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Jaya Taki is the NRL's latest 'scorned woman', and it's time we listened

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Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned/Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned

William Congreve's 1697 poem 'The Mourning Bride' included the above couplet, and it's endured as a popular way to describe women seeking revenge on unfaithful, cruel or heartless lovers. This week's "scorned woman" is Jaya Taki, the young woman who exposed NRL player Tim Simona for his drug use, fraudulent use of charity funds and gambling addiction.

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Jaya Taki: 'I'm angry at myself'

The ex-girlfriend of deregistered NRL player Tim Simona opens up about how she felt pressured by the footballer to have an abortion.

Simona has admitted to using cocaine and setting up a Sportsbet account in his former girlfriend's name to bet on matches, some involving his team, Wests Tigers. He has been handed an indefinite suspension from the NRL and was deregistered late last week. 

In an interview with Channel Nine News on Sunday night, Taki revealed that the former player also forced her to have an abortion after she became pregnant while the two were still seeing each other. 

"He said to me, if you have this child you will ruin my life... It'll haunt me having a child running around," Taki told Nine News. "What really got me is that I had an abortion on the Friday and on the Saturday he was out clubbing. I said, I sacrificed my child for you and you are out partying."

Taki claimed Simona tried to hit on her friend that same night, which must have felt like a slap in the face after she complied with his demand that she end her pregnancy, that Simona told her having a baby would ruin his career, and that in the days following her positive pregnancy result he refused to talk to her unless it was to confirm dates for the termination to be performed. Simona has separately confirmed that he told Taki she should terminate the pregnancy and that "I wouldn't be there to support them."

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"In the end," Taki said, "I gave in to him. I was so sick and so tired. He won."

Predictably, Taki has been characterised by some fans as little more than a 'bimbo' and an extorter. Her moral defence isn't exactly helped by the fact she tried to wrangle $10,000 (or a "boob job") out of him to buy her silence, but one could also argue that this is a reflection of the limited bargaining power most women involved in football code scandals actually have.

To even the casual observer, it seems pretty clear that women in footy culture are treated as disposable by many of the players and their managing bodies and certainly a large bulk of the fans. Already, there are a number of supporters eager to focus most of hatred on Taki. Sadly, a number of these people appear to be other women. A popular refrain appearing on comment threads (which are admittedly the toilet bowl of the internet) is that nobody can be "forced" to have an abortion. 

Even without considering the power imbalance held between highly paid football players and the women drawn into their orbit (many of whom will be envied and maligned in equal measure), it is absolutely false to assert that no one can be forced into having an abortion. Reproductive coercion is a frequent feature of relationships in which intimate partner violence is present, and this can either manifest in the sabotage of contraception methods to force pregnancy onto a person experiencing that violence or to push them into ending a pregnancy they may want.

It is not uncommon for violence to manifest or worsen when pregnancy occurs. In fact, women face an increased risk of intimate partner violence during pregnancy. Or consider that another way - pregnancy commonly coincides with the the first instance of violence in an intimate relationship.

So it's absolutely possible that Taki could have been forced by Simona to have an abortion. What does sound clear is that the pair shared what Taki described as a "toxic relationship". In text messages published by the Daily Telegraph, Simona can be shown calling Taki a "dickhead" and to "f--- up c---".

She now wants stronger penalties for men who harm women while contracted to teams in the NRL. 

She says, "So if you so much as threaten a woman, put your hands on her, you sexually assault her, you force her into an abortion, you emotionally blackmail her, you're gone." She wants the NRL to prove that it takes domestic violence seriously, which is quite frankly overdue from a sporting body that's now proved it's prepared to hand down indefinite bans for drug use and gambling.

Let's not forget that it was only this month that Eels player Kenny Edwards was given a paltry seven match ban and a $60,000 fine after he admitted to using violence against his ex-partner late last year.

Whatever your thoughts on Taki, repeated evidence seems to indicate that the NRL and its subsidiary team bodies take a far less vigilant stance on tackling the violent behaviour of some of their players towards women than they do drugs and gambling.

Taki may gain some supporters for coming forward as she did, but it's far more likely that she'll be subjected to further abuse (and will certainly be targeted more than Simona, despite him being the one who violated NRL regulations).

She has already said she's received death threats. And perhaps her actions were prompted by a desire for revenge. Maybe she is a scorned woman. But with few options available to the women chewed up and spat out by the shining football code machine and the men who are more often than not coddled and protected by it, I say good on her.

If the NRL and its players won't change to reflect the pro-woman values they all claim to share, those women might just have to start making them.

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