One of the most eloquent and blunt commentaries about NZ’s #roastbusters and rape clubs has come from Erin Gloria Ryan on the site Jezebel.com :
But she missed the opportunity to understand why NZ police hadn’t been able to press charges, despite the clues being right there in her text:
Detective Inspector Bruce Scott put it this way: “None of the girls have been brave enough to make formal statements to us so we can take that to a prosecution stage…
The Facebook page the police claim they couldn’t have taken down because they needed it up for “tactical reasons“, by the way, was removed within hours of 3 News’ report. Identifiable victims have been contacted and encouraged to make statements, but so far, no one has been charged.”
“brave enough“: In New Zealand rape victims are required to be brave if they’re to bring their attacker to justice. If a woman ‘wimps out’ at the questioning stage she’ll never make it through the ordeal of a trial. The Kiwi vernacular advice to females in this situation would be to “harden up” “Kia Kaha” or “sniff concrete”. Offering victims empathetic support, guidance and a trained rape counsellor to help them get their story out? no way.
“contacted and encouraged“: Sounds like a text or a phone call that probably went like this “hey want to press charges? No?! well ok then, let me know if you change your mind ” Yeah, because every 15 year old totally wants to be the first girl in Small Town to rat on the neighbourhood studs; for her parents and whanau to know her most cringingly intimate details and her peer group to judge her for the rest of her life. Anonymity, discretion, a chat with someone who understands…in West Auckland? not on your life, never going to happen.
Erin Gloria Ryan should maybe do some research into the rape culture of New Zealand and the treatment women receive from police, the media and health services after they’ve made a complaint.
She could start here: Dr Kim McGregor’s (Executive Director of Rape Prevention Education) open letter to John Key. It was written after a teenage boy raped and beat a five year girl tourist at a Turangi campsite (click on the highlighted link to read the full text)
“…there are no witnesses to child sexual violence that happens every day in our country – usually behind closed doors within the child’s home or community.
Commonly the child is prevented from speaking of the crime for a variety of reasons including that the child is groomed to feel they are to blame, is threatened, or, the sex offender is someone close to the child or is a valued member of the child’s community.
If child-victims do ever speak about sexual violence, often it is not until they are adults. This is sometimes when they first look for counselling help…”
Finally, here is a comment that was left below Ryan’s post, we liked it (emphasis ours). For more about the Steubenville High School Rape Case click here
“living in a country that is like a big Steubenville”
Well, unfortunately, this does not surprise me. Many people think that attitudes towards sexual assault victims are backward in the US. But having spent a considerable part of my life in New Zealand and Australia, my opinion is that things could be much worse.
From what I saw, and I did volunteer work with troubled teens, many of whom had dealt with sexual assault, it is very common for victims to be shunned and shamed and blamed. Imagine living in a country that is like a big Steubenville, because that’s how it struck me. It does not surprise me one bit that the victims have not come forward. I hate to think what kind of bullying and pressure they would end up dealing with if they did.
Part of the problem is patriotism. Try to say that there’s a problem and many people don’t want to believe that there is one because that would mean admitting to being backward, which is the source of a major inferiority complex in that part of the world.
That said, there has clearly been some progress. It surprises me a lot that one guy in this situation actually lost his job. Sadly, that is shockingly good news
- Roast Busters and New Zealand is ‘Best Place to be a Woman’ ? (e2nz.org)
- Roast Busters, the story so far (e2nz.org)
- Thousands Protest Rape Culture In New Zealand, Saying It’s Become ‘A National Health Crisis’ (thinkprogress.org)
- NZ police investigate claims of online ‘rape club’ (abc.net.au)
- Top cop grilled over Roast Busters (nzherald.co.nz)
- Radio hosts accused of ‘victim blaming’ (stuff.co.nz)
- Roast Busters and Rape Culture (ahumanstory.wordpress.com)