Judith Collins: Society at tipping point over ‘rape culture’

Judith Collins was interviewed on NZ Q & A this morning, NZ herald reports: Society at tipping point over ‘rape culture’

Justice Minister Judith Collins says the treatment of sexual assault victims has reached a tipping point and there is a real move to stop blaming victims.

Her comments today come after thousands of protesters throughout the country yesterday marched to demand an end to “rape culture”.

Speaking on TVNZ’s Q+A programme, Ms Collins said the public was right to be disgusted by the behaviour of a group called the Roast Busters, who bragged online about having sex with drunk and underage teenage girls.

She agreed society had reached a tipping point about the way victims were treated.

“And I think there’s a real move to say that we should stop blaming victims.”

She said questions would always be asked about whether anything could be done to prevent the crime.

“The best place obviously is to prevent it, but it’s also about trying to take the blame off victims and encouraging them to come forward.

“And I think if more victims were able to come forward and to have their stories told and the offenders to be confronted with that, we might have fewer people who think it’s alright to do this sort of thing to someone else.”

Ms Collins said rape was nothing to do with what a victim wore or did.

“Having said that, unless we actually address those issues, and unless we actually stand up to that sort of abusive comment to victims, then we will continue to see those sorts of behaviours spoken about in that way.”

She said embarrassment was part of what stopped victims coming forward.

“It’s an incredibly humiliating thing for anyone to have to talk about, and it’s not as though it’s a crime where someone say breaks into your car and steals it.

“These people break in as such and what they do is they take something away from that person – they take their dignity and they essentially effect their soul. And this is a crime that lives with a victim every single day of their lives.”

Ms Collins is looking into proposals by the Law Commission that would increase protection for complainants in rape cases.

The changes include providing a support person for young complainants giving evidence in court, and giving complainants notice if their previous sexual history was going to be discussed in court.

“I would never ever suggest for a moment that whatever is proposed, in terms of our court processes, would ever take away the feeling of being re-victimised, for a victim who has to relive what has happened.

“But you can’t have a rape case occur if the victim can’t actually say what’s happened. It’s very difficult for anyone to defend themselves, and I don’t want to see miscarriages of justice on either side.”

Ms Collins was looking at restorative justice.

“What we know is that quite a lot of those people who do complain to police as victims of sexual assault are actually assaulted by people who are close to them – either partners, former partners, friends, family members.

“And sometimes they don’t want, those victims, to have to go to court. They also don’t want to necessarily see the accused end up in jail for up to 20 years, because rape is treated extremely seriously in this country.

“What thy do want is they want abuse to stop, they want the offender to confess to what they’ve done, to acknowledge the harm that they’ve caused and to help give back that person’s dignity.

“And I think it’s that loss of dignity which continues to live with the victim forever.”

Any change in court processes would go to Cabinet this year before being passed into law next year.

NZ Herald: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11158621

Q & A interview: Judith Collins on the Roast Busters case

Questioning the Standard wisdom on police management

Someone else commenting against the tide of support for Martin Bradbury’s right to free speech – Wayne at The Standard:

Is this really sensible for The Standard. It is one thing to criticise the Police, but another to essentially show and promote active hostility toward them.

Essentially the use of the poster here says the Police are just a bunch of criminals. Now of course everyone has free speech and some may be of that view.

But my point here is that The Standard generally sets itself up as reflecting the broad left, which presumably at some level supports the police, as opposed to seeing them as reactionary forces of a hostile anti-democratic state. That of course is more the space of The Bomber, fair enough, that is his view. But I would not have thought it was the space of The Standard.

I appreciate you are primarily standing up for The Bomber’s right of free speech, but in my view, you have done so in way that indicates you are actively hostile to the Police, not just in this specific instance, but generally.

‘Weka’ counters:

Not sure what you mean by active hostility there Wayne, but if you mean that people are really fucking angry at the NZ Police, then I can’t see the problem. If you listen to people’s experiences with the police, it’s understandable that so many of us are so angry.

There seem to be two things here. One is the standard responding to an issue of freedom of expression, which you seem to support in principle. The other is the content of Bomber’s poster. Are you suggesting that the police don’t have problems with rape within their organisation as evidenced by Schollum, Rickards etc and subsequent investigations into the police as an organisation, and that they don’t have problems with how to do their job properly when it comes to sexual assault cases?

The poster is very confrontational. It makes total sense that the police would be upset about this. But it also makes total sense that the poster accurately reflects both the situation in NZ and the mood of public opinion in the past week.

There is a very serious issue here for the police, beyond their handling of the rape club case. Many people don’t trust them, and we’re seeing an increase in loss of public confidence in the police. They need to get their shit together on this fast. Threatening Bomber is not the way to increase public confidence. What Lynn has done is make that very very visible.

I don’t agree with “it also makes total sense that the poster accurately reflects both the situation in NZ and the mood of public opinion in the past week“.

The author of The Standard, lprent, also responded:

The police are placed in a position of considerable trust by both the legislation and the public. They largely run as an organization on their own operational control and with minimal public oversight. Generally this has worked over the last century with various lapses mostly caused by the culture inside the police lagging the mainstream culture by decades.

The judiciary and the armed forces show the same characteristics and for much the same reasons. Both of them have been steadily updating themselves.

The police seem to have locked themselves inside a rather paranoid seige mentality, in my view largely as a result of the severe underfunding in the 80s and 90s. Quite simply they have been valuing cowboys of the type who like flashy things like operation 8. Their leaders don’t get promoted by doing their core jobs.

Consequently they are getting less public support because their judgment is less in line with the public that they are there to protect and serve.

And if people don’t tell them where they are screwing up in their perceptions of reality, then who is? They have already shown that they are not listening to the only oversight that they have aty the IPCA.

But I think it’s questionable whether the Bomber poster was a reasonable way to “tell them where they are screwing up in their perceptions of reality” – is a screwed up perception of reality the best way to do that?

Ennui:

Who amongst us would be a cop? Not me, front line with the social disaster that is NZ and responsible for every non prosecution, wrong prosecution, failed investigation, minor misdemeanor,,,,,,placed in positions where you eventually lose your rag. Everyone demanding perfection of you. Bugger that, who amongst you is “perfect”? I bet that Lprent, QoT, CV Mira, Weka et al have got their blotches, work with or associate with non performers, have their share of failures, to blames, fuck ups….to err is to be human. So for me to expect a cop individually or collectively to always respond appropriately…forget it. In this case they have completely stuffed up…whats new?

Maybe something good may come out of this: the cops may change their stance are take the issues at question more far seriously. Or maybe they will just get resentful of being caught between doing the hard yards across the board and being told by us they are the bad guys. As somebody who has been on the receiving end of their batons, and been rescued from harm by them I want them to be a fair reflection of us who we can trust. I don’t feel that way now.

So as we appear to have the Polices attention (or Bomber does)….the question becomes what message we send that is likely to hit home, make a change and get us a result? My suspicion is our haranguing the cops will only get us a millimeter or two for a few seconds. If we beat them severely might we just be teaching them a trick or two to use on us?

lprent again:

I have been writing about the management issues inside the police for most of the last 6 years here. It is mostly a management issue about accountability rather than posturing. At present they tend to promote badly.

They really need to upgrade their governance to the point that they start dealing with their mistakes and trying not make sure that they don’t repeat them all of the time.

But their system is modeled on a 19th century militia rather than something in the 21st century. It shows in horrendous and well publicized failures of process..

I agree with that. The police management has been poor. Last night the Police Commissioner appeared on Campbell Live and his performance was glib and appeared to me to  lack empathy and understanding of both the Roast Busters rape cases and the associated public sentiments.

Bradbury versus Police – against the tide

There’s been a big show of social media support for Martin Bradbury’s right to free speech after police asked him to take down a poster that was highly critical of the police.

Bradbury’s poster suggested that the police recruit people who want to rape with impunity.

See: BREAKING: Police threaten Daily Blog editor with 6months imprisonment & $5000 fine for parodying their Roast Buster Rape inaction

And The Standard in support (with the offending/offensive poster): Perhaps the NZ Police should do their frigging job properly!

I support free speech in general, and I have serious concerns about how the police have handled the Roast Busters cases, but I didn’t join the protest because I thought Bradbury’s poster was overly offensive and unfair on many Police.

Some in the police may not take the crime of rape seriously enough but I am fairly sure many do. It is a very difficult crime to deal with and I have faith that many police officers do their best with it.

Police management certainly deserve scrutiny over this, and the way the Roast Busters cases have been handled deserves scrutiny, but that doesn’t justify depicting all in the police force as protected rapists and enablers.

A stink Bomber won’t help.

So I’m protesting against the tide, I think the offensiveness of Bradbury’s post went too far and didn’t deserve to be supported.

Youth counsellor – self esteem versus respect

Youth counsellor Steve Taylor talked to Larry Williams on Newstalk ZB about sexual behaviour relating to the ‘Roast Busters’ case. KIA commented on it at Kiwiblog:

The link to Larry Williams’ Newstalk ZB interview with Steve Taylor (the West Auckland youth councilor) was a breath of fresh air and loaded with common sense wisdom.

The interview: Steve Taylor: Roast Busters behaviour

This is a crisis of parenting and a decline in what could loosely be called societal collective morals. Things that were less widespread are now commonplace. A case in point is pornography. 20 years ago it was rare for teenage boys to have access to porn movies that portrayed predatory group sex as ok – now it is easy to access all kinds of porn.

It also used to be rarer for teen girls to get blind drunk – whereas teen male heavy drinking was commonplace.

Yes, that was my experience when I was a partying teen.

A generation ago there was less concern about self esteem and more concern about boundaries. My mother used to say semi – jokingly that our home was not a democracy but a benign dictatorship! Too many modern parents of teens are afraid to lay down boundaries with consequences. All these trends erode norms and make it harder for parents to find an appropriate boundary and enforce it.

The antics of these young men are outside even the modern norm of casual teen sex. Its one thing to get drunk and shag a girl you meet at a party – that is commonplace. These boys have systematically targeted younger teen girls to find ways to have group sex with them and using alcohol and drugs where possible to assist in their goal. That is predatory behaviour that, was an under aged victim able to lay a sufficiently robust complaint that would stand up in court, could result in rape charges.

This case will have prompted many parents to ponder.

Roasting and rape culture

I’ve raised the issue of ‘rape culture’ at Kiwiblog a number of times and have been often subjected to nasty attacks and gross misrepresentation of what I have said. This is happening again today on the More on Roast Busters thread.

Some people react poorly when confronted on rape and abuse and violence.

Cameron Slater has been very quiet about the ‘roast busters’ – until now. He has just posted on Whale Oil about ‘The rape culture we created‘. Good on him. It will be interesting to see the comments there.

The rape culture we created

…I have been thinking about this over the past few days about why it is that young men (and older ones for that matter) seem to think they can treat women in such appalling ways.

We have developed and nurtured this rape culture in New Zealand through acceptance, through excuse making and through enablement. Even our suppression laws enable the predatory and violent ratbags.

What is outrageous too is the re-victimisation of victims of these ratbags. Followed closely behind by commentator that try to lump other commentators into the mix in order to score cheap political points. That is especially outrageous when some of those commentators have some pretty bad stuff in their background when it comes to the treatment of women themselves. They shouldn’t think that there won’t be an accounting for their smears.

So about now regular readers will be spitting and frothing wondering what I am on about. Well let me explain why it is not a surprise to me that the scumbags raping teenagers appear to be able to get away with it.

Let’s start with famous people who hide behind name suppression for their appalling attacks on women. I’m talking about politicians who beat their missus, senior office holders in political parties who kick in doors, All Blacks, League players, other prominent sports people, media and celebrities all treating women in the most appalling ways and essentially getting away with it.

Their actions are excused, mitigated and even accepted. Look at the way that one of the victims of Len Brown’s own sexual antics has been treated by media, while the poor behaviour and sexual power plays of the mayor have yet to be held to account by anyone in the media except myself.

These scumbag rapists in the “Roast Busters” didn’t learn their appalling treatment of women and girls from porn movies. They learned their behaviour from judges, politicians, sports people, police officers, and their parents. They have learned that there are no consequences for their actions. They have learned that psychopaths can get away with pretty much whatever they can do to people because they know that there will be no accounting for their actions.

They have learned as famous people commit awful crimes that you can get away with it. They have learned that media will attack the victims if they just lie low and let the storm wash through. They have learned from us.

We created, as a society, this problem, we shouldn’t be surprised with what has come out of the incubator given the ratshit ingredients that we put in.

As is usual with issues like this, like Maori bashing their kids, or other societal ills, there will two weeks of wailing and gnashing of teeth then nothing…until the next time.

What ever you do though, do not doubt that this behaviour has been around for a very long time…the only difference between now and then is there are people with cameras on their cellphones and easy and ready ways to disseminate their scumbag behaviour.

Quite literally we are now reaping what this liberal and tolerant society has sown.

Yes, abhorrent behaviour has been tolerated for too long.

But i’s a mixture of a more liberal and tolerant society plus a very long history of hiding and passively accepting what has been perpetrated by a minority of people (mostly men).

One way of addressing this is for once silent silent men to speak up and confront predatory and abusive behaviour and make it clear that most people think it is unacceptable and shouldn’t be tolerated.

If enough men speak up then the manky men will get the message, but it will take time to get the message to sink in to people with entrenched attitudes and excuses.

Willy and JT keep roasting themselves

Willy Jackson and John Tamihere have been getting a lot of criticism for an interview they did yesterday with a girl about ‘Roast Busters’. I listened to it last night, I didn’t think it was quite as horrific as some have claimed but it wasn’t flash – it demonstrates what is quite common male thinking, unfortunately..

@MattNippert
Wrong-headed Jackson/Tamihere interview with friend of Roastbusters victim yanked – comments slagging hosts remain:

http://www.radiolive.co.nz/Friend-of-an-alleged-Roast-Busters-victim-calls-Willie–JT/tabid/506/articleID/38783/Default.aspx

An open letter to the RadioLive hosts:

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.

Your continual use of media to promote sexist, anti-Maori women sentiments, and rape culture can only be a reflection of your own beliefs about women. There is no other reason for the flow of misogynistic diatribe that falls so easily from your mouths.

This is not the first time that you have both supported rapists or deeply offensive sexist behaviour. It is a consistent activity on your part. Dismissal of women, marginalisation of Maori women and the promotion of male supremacy is commonplace on your shows and in your commentary. This is not the first time we have called you out on that.

These girls and young women are peoples’ friends, daughters, sisters, cousins, grandaughters. Women raped by those men you support and promote are daughters, sisters, cousins, grandaughters. That is what you are promoting Willy and John. You are supporting and promoting a rape culture that lays blame at the feet of those women who should in society be free to have a drink, wear whatever they wish, go out with friends and feel safe to do so.

You need to think of all the women in your whanau and in your circles, John and Willie. You need to see the act of rape as an act of abuse, an act of power and an act that instills fear, and act that impacts on all women, on all wahine Maori including all those wahine within your own whanau. Perhaps then you would be less dismissive of their pain and less promoting of the violent acts being perpetuated everyday on our wahine.

There were some pertinent questions you could have asked yesterday to instead call our rape culture, our systemic enforcement of it and our everyday sexism to account. We never expected this of you both because that takes real journalism.

Both of you alongside Radio Live AT THE LEAST owe a formal and unconditional apology to all who have experienced sexual abuse and rape. You owe an apology to their families. You owe an apology to any human who has been disgusted by your remarks yesterday and your attitude towards ‘Amy’ and all like her.

Yesterday we put out a public call to Radio Live for Marama Davidson to talk on your show but not to debate the validity of your attitude. There is no argument there. You are simply wrong and likely to have caused further harm to any person triggered by your ignorance. We would have appreciated the chance to be a voice to unpick that harm and call you to account and most importanly, to stand in support of ‘Amy’ and all like her. We are still waiting for your invite……..

We hope you have the sense to reflect on your actions. We hope you and Radio Live at th least offer a formal apology.

Na matou
Te Wharepora Hou Maori Women’s Group
Dr Leonie Pihama and Marama Davidson

http://tewhareporahou.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/open-letter-to-john-and-willie/

But their ignorance continues:

Toby Manhire ‏@toby_etc

Willie Jackson apologises, incl on behalf of Radio Live, for “any offence caused to Amy”, but says he’s no idea how ppl could be upset.

John Tamihere: “the questions put were prudent and worthy of putting”. He’s “flummoxed” by people who amplify details of “phraseology”.

@JodiIhaka

Jesus Christ Jackson and JT apologise immediately!!!!

Doesn’t sound like this sideshow is anywhere near over yet.

‏@RadioLIVENZ is trying to promote it as an apology.

AUDIO: Willie & JT apologise for handling of ‘Roast Busters’ caller “Amy”

http://www.radiolive.co.nz/Friend-of-an-alleged-Roast-Busters-victim-calls-Willie–JT/tabid/506/articleID/38783/Default.aspx

Interesting support:

@CactusKate2

Great to read lots of Maori women out there on Twitter climbing into Willie and JT. Silent too long.

And some Maori men.

From Stuff – Radio hosts apologise over interview

The RadioLive hosts said that if “some” of the girls had consented, “that doesn’t make [the Roast Busters] rapists, does it?”

They suggested that women who consented to sex may now “line up” to say they were raped as well.

On today’s show, Jackson said that they “absolutely don’t condone the actions of the Roast Busters” and were simply trying to discuss complex issues.

“We have no problems apologising to Amy for causing offence. Not a problem at all. We thought were sensitive yesterday, maybe we could have done a better job.

“We’ve got the utmost respect for Amy for speaking out about her experience, it was an incredibly brave interview.”

They could have done a much better job, but only if they understood what they were talking about, and as far as rape goes they clearly don’t. Unfortunately their attitude is not uncommon.

Busted and justifiably roasted

About the ‘Roast busters’:

1. Gang bangs don’t appeal to me at all but if all participants are genuinely consenting it’s up to them.

2. Deliberately drugging people for any reason is bad, to have sex with them in a situation where informed consent is very unlikely it is sleazy and disgraceful.

3. Publicising this sleaziness, especially when naming victims, is despicable.

4. This has happened in a culture where the perpetrators not only thought it was ok, they thought it was acceptable enough (to some at least) to brag about it.

5. These little twerps are a disgrace to decent malehood.

6. Busted and publicly roasted – hoist by their own petard.

7. I don’t agree with vigilante action, law and justice must prevail.

8. Clear and widespread public disapproval is one of the best ways of confronting and reducing this type of despicable behavior.