No-one asks to be raped

07/11/2013

My laptop was stolen at an airport.

I’d put it down with my suitcase to pay for parking, paid, picked up the case but not the computer.

I realised my mistake minutes later, ran back but the computer was gone.

Thanks to some very good police work it was recovered a few weeks later.

Was I careless?

Yes.

Did I ask for the computer to be stolen?

No.

Did my carelessness make it any less a theft?

No.

Had it been an honest man who found the computer, he’d have called me back, phoned the number inside the case or handed it in to someone in the airport.

He wouldn’t have taken it, found a way round the password, loaded his contacts onto it and used it until the police caught up with him.

My inattention provided an opportunity for the crime but it’s one an honest person wouldn’t have taken.

So it is with rape.

Some discussion on the Roast Busters has turned to what the victims were wearing and that they were drinking .

There’s been suggestions this somehow excuses the behaviour of the young men who plied them with alcohol, raped them and boasted of their exploits on Facebook.

It doesn’t.

There is no excuse for rape.

Regardless of what the young women might have been wearing and doing, and whether or not they should have been where they were and drinking, they were not asking to be raped.

Asking to be raped is an oxymoron.

Rape is unconsensual sex and someone who is comatose cannot give consent.

Among those who seem ready to excuse the perpetrators and blame the victims are Radio Live hosts John Tamihere and WIllie Jackson.

I didn’t hear the programme but have heard enough of the reaction to it to be disgusted by what they said, the apology for an apology and apparent inability to understand why they “caused offence”.

The best response to it comes in an open lettter from Dr Leonie Pihama and Marama Davidson of the Te Wharepora Hou Maori Women’s Group:

Tena korua John and Willie

Yesterday we were sent the link to your radio programme of your discussion with ‘Amy’. Listening to your programme is a rare event in both of our whare. Why? Because the views you espouse are on the whole conservative, often ignorant and nearly always sexist. So we are not surprised with the misogynistic undertones of how you spoke to ‘Amy’.

What is saddening is the fact that you seem to have absolutely no awareness or experience of the impact of rape on the lives of it’s victims and survivors.

What is disturbing is that you show no empathy for the pain and ongoing distress caused by sexual violence on entire whanau.

What is alarming is that with all the involvement you have in providing programmes within urban Maori communities that you remain ignorant of the destruction caused by rape culture.

What is disconcerting is that you have no sense of understanding for how difficult it is to talk to others about being raped, about sexual violence, about family violence let alone what it means to be 14, 15 or 16 years old.

What is disgusting is that you seem to revel in the deep-seated ignorance on these issues.

Rape, whether it be of a woman abducted, or of a mother catching a bus home after work, or of a young woman out for drinks with her friends, or of any woman in her own home by someone she knows – is rape.

Rape, John and Willie, is rape.

Rape, John, is not about “how free and easy are you kids out there these days”.

Rape, Willie, is not about how you are too young to have a drink out with friends.

Rape has nothing to do with if they are good looking. ‘Good looking’ men rape too Willie.

Rape – John and Willie – is rape. . .

More questions over police handling of the issue were raised yesterday when they released a statement saying a complaint against the group had been made two years ago:

Police investigating allegations involving the “Roast Busters” group can confirm a complaint was received in December 2011. An investigation was launched and the complaint was thoroughly investigated.

Whilst this was a distressing situation for the girl and her family, Police determined that there was not sufficient evidence to bring a prosecution.

Out of respect for the victim and her family Police are unable to discuss the specific details of this particular situation any further, however the victim’s complaint is still part of the continuing investigation and should new supporting evidence come to light as part of the ongoing enquiry , the decision in this case not to prosecute will be reviewed.

Police discussed this matter again with the victim’s family this morning and re-stated their absolute commitment to doing their best by their daughter.

Inappropriate and offensive comments that are alleged to have been made to the victim in this case by Police are under investigation.

I can understand that finding enough evidence to make an arrest would be difficult.
But I can’t understand why police were unable to have the website shut down and to warn people about the abhorrent activity of the group far, far sooner.

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