. Police say they cannot patrol the beach all the time.
There are many reasons why statistics of incidents are deficient to real figures. The fact is, it takes a minimum of 25 minutes for available police resources to respond to a call from this isolated beach. By then, culprits have slipped away and complaints are difficult to prove.
Mostly, victims have given up reporting in exasperation at the futility of doing so and stay away.
Women who attempt to photograph their perpetrators have been chased, stalked and threatened. We believe  suggesting that beach goers themselves regulate the misconduct in this isolated place, is fraught and dangerous.
This has never been about nudity. It’s laughable to hear that concerned residents, having spent their lives living in the Northern Rivers Region, are prudish about nudity.
This issue is about shared values of community behaviour. They include respect for women and the inalienable right to be free from sexual harassment on all our beaches.

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