by Jan Logie
If you need proof that there is something seriously wrong with how rape is talked about and prosecuted, look no further than the revelations about the Roastbusters rape club on TV last night and radio this morning.
While the police talked girls getting drunk and taken advantaged of it took a National radio reporter this morning to ask directly what possible charges could be laid before the word rape was used.
The phrase getting drunk and taking advantage is a euphemism and one that has been in common usage in a way that undermines the seriousness of rape.
I also see in the TV3 report the police commenting that “None of the girls have been brave enough to make formal statements to us so we can take that to a prosecution stage”. Detective Inspector Bruce Scott went on to say “clearly they are traumatised by what’s happened.”
I’m sad that this is being presented as an issue of the girls’ bravery.
I’m angry that it took media intervention for this facebook page to be taken down. I’m angry that we have a justice system that requires girls to be brave to make a complaint.
I am also angry that over the weekend I was told of a case where the police would not charge because the victim had a mental illness and they couldn’t make that work in court. I was also told that this is also common in cases of sexual violence against people with learning disabilities.
Judith Collins’ refusal to progress the Law Commission recommendations on alternative pre-trial and trial processes means many victims of abuse will continue to be either traumatised by the police and court process or not lay charges at all. This means only 1 in 100 victims get justice.
I want a justice system for victims of sexual violence that serves people regardless of their level of bravery or vulnerability.