Dorset Campbell-Ross, Tyagarah
We Tyagarah residents want to remove the clothing optional status from our beach for safety.
We want safety from sexual predators, especially for women and children.
Many of us enjoy swimming naked, but are prepared to forgo this pleasure in order to be safe.
At present the women and children in our community are afraid to go on their own to our local Tyagarah beach. It has been this way for almost 20 years. We thought that it would be a simple matter to request this change from our council, and were surprised to discover resistance from a naturist/nudist lobby, who want to keep the beach open and extend it.
The strategy adopted to meet needs for safety and maintain a nudist lifestyle was to increase signage and police patrols.
There has been a six-month trial period. Although there has been some improvement, the problem remains. The clothing-optional beach is still dominated by single men looking for sex, mostly from Queensland, who have no compunction in displaying their arousal to women and/or children. They know they are safe from the law because if reported it is their word against the victim’s, so most victims do not bother reporting. They also know it takes 25 mins for the police to get there. Plenty of time to skidaddle.
I noticed that two naturists/nudists have regularly attended the meetings of the Safe Beach Committee (SBC). They have been passionately vocal in presenting their case there, arranged media coverage, and appeared on local TV and in the press since 2017.
When asked why was it so important to them to maintain or expand the clothing-optional beach, they replied that it was their lifestyle that they were protecting.
They said the fact that they both owned or had financial interest in accommodation that was rented to nudists, and that happen to be closed at this time (the ‘off’ season), had nothing to do with their interest in maintaining or expanding the clothing-optional beach.
They say it’s nothing to do with safety versus money. Their motivation is the freedom of choice to have the lifestyle they enjoy. They are saying that the conflict is safety versus freedom of choice to follow the nudist lifestyle.
A nudist lifestyle can be practised in the privacy of your own home and garden. Women and children do not need to suffer for this to happen.
In the long term, if we don’t do anything, how will local businesses be affected when Byron Bay gets a national reputation for hosting sexual predators? How long does it take to turn that around? Let’s remember that it takes much less time to lose trust than it does to build it back up again.
Let’s just suppose it really is a question of safety versus money. How can we find a win-win outcome?
By moving the clothing-optional beach to a place which is safe – where there are lots of people, and the police are close by – like they are on European nude beaches. Move it to Main Beach, Byron Bay.