Another reminder this morning that New Zealand isn’t a safe place, and that the victims’ support may depend largely on their gender.
An elderly man was seriously assaulted in Brighton Mall, Christchurch at 1:53am today. Locals say it’s not a safe place and are concerned about the lack of police in the area, they’re now demanding action:
“Residents and people who work in the area said Brighton Mall was not a safe place to be at night.
A store manager, who would not be named for fear of reprisal, said police needed to increase foot patrols in the area. “You see enough unsavoury people during the day time let alone coming back here in the dark,” he said. “When an incident like this happens … you see a police presence for a day or two and then it dies.” The man said police were often slow to respond to reports of trouble in the area, which was predominantly caused by youth.
Senior Sergeant Roy Appley said police wanted to hear from anyone who might have information about Wednesday’s assault.”
Rape Culture in NZ
Contrast that report to another one about a woman who was subjected to a sex attack in Kaikoura a few months ago. Note how it victim-blames and there is no condemnation of her attacker. This is a symptom of New Zealand’s infamous, but subtle, rape culture. There are no calls for an obviously unsafe area to be made safer (good street lighting may be a start) nor for police patrols to be increased.
A woman has been assaulted while walking to a friend’s house in Kaikoura, police say. The woman in her 20s was walking alone under the rail bridge near Davidson Terrace on Monday night about 6pm when she was attacked. She was able to continue on to her friend’s house and the alarm was raised.
Police have been making inquiries in the area and would like to speak to anyone who was walking in the Churchill St and Davidson Tce areas between 6pm and 7pm on Monday night.
Sergeant Matt Boyce, of Kaikoura, said the incident was a reminder for people to take precautions when out walking after dark.
“With the daylight hours getting shorter people may need to consider altering their walking routes to ensure they stay in well lit areas,” he said.
It would appear that when men get attacked in unsafe areas its the fault of the police for not patrolling, but when females get attacked in unsafe areas its their fault for being out after dark. This may be something to bear in mind if you’re a woman who is about to emigrate to New Zealand, or you’re taking your daughter to live there. Or if you simply believe that women have a right to be out alone at 6 the evening.
Update 16 July 2015
Police later said they think the street lights near the railway bridge in Kaikoura were deliberately put out of action a couple of days before the attack.
A rape had previously been reported in West End on New Years Day in 2011. There have also been numerous other attacks in the area, some of which were against women.
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Kaikoura’s crime rate is almost twice the national average (source: Kaikoura District Statistical Profile May 2013 by Family and Community Services, Ministry of Social Development)
We are also deeply concerned by the framing of this issue as perpetuated by the police, who have claimed that no victim has been “brave enough” to provide a statement. This is not an issue of a victim’s bravery but rather of the failure of these boys to respect consent and of the wider community and the legal system to provide a supportive environment for victims to speak out.
To talk about sexual violence and the responsibility of the victim in these terms is to directly contribute to the rape culture that we must challenge in order to stop such heinous acts occurring in the first place. Having been through the sexual education curriculum at Avondale College, we were not provided with information, education or opportunities for discussion concerning consent, especially in relation to alcohol and the processes to follow if you feel if you have been a victim of sexual assault. Contact details for specialist agencies that support victims, their friends and families were not provided. These are basic steps that the school can and should have taken to promote a safe environment. This could have included adopting a whole-school approach to sexual violence prevention including: staff training/professional development, school policies, respectful relationships curriculum, train the trainer, peer educator programmes and involving Rape Prevention Education. There is no reason for a student to feel isolated at school because they are concerned about these issues.
Because there is a lack of understanding and action taken by the school concerning these basic issues there is a perpetuation of rape culture amongst both the administration and the student body. This includes rape humour, flippant discussions of sexual violence, and victim-blaming and shaming, providing an incredibly unsafe environment for those who are survivors of sexual violence. This culture amongst the student body is institutionalized by the school administration to the point where a group such as “Roast Busters” has been able to exist since 2011, and students who perpetuate rape culture are put in positions of leadership and responsibility.
We understand that this isn’t an Avondale-specific problem, but rather is a systematic failure of New Zealand and wider modern society, however schools are the cornerstone for the social interactions of young people and we want to emphasize the culpability of the school administration who by their lack of action have allowed for such an appalling culture to exist.
There needs to be a frank and open discussion about these recent events and how they relate to wider cultural issues regarding sexual violence amongst students, staff and the wider community.
We would like to offer our support to those who have been affected by this and we hope with the community as a whole we can take steps to overturn institutionalized rape culture and begin the long and onerous journey of making school safe again. We request a response from the school administration on the ways it will engage with the wider school community about the issues we have raised and the actions it will take.”
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Kaikoura youths embarrass town again, and another ‘Once Were Warriors” upbringing – This article includes attacks on tourists among other things. There are also details of the attack on Kaikoura’s deputy Mayor Neil Pablecheque. Pablecheque was punched in the head and needed stitches after what was described as a racially motivated assault.
A student who assaulted two staff at Kaikoura High School on Wednesday has been referred to Youth Aid, police say. Kaikoura constable Julian Lewis said police have investigated the incident after allegations were made of a teenage boy assaulting staff at Kaikoura High School.
The Kaikoura Star understands a female teacher was assaulted and was absent the day after the incident but returned to work on Friday. A male staff member was also assaulted, it is believed. Kaikoura High School principal Werner van Aswegen said the incident was serious…