‘The PUA scene is no place for a nurse.’


dark computer laptop

The “appalling” details of a nurse’s misogynist posts on social media have been heard by a Tribunal which reprimanded him and suspended his registration for six months

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has heard the case of a nurse who, in 2017 and 2018, became part of a closed Facebook group of so-called “pickup artists” (PUA).

“He posted reports of his purported sexual activity with women and described in appalling detail how he claimed to have met them, manipulated them and then, allegedly, had repeated sex with them,” the Tribunal noted.

Whether or not the claims the nurse made on the site were true or not did not need to be determined at this time, it said, as the hearing concerned the posts themselves and their contents.

Some of the posts contained photographs of women.

Their faces could not be seen, though identifying features were often visible.

Some photographs depicted the nurse, who according to the Tribunal was “seeming to show off to his audience”.

The audience “was described in an expert report as participating in a culture of highly competitive men seeking to document and display their sexual successes to one another in a manner that can encourage unethical and harmful behaviour and treatment of women,” the Tribunal noted.

“Those men adopt manipulative strategies to convince, or more accurately, pressure women to have sex with them.

“Those ‘strategies’ include physically separating them from their friends, plying them with alcohol and overcoming their resistance to sexual activity.

“Some of the ‘leaders’ of the subculture are anti-feminist ‘men’s rights activists’ who have made statements that openly advocate for sexual assault, female subordination and the legalisation of rape. Those men are rightly described as misogynists.

“The PUA scene is no place for a nurse.

“For a nurse to have become involved in the group and publish material describing purported sexual activity, share images of those women and post inappropriate, offensive, sexually offensive and vilifying content on social media is disgraceful and risks the reputation of the profession.”

The Tribunal was particularly concerned by the posts which described attempts to overcome explicit non-consent of women to sexual activity.

In one post, the nurse described meeting a woman and how he and his “wing” [another PUA who offers moral support and advice, and may collaborate with the PUA to attempt to pick up women] persuaded her to go to his apartment, including by “bamboozling her mind”. He wrote that he massaged her and asked her to remove her shirt.

“She said OKAY but we are not having sex, I just ignored what she said as I knew it was just token LMR [last minute resistance], she has already crossed the point of no return,” the nurse wrote.

Another post detailed how he took a woman’s glasses and phone charger so that she had to go back to his house.

“HOW I STOLE A TEXAS BLONDE FROM 3 OF HER MALE HOUSEMATES WHO WANT TO SMASH HER, PULL TO MY PLACE & DESTROYED HER FOR 5 ROUNDS,” he wrote.

In another post, he described a woman as “definitely one of them power-hungry girls I absolutely adore disrespekting (sic)”.

University of New South Wales, Scientia Associate Professor Michael Salter, who provided an expert report for the Tribunal, described this and other even more offensive posts as “aligned entirely with PUA theory and culture”.

“Concerningly, the posts include multiple photos of targeted women,” A/Prof Salter told the hearing.

“These photos are all taken when the woman’s back is turned or where she appears asleep, raising questions about whether the woman consented to these images being made. They are posted to Facebook as evidence of the sexual events described in the ‘lay report’ and also apparently to advertise the availability of video content.”

He discussed one of the nurse’s posts as describing the author having applied “a range of strategies designed to overcome a woman’s explicit non-consent to sexual activity”.

“In this account, the poster describes the steps by which he encouraged a woman to leave a club, accompany him to a store close to his apartment, and then enter his apartment for the purpose of initiating sexual contact with her, despite her statements that she did not want to have sex with him.

“He pursues sexual activity with her despite her repeated statements of non-consent and her apparent subsequent regret.”

The nurse said that the posts “were an exaggerated or embellished description of his encounters with the women there referred to or depicted,” the Tribunal said.

When the nurse’s behaviour came to the attention of the Board, his registration was suspended, effective from May 2020.

After this he completed ethics training, a Men’s Behaviour Change Program and undertook psychological treatment.

Both the Board and the nurse agreed that the behaviour had constituted professional misconduct and agreed that he should be reprimanded and suspended for a further six months.

The Tribunal agreed, saying the additional six months of suspension were appropriate “when taken with the preceding 14 months, and signals to the profession and the community more broadly that conduct of that kind from a nurse would not be tolerated”.

It said it was “most concerned about described conduct we anticipated would instil fear in women” such as taking a woman’s glasses and phone charger, and in one instance cancelling an Uber she had booked to go home.

It said the posts were contrary to the Board’s Social Media Policy, and would also have been offensive and “contrary to the conduct of a fit and proper person” regardless of how they were published and whether this was to a small, private group, or the general public.

The Tribunal noted that if the nurse’s former patients “become aware of his conduct, they may well have concerns about how he regarded and treated them”.

“They may feel fearful he took photographs of them or wrote about them in circumstances where they were vulnerable and he was providing very personal, and often intimate, care.”

Pharmacists can contact the Pharmacists Support Service on 1300 244 910 for peer support  related to the demands of being a pharmacist in Australia.

Lifeline is available on 13 11 14.

Members can call PDL on 1300 854 838 for support from a Professional Officer.

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