Sarah Lewis enters race for International Ski Federation presidency

TOKYO, April 6 (Xinhua) — Sarah Lewis, secretary general of the International Ski Federation (FIS) for 20 years until last October, announced her candidacy for president of FIS, the world’s largest winter sports governing body.

The official candidacy nomination has been submitted to FIS by the Royal Belgian Ski Federation, of which she is a member, it was announced in a statement.

The candidacy could ultimately make her the fifth and first female president in the 97-year history of FIS, founded in 1924 and whose disciplines now represent over half of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games program.

Lewis, 56, who represented Britain at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Canada, had been a favorite to become the president after working as FIS secretary general for 20 years before being abruptly removed from the position without convincing explanation from FIS last October.

“I have devoted myself to our sport as an Olympian, to FIS and our community, and to the Olympic Movement as a participant, manager and a leader.

“I am now making this journey for one reason – to work together to build a FIS that is fully representative of the global ski and snow sport community, and fully equipped to take us well into the second centennial of FIS, with a crystal clear plan, transparency and accountability. Together I believe we can achieve much more.”

The FIS, whose current president Gian-Franco Kasper stands down after 23 years, will see its first contested and virtual election in its history, on June 4.

Lewis will face competitions from three other candidates, Swiss Ski Association president Urs Lehmann, Swedish Olympic Committee president Mats Arjes and Sweden’s Johan Eliasch, the chairman and chief executive of sportswear company Head. Eliasch has been nominated for the presidency by GB Snowsport, Britain’s ski governing body.

Lewis, who has been living in Switzerland for over 20 years, said: “We are entering a new era for FIS and global sport – an era that requires FIS to tackle its role in a changed, more inclusive and demanding society, and an era that FIS must embrace for growth, a healthy future for our sport, with our athletes at the centre.

“We have been presented with a unique opportunity – to elect a 21st century president, whose full focus is to work hand-in-hand with the National Associations and stakeholders, leading FIS on a strategic transformation from a stable governing body to become a global movement for world skiing and snowboarding.”

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Royal Society of NSW fellows back scientist calls for pardon

A group of 66 Royal Society of New South Wales fellows has added new weight to calls by scientists to pardon convicted serial baby killer Kathleen Folbigg.

Folbigg is serving a 30-year jail term for killing her four children, who were aged between 19 days and 18 months when they died in separate incidents between February 1989 and March 1999.

The fellows, led by society president Ian Sloan, have written to NSW Governor Margaret Beazley and Attorney-General Mark Speakman in support of a petition presented last month by Australian Academy of Science fellows and scientists, arguing there are medical and scientific explanations for the death of each child.

The push to free Folbigg comes after a peer-reviewed paper by an international team of 27 scientists last year found the wrong conclusions had been made about genetic evidence in the case.

Professor Sloan, a mathematician, said he hoped the petition would add strength to the case to pardon Folbigg.

“It’s a statement from me, as president, and 65 other fellows of the Royal Society who feel there has not been enough attention paid to the science in this matter,” Professor Sloan said on Monday.

“The science has been evolving and there is now rather compelling evidence in the view of the signatories that the combination of genetic abnormalities and medical conditions can explain the death of the four children.

“The science as you view it now is very, very persuasive that she should not have been imprisoned and should now be pardoned.

“We really urge the law to take a backward step, look at the evidence and pardon Kathleen Folbigg.”

The letter hails the new research as “significant” in supporting natural causes for the infants’ deaths.

The research found two of Ms Folbigg’s daughters both carried a previously undiscovered variant in a gene likely to cause sudden unexpected death.

The researchers also said Ms Folbigg’s two sons carried a rare genetic defect known to cause fatal epilepsy in mice.

Folbigg’s convictions, based largely on her diary entries, have been upheld through numerous legal challenges.

An inquiry into her case in 2019 again affirmed the guilty verdict.

That decision was upheld by the NSW Court of Appeal last month.

Folbigg was convicted in 2003 of murdering her babies Patrick, Sarah and Laura and of the manslaughter of her 19-day-old son Caleb in four separate incidents over a decade, starting in 1989.

She is due to be freed from jail in 2028.

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Taree: Couple’s home swept away in floodwaters on Manning River

Devastating footage shows a couple’s home being swept away in floods near Taree.

The home was filmed being dragged in flood waters on the Manning River near the mid north coast town.

A video shared by local woman Ciara Knox from Taree showed the house being swept down the river. “Heartbreaking,” she wrote sharing the shocking footage.

A GoFundMe has been set up to support the couple, Josh and Sarah, who lived in the home. It has already raised more than $26,000.

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In a cruel twist, the couple were engaged and due to be married on Saturday, according to the GoFundMe.

“On 20th March our brother Joshua and his fiance Sarah lost their entire home and belongings to the flood waters in Mondrook, NSW, on the mid north coast.

“What was supposed to be their wedding day ended up with their house floating down river and them losing everything they have work hard for and sadly losing their pets as well.

“We are trying to raise money to help them start again, anything would be much appreciated.”

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Stealthing could become illegal in Australia

“The lights were off, but I knew straight away there was no condom,” Mel tells me.

Mel is one of a growing number of women who’ve been victims of a so-called sex trend known as “stealthing” – an act involving removing a condom during sex without a partner’s consent or, often, their knowledge.

It’s a practice that affects both men and women, though women are disproportionately targets of it. One in three women and one in five men who have sex with men report being stealthed during sex, according to a 2018 study by Melbourne Sexual Health Centre.

The term is thought to have originated in the darker corners of the internet, on online forums and niche blogs.

And while it’s now immortalised on Urban Dictionary and is frequently referred to as a “trend”, stealthing is, in its essence, sexual assault. It doesn’t just put a sexual partner at risk of STIs and unwanted pregnancy – it blatantly violates their consent.

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Proponents like the male caller who confessed to stealthing most of his sexual partners on a 2017 episode of Triple J’s Hack, argue they do it because it “feels better”, but the emphasis on going unprotected without a partner’s knowledge suggests stealthing is really about control.

“I would never have agreed to have sex with him without a condom. He took my choice away from me. He didn’t care about my future, he didn’t care about my health, and he didn’t care about respecting me,” says Sarah, another woman I spoke to whose Tinder date removed a condom without asking.

When I conducted an informal call-out on Instagram for women who’d experienced stealthing, I was inundated with stories just like this.

Another woman, Christine, told me her experience left her blaming herself for months afterwards.

“He had ejaculated and then I knew it was off, as I could feel it. I pushed him off me and said, ‘Where’s the condom?!’ and he responded, ‘Why are you being so uptight?’ I don’t think I really processed what had happened to me for quite some time, as I felt it was my fault.”

The covert nature of the act means victims have historically remained quiet about it, and it’s been largely ignored in the collective discussion on consent. But shows like HBO’s I May Destroy You, which explore the grey areas of sexual assault, have helped push it into public discourse.

In one episode of the series, which follows Arabella, we see a man non-consensually remove a condom while the two have sex. When Arabella discovers the missing condom afterwards, a scenario familiar to many women ensues – he quickly gaslights her and claims she was a willing participant.

However, in spite of greater awareness of the practice, stealthing isn’t recognised as a distinct offence in the legal system. It isn’t prohibited in Australia – though it can classify as a breach of consent under state laws, which, if proven, may mean it carries a penalty involving jail time. And knowingly transmitting an STD is an offence in itself.

Unfortunately, current legislation around sexual consent provides large loopholes for perpetrators, including the bizarre stipulation a person isn’t guilty of rape if they hold an honest belief the other person consented, even if that belief isn’t reasonable.

The onus on female victims to consistently clarify the meaning behind their actions, and distinct lack of responsibility on men to establish consent, makes sexual assault a legal minefield in which the vast majority of perpetrators dodge prosecution. As it stands, just 6.5 per cent of sexual assault cases result in a conviction for the original offence charged in Australia, as well as across the US, Canada, England, Wales and Scotland.

Though there is a push for change, particularly in terms of creating greater clarity around what constitutes consent. A proposed bill in California is currently seeking to recognise stealthing as a crime punishable by law.

If passed, AB 453 would amend the definition of sexual battery to include a person “who causes contact between a penis, from which a condom has been removed, and the intimate part of another who did not verbally consent to the condom being removed”.

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This is really significant, because it fills in some of the gaps missing from the way we talk about sexual assault – crucially, it underlines the need for verbal consent and shifts responsibility back onto the male participant, something Mel says could have made a real difference in her situation.

“As time has passed since that night, I’ve found myself feeling more and more angry that this happens to women like me, and that our legal system allows men feel entitled to do whatever they want with our bodies. We need better education and laws about what consent means.”

Less ambiguity around what consent looks like, and legislation that acknowledges the fact a lack of physical or verbal resistance isn’t a green light for sex, would also help pave the way for a justice system that actually delivers justice for survivors of sexual assault.

More so, if passed, California’s proposed anti-stealthing bill could act as an example for the rest of the world on how to better tackle the nuances of the sexual contract and make it so stories like Mel’s needn’t have to keep being told.

Follow Nadia Bokody on Instagram and YouTube for more sex, relationship and mental health tips

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