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.

2 responses to “Safe Beaches Meetings”

  1. Debra Conomy says:

    Richard Burford is it not strange that prior to Safe Beaches forming, police had stated there were for years no reports from Tyagarah?
    Then all of a sudden we Byron Naturists requested people ‘Snap and Report, any lewd inappropriate behaviour to police’ – and then people joined us in reporting incidents to rid the beach of those ‘Creeps’ as you call them.
    Now I’d like to ask why did the Grays Lane Residents plainly sit by and let this inappropriate behaviour continue for many years, never reporting incidents to police but now come forward with all the stories of lewd behaviour as being current?
    The incident involving a pregnant woman on the beach was described at a Council Meeting nearly 12 months ago, the 78 year old woman we’d heard about 18 months ago.
    Strange though that in a February Northern Star article Grays Lane Residents take credit for cleaning up the beach of Lewd Behaviour. Yuti was actually congratulated on FB … congratulated for what? Our Work.
    We’d already requested your Grays Lane Residents group join us to clean up our beach, you’d refused.
    I’d suggest now just get off our case and let us continue unhindered in continuing to clean up our beach. You didn’t want to help? Then stop calling it your beach.
    Byron Naturist Group

  2. Brendan GNA says:

    I have recently been made aware of a debate happening in the naturist world. In particular a naturist beach called Tyagarah in the Byron Bay Shire and the legalities regarding it’s clothing optional status. There have been a growing number of complaints from the beach community that the number of perverts present has increased of late and people now feel uncomfortable going there. This has led to a number of people (some of them naturists) lobbying to close the beach and a number of people defending it’s clothing optional status.

    As we all know, there are a number of pathetic individuals that exploit naturism to fill their sexual fantasies, who objectify women and think that if they are naked on the beach they must “want it”. It’s bullshit and a huge problem in the naturism culture that my previous blogs, and plenty of others have pointed out. There is no easy solution, and something we are still working on. Even if we have the perfect answer on how to deal with this, it would take years even decades to clean up the culture. However, one thing that I know will NOT be an effective method of cleaning up naturism and dealing with the perverts is to ban naturist beaches or remove the clothing optional status.

    The GNA crew is based in Sydney, but we do have a few friends in Northern NSW and South East Queensland who have provided insights on the happenings of this beach. They agree with what has been said. It can be an uncomfortable place because of its lurking inhabitants. No one is disagreeing there. This happens too at Cobblers Beach, one of Australia’s most popular and busy naturist beaches. But I fail to see how banning naturism is the solution. I have never been to this beach, but my words seem to have been brought into the argument from my previous blog post “Cleaning Up Naturism”. Some of the lobbyists whom are aiming to remove the clothing optional status used my words in their favour as they believed this article provides a “females perspective” of the naturists community. Two problems with this. One, I wrote that article, and I’m a male. Secondly, I never said that a solution to the creeper problem was to remove it’s clothing optional status. My take on this matter despite not having been there is that removing it’s naturist status is only punishing the good people in the community and is a NO WIN situation.

    Where does the problem solving come in? It seems to be a trend not just in the naturist world but in general in NSW. If something goes wrong, ban it. That’s too much work, lets just ban it, that’ll solve the problem. It doesn’t solve the problem, it removes the problem, and by removing the problem you are effectively only punishing the people who do the right thing and who use the beach for it’s primary purpose; to experience naturism. How about we try a different approach… How about we raise awareness about the true naturist culture that exists in Europe and try and bring that to Australia? How about we have more social events held by the local communities where people can go in groups to provide safety in numbers? How about we work with the local law enforcement about what to do with the beach lurkers? Take photo’s of the grubs? Name and shame! Lets problem solve instead of taking the easy option and banning it.

    We are at a really pivotal point when it comes to Australian Naturism. A cultural shift is happening. Look at the number of younger generations getting involved. It’s become a social media trend! One of my major philosophies with the Get Naked Australia Movement is that Naturism shouldn’t be limited to naturist beaches and venues. Being naked in nature is normal and natural and young people are starting to embrace that and post body positive, self esteem lifting expressions of freedom on their social media via photo’s of them naked in nature. This is a start! People are loving the experience and whilst social media has it’s many downfalls, pages like GNA have encouraged a whole new generation of people to try skinny dipping and spending time outdoors in the buff. The next step (if they want to take their passion further) is to begin being social with naturism. We’ve seen it happen at the Sydney Naturist Beaches. There has been a vast increase in the number of Gen Y’s and Millenials getting involved in the practice. Taking away the venues in which these people can practice naturism is a huge backward step in cleaning up naturism. Queensland, the state with the second biggest coastline and the people who probably have the best “suns out buns out” culture in the country already have limited venues in which they can practice naturism. Tyagarah provides that being just south of the border and by taking this away you’re limiting and restricting the fastest growing naturist growth potential in the country.

    I do hope this blog has a positive impact in supporting those who are lobbying to keep the beach clothing optional. The community now knows where myself and the rest of the GNA crew stand. I think it’s also safe to say that the 250,000 followers we have on social media would also predominantly agree with our point of view.

    At the end of the day, there’s a simple take home message. Banning naturism is not the way to promote naturism.

    BRENDAN (Male)

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