Aspects of #metoo include blanket suspicion and #manydon’t

The #MeToo movement has highlighted a dirty secret – that many women have been sexually abused, assault, raped. There is no doubt that many women have been adversely affected, and that some men are too pushy, some are cretins, some are predators. It has been a huge problem.

So this has been a big problem for far too many women.

It has also been a huge problem for some men who have also been victims of sexual assault. You just need to see how widespread and insidious sexual predation has been within the Catholic priesthood – and how the Catholic Church has effectively protected them, have aided and abetted them.

It is also a problem that ‘men’ as a whole are attacked and bear the blame for the actions of some men. I think that statistics on this struggle to demonstrate the real numbers. There are many female victims, but I think that cases that are reported show that some men have attacked multiple victims, sometimes many. This suggests to me that the proportion of men who are to blame may be significantly less then the proportion of females who have been victims.

There are still a large number of men who have been perpetrators, ranging from ignorant males who coerce and pressure, to hard out predators.

But many men are not like this. Many men respect women and don’t assault women. Most men.

So it’s good to see a thread like this on Twitter, beginning with:

And then he said “maybe isn’t yes” and I went home that night, un-assaulted, because I hadn’t talked to a rapist at that party.

Another story: I went out drinking with girl friends at a bar a few years later. I was flirting with a guy there, he grabbed my hand, pulled me outside, into an alley, he kissed me hard and then looked at me and said, “yes?” I didn’t say anything.

He said “go back inside then,” maybe he was annoyed but he meant it, I went back inside. There wasn’t a rapist at that bar.

One time a guy and I had flirted, he invited me to his room, I went we kissed, I said I liked it, he took off his clothes, I touched him, he tried to take off my clothes, I resisted, he said “seems like you’re not into this” I said, ehhh, he said, no, it’s only fun if you want it.

I said, I’m sorry, he said it’s ok. I left, unmolested. I was lucky, I hadn’t met a rapist that night.

I’ve been assaulted. I’ve also been not assaulted. The difference didn’t seem to be what I was wearing, how flirty I was, how much I was drinking. The only difference seemed to be whether or not the men felt it was ok or not to assault.

An important difference.

It’s important to understand how assaults and breaches of trust can affect women (and male victims). @SweetGeeking:

All of us women at some point become aware of our sexuality, and how vulnerable it makes us.

‘All of us women’ sounds like a generalisation, I would expect that women have a variety experiences and feelings about their sexuality. But this one woman’s valid story.

In that moment, we receive an invisible backpack that we have to tend for the rest of our lives. For some like myself, we learn that lesson in a violent way, long before we should ever even know what sex is. Others receive their backpack later in life, but we rarely escape puberty without it.

Our invisible backpacks vary in size and weight, usually in relation to the circumstances under which we received it. But it goes everywhere with us. It’s something we carry and tend to.

We carry our keys b/n our fingers when walking to our cars at night.

We don’t go jogging after dark, and even in the daytime we vary our routes in case someone is looking for a pattern.

We instinctively park under lights when we know we will come back to our car after dark. We do thousands of tiny things, all the time, without even thinking about it, because we don’t have any other choice.

We know that not all men are threats, but we also know damn fucking well that there’s no way to tell who is and who isn’t.

@SweetGeeking seems to assume that all women have similar feelings and fears, which is unlikely to be correct, but it’s likely that many do thinks and feel similarly as a result of having been assaulted.

And it is understandable that due to the actions of some men they become suspicious of all men.

My successful, church-going, computer programming, well-dressed, father of his own 2 daughters stepdad used my body for years, starting when I was very young. No one ever would have guessed. You can never tell.

I had the same roommate for 4 years. I know he’d never hurt me, but I still locked my door at night bc my stepdad would come into my bedroom at night, and decades later I still can’t sleep.

I know many men in my life have been shocked to learn how much this reality permeates every corner of our lives. Turn that shock into respect for how strong and badass we are. Please don’t pity me/us. Respect us & give us a seat at the table. And sit down and listen for a bit.

Generalisations aside this doesn’t shock me. It does shock me that some men abuse girls and women, and that that forces these fears and suspicions on them through no fault of their own. Sexual abuse is shocking, and the affects of this on victims can be profound and long lasting.

It is good to hear some different stories and experiences.

@jenstrange:

1st date w/ a guy: we had a daytime coffee meet-up & then I invited him to my house to play Mario Kart. We started kissing and I hesitated; he asked why, I said I was conflicted about moving too fast. He said, “then we’ll stop.” And we played more Mario. Reader, I married him.

I already felt really strongly about him but the fact that he didn’t act offended, didn’t try to pressure me, didn’t argue with me one bit, just said it’s ok and turned back to the game controllers . . . that’s how I knew he was as good as I thought he was.

Just as girls and women who are assaulted should not be blamed for what they wear or where they go and what they drink, all men should not be blamed for the offences of some men.

But it is inescapable that women who have been abused of men become suspicious of all men, until they get to know men in their lives well enough that they can trust them.

Men who respect women (or men), men who don’t abuse trust and abuse victims, they are generally not to blame for men who do assault and rape. But they can’t avoid being suspected of being possible attackers by victims of past assaults.

What men who don’t can do is make it clear that they are as shocked by men who do assault as most women are. Men who don’t can speak up and show that most men don’t, and that men who do are a minority who should be shown that predatory behaviour is unacceptable and wrong.

We shouldn’t stay silent and say it is not our problem, because it becomes our problem and is our problem if our girlfriends and our sisters and our partners and our daughters have been adversely affected by forced sexual behaviour by some men.

 

Arrest in relation to alleged sexual assault at Labour camp

A week after Andrew Kirton announces he is leaving his job with Labour.

Police are believed to have arrested the man at the centre of the Labour Party summer youth camp sexual assault allegations.

Newsroom understands the man, who Labour said at the time was not a party member, was arrested and charged yesterday and will appear in a court in Auckland in the next week.

One victim told Newsroom last night: “To know that four months after the assaults occurred, that some action is finally being taken is fantastic. It feels like there’s some closure. After months of backtracks, lack of support and media coverage, its all coming to a head.”

Kirton resigned last Friday to take a government relations role at Air New Zealand but is expected to be in office when the Berryman report is received. His actions over the camp allegations were widely criticised but he was praised highly by the party president at the time and when his resignation was announced.

I expect suppression will apply to the victims at least, and probably initially to the person arrested. So no naming here please – this will be strictly enforced,

Labour sexual assault review – terms of reference

Labour has released the terms of reference for the review into the sexual assault issues at the Young Labour summer camp. It will take 2-3 months, and all Labour Party members will be contacted.


Maria Berryman Review: Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference for the Berryman review have been finalised.

  1. Ms. Berryman will inquire and report on:
    1. all Labour Party policies and procedures in relation to Young Labour events, that existed as of February 2018, having regard to all relevant legislation;
    2. whether such policies and procedures were applied correctly in respect of the February 2018 Young Labour summer camp;
    3. whether the policies and procedures, when correctly applied, adequately support the Labour Party’s objective of providing a safe environment for members and participants;
    4. all Labour Party policies and procedures in relation to the planning and management of events and the handling of complaints, having regard to all relevant legislation;
    5. whether such policies and procedures were applied correctly in respect of the February 2018 allegations;
    6. whether the policies and procedures, when correctly applied, reflect best practice.
  2. The Reviewer will not investigate or make findings about the specific allegations of sexual assault, except to the extent of how the policies and processes were applied in relation to the events prior to, and after, the alleged assaults.
  3. The Reviewer will make any recommendations for change that she thinks appropriate.
  4. In addition, because the possibility of at least one other incident of a similar nature has been raised in the media, the Reviewer will also be available to, and will establish processes to:
    1. receive any other concerns of issues that any person may wish to raise in relation to previous events (either relating to Young Labour or the Labour Party more generally); and
    2. take such steps as she considers appropriate in relation to those other issues, having regard to the wishes of those who raise them with her. Those steps may include recommendations to the Labour Party Council.

“Ms Berryman is commencing immediately with the initial focus of her investigation on the Young Labour camp in February. The review is expected to take between two and three months,” said Nigel Haworth, Labour Party President.

“A statement will be issued when the review has been completed, outlining any recommendations as well as the steps the Labour Party will be taking to implement them.

“All members of the Party will be contacted in relation to the review.

“Historical cases may be brought to Ms Berryman’s attention by sending details of the case to: labourreview@kensingtonswan.com

“This address will be confidential to Ms Berryman and will be available on our website at www.labour.org.nz.

“The Labour Party will fully cooperate with Ms Berryman’s requirements in the completion of her review.

“Labour will not be commenting further while this investigation is underway,” said Haworth.

20 year old should front up

One 20 year old man has caused substantial damage after alleged sexual assaults at a party during a Young Labour summer camp last month.

I think he should front up and identify himself, to remove suspicion from anyone else (particularly the other young males who attended the camp). As he is facing a police investigation and possible charges he shouldn’t have to admit anything, but he should out himself.

Jacinda Ardern accepts that something serious occurred:

“The environment was not a safe one and that’s something we have to fix.

“It shouldn’t have happened, we should absolutely have made sure those people were looked after and that hasn’t happened.”

From a statement from Labour General Secretary Andrew Kirton indicates no party denial that something serious happened:

“We are extremely disappointed that an incident like this happened at a Labour event and we are working to make sure those involved receive any support they need. We are deeply sorry for the distress that’s been caused. It shouldn’t have happened.

“The morning after an evening in which we understand several young people had consumed alcohol, Young Labour was alerted to complaints in relation to the behaviour of a 20-year-old man.

“I have subsequently banned the perpetrator from any future Labour Party events.”

The actions of the 20 year old have caused problems for many.

Obviously the claimed four victims will be have been affected, at least one (reported to be male) to the extent that they prompted Labour (Megan Woods) to do something about it, and they have now complained to the police, who are investigating.

Others impacted by their actions or by association:

  • Young Labour, who have had all events suspended by the Labour Party.
  • The camp organiser (who went to bed early, before the alleged offences occurred).
  • The Labour Party, in particular secretary Andrew Kirton who has admitted not responding to the allegations adequately, and also president Nigel Haworth who was involved in the inadequate action.
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who, if as claimed she only found out when blind sided at a media conference on Monday, has been seriously embarrassed by the offending at the camp (which she had attended) and by the poor handling of the aftermath.
  • Cabinet Minister Megan Woods who initiated action when approached by someone on Facebook – she should be credited for acting immediately, but has been criticised for not informing Ardern.
  • New Labour MP Liz Craig, who was at the camp but was asleep when the alleged offences occurred (however she was present when alcohol was being consumed).
  • The 50 or so attendees at the camp.

Those who attended the camp other than the alleged victims will also have been impacted. I’m sure they have had to explain their involvement in the camp, and the partying, and if under age the alcohol consumption (and possibly drugs).

NZ Herald:

Kirton told the Herald that Labour had not sought the consent of minors to supply them alcohol because it had not been expected that they would be drinking alcohol.

Under the law it is unlawful to supply anyone aged under 18 with alcohol without the consent of a parent or guardian.

Kirton said such consent was not sought “because the intention was no one under 18 would participate in that.”

According to witnesses who spoke to Newsroom, there was a large array of alcohol available at the Saturday night party including rum, vodka, cider and a large array of RTDs. The witness saw many people drinking, including a 15-year-old.

This will affect any Labour events in the future.

But the biggest and immediate issue is the alleged sexual assaults.

Any of the males who attended the camp will be under suspicion. Most won’t be 20 years old, but they shouldn’t have to wear signs around their necks saying “Yes I was at the camp but no I am not 20!”

Andrew Kirton:

Kirton says the 20-year-old alleged to have groped the four teenagers at the event was “deeply embarrassed” when confronted about it the next day.

“He was spoken to the morning after and my understanding is he was deeply embarrassed and they got him out straight away.

“My understanding from the conversation relayed back to me was that he recognised he had drunk too much and that he was embarrassed by what happened.”

Recognising that he had drunk too much is not the issue. The allegations of multiple sexual groping are the problem here, and alcohol consumption is no excuse for that. Most people who drink alcohol don’t act as alleged he did. There is only one alleged offender.

That person should identify themselves so that no one else involved is under suspicion.

This shouldn’t impact on the victims, who won’t be identified any more than they are now.

The 20 year old, if he did offend, has a legal right to not admit anything, but he could save the victims a lot ongoing attention and grief by fronting up and accepting responsibility and admitting what he did. This would mean the victims would not have to go through the investigation processes and possibly court processes.

The 20 year old has caused many problems and has done a lot of damage, to the victims if the allegations are true, to Young Labour and to Labour.

He could mitigate some of that damage by fronting up. This would also mitigate the end result of any legal repercussions.

If he remains silent and anonymous the damage will continue – in particular for the victims and for innocent males who also attended the camp.

 

Labour laxness, and parents’ right to know about sexual assault

Criticism of Labour’s lax handling of the summer camp sexual assaults continues.

ODT Editorial: Missteps on harassment allegations

Allegations have been made four Young Labour supporters were sexually assaulted at the camp last month. Two males and two females, all 16, were allegedly assaulted or harassed by a 20-year-old man during a party at the Waihi camp.

The man was reportedly intoxicated and put his hand down the pants of at least three of the four young people. The affected teenagers did not get much support until the day before the story was due to break on the Newsroom website. The support came three weeks after the camp.

The things which did not happen include Labour Party general secretary Andrew Kirton not telling the parents of the young people, not notifying the police of the allegations and not informing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who was apparently caught unawares by the allegations when questioned by the media.

One of the reasons put forward by Mr Kirton for not telling anyone about the incidents was he wanted a victim-led process, defying the logic of having 16-year-olds allegedly sexually harassed or interfered with.

There have been suggestions Ms Ardern is going to investigate the matter; not a wise decision if true. A prime ministerial investigation could step across any investigation to be instigated by the police.

Ardern may have had sufficient time to rethink that proposal.

There are huge implications for Labour in this. Strong women MPs have, over the years, stood together on issues such as gender equality and sexual connotations.

Labour has made serious mistakes in the handling of this complicated issue. The young people are again being made victims because of the ineptness by party officials.

Whether parents will again trust Young Labour at a future camp is a moot point. The party’s obligation was to the young people and their families. The police should have been involved at the earliest opportunity.

Dominion Post editorial: Labour should have fronted on sexual misconduct

Sorry, Labour, but the age of innocence is over. It’s well and truly buried. There are no longer any excuses.

Woman after woman after woman – and the odd man too – has stepped forward to declare that time’s up on sexual harassment, on assault, on staying quiet.

Ignorance is not bliss. Was it ever?

So it’s quite extraordinary that a political party that has appeared to embrace the social-media surge and momentum behind the #metoo movement and the rise of young, ambitious women; that has euphorically smashed a few of its own glass ceilings in storming the citadels of power; and which offers such wonderful inspiration to wide-eyed youngsters considering their own political and business careers, should have chosen to maintain a small, closed circle around sexual assault.

​Extraordinary, and possibly just a little convenient. There is an argument to be made that Labour’s hierarchy was focused solely on the wishes of four 16-year-olds allegedly sexually assaulted at one of the party’s events when it largely kept the issue ‘in-house’. That is certainly its stance.

There is another argument that the hierarchy’s considered, “victim-led” approach carried an element of political calibration. We’ll leave readers to draw their own conclusions on that.

Political considerations cannot be separated from Labour’s inept handling of the assaults.

Sadly, the reaction echoes the darker machinations of other previously austere bodies when faced with such issues: the transgressions have been kept behind closed doors and the transgressor has simply been moved on.

Labour has handled this poorly, at practically every step. The party’s general secretary, Andrew Kirton, wasn’t informed until four days later. He made another, possibly politically motivated, decision not to tell his boss, Jacinda Ardern.

Why? It’s a simple enough question. Did he think such things below her station? Did he believe that not telling her would give her some protection against any possible media prying in future? Did he simply believe that it was contained?

Again, it’s hard not to see a political method to the madness.

Ex-ACT MP Heather Roy has a say on Young Labour Summer Camp and Parents’ Right to Know

There has been much discussion today about what should have happened when a drunken 20 year old allegedly sexually assaulted three 16 year olds at a Labour Party summer Youth Camp. The handling of the affair by Labour party officials was clumsy at best, bungling and harmful at worst. Everyone agrees that the inappropriate events should have been dealt with swiftly.

Parents, who had presumably consented to their 16 year olds going off to Labour summer camp, had the right to believe their children were going to a safe environment. Yes things sometimes happen, but when they do the expectation is that they are dealt with adequately.

The decision to not tell parents what had happened (so they could assist their children if traumatized) is either amazingly naïve or, more likely, it was intended to prevent the media storm and disdain now being launched at Labour for a significant lack of judgement.

Some have said that it is ‘best practice’ not to tell parents or police, but I think that many, if not most, parents would disagree.

The matter should have been dealt with by the system – the police – not ineptly handled by the Labour Party, acting as police, judge and jury, to avoid public and political embarrassment. There is a presumed perpetrator who should be held to account or vindicated if not guilty.

So the Prime Minister didn’t know, wasn’t told and was surprised when door stopped by media. That’s a failing by her party. More importantly, they have let down young people who don’t deserve to be let down.

And Labour are still flailing and failing on this. They haven’t fronted up adequately – including Prime Minister Ardern.

And this isn’t the first time Andrew Kirton has tried to paper over a major embarrassment for Labour, in a situation where coincidentally Ardern also separated herself from any knowledge. This involved young people again, the mis-managed, ill-fated intern issue before last year’s election with a disingenuous conclusion.

More on Labour camp allegations

Following Allegation of sexual misconduct at Young Labour camp – more on this story is likely to emerge today.

The biggest issues seem to be why the police weren’t involved, why alcohol was supplied to under age people, and why didn’t Jacinda Ardern know anything about it until yesterday (her claim) while the Labour Party general secretary had known about it for a month.

RNZ round up from yesterday: PM investigating reports of sexual assault at Labour event

Tim Murphy has just been interviewed by RNZ – and he says that a senior Labour Cabinet Minister knew about it – but apparently not Ardern.

There also seems to have been concerned reactions from some parents, who only found out about the incidents when the news broke yesterday.

Ardern has no problem with Kirton not telling her. She waffles about this, around disclosure in preparation for media questions.

She says that Kirton acknowledges that it took too long to deal with the issue.

She fudges around the Cabinet Minister knowing but not informing her.

She acknowledges the party was at fault for being slow to deal with it. There was a three week lag between the camp and measures being taken to deal with it.

“Let me give you the reason why. The party president did know, we made s…Andrew Kirton made sure that he was aware, the senior vice president and the general secretary, this was a party function so the senior members of the party knew. The advice they had from those who specialise in this area, and we are not experts, was to be mindful of the wider circle who was aware in order to make sure they were protecting victims and acting in the best interest of victims.”

She is saying that senior members of the party knew, at least one senior Cabinet Minister knew, but she knew nothing.

Ardern sounds like she knows more about how this all played out, she rephrased her responses a number of times, and switched from ‘we’ to them.

Ardern is clear that the 20 year old who assaulted four 16 year olds was not a party member, but she says she doesn’t know details about their identity.

Ferguson: let’s just talk a little bit about this particular twenty year old, who is the twenty year old, is he a Labour Party staffer?

Ardern: No. No.

Ferguson: Is he a Labour party member?

Ardern: No. No.

Ferguson: Why was he at the summer camp?

Ardern: Good question. Very good question.

Ferguson: So you don’t know why this person was at the summer camp if he was not a member of the Labour Party?

Ardern: I believe he was associated with someone who was, but again I don’t know much beyond that.

I expect there will be more of this story to come out.

 

 

 

 

Matt Lauer apologises after sexual assault allegations

Matt Lauer, yet another high profile American, has apologised following sexual assault allegations against him – NBC News fires Matt Lauer after sexual misconduct review

Matt Lauer, a familiar face in morning news as the anchor of “Today” for two decades, was fired by NBC News on Wednesday after a female colleague made a detailed complaint accusing him of inappropriate sexual behavior during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The accusation also noted that the alleged behavior continued in the workplace after the games, NBC News confirmed.

Later on Wednesday, The New York Times reported that two more women had made complaints about Lauer after he was fired. An unidentified former employee told The Times that Lauer sexually assaulted her in his office in 2001. NBC officials confirmed that two more accusers had come forward on Wednesday. And Variety published a more sweeping account of Lauer’s sexual misconduct with at least three women over several years.

In a memo to employees sent Wednesday morning, NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack said the complaint prompted a serious review and represented a “clear violation of our company’s standards.”

Lack said it was the first complaint lodged against Lauer, 59, for his behavior since he took over as anchor of the show in 1997, but there was “reason to believe” it may not have been an isolated incident.

“Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender,” Lack said.

Lauer denies some allegations but has apologised: Matt Lauer, fired ‘Today’ anchor accused of sexual misconduct, says ‘I am truly sorry’

Longtime “Today” anchor Matt Lauer broke his silence Thursday in a statement read on the show, saying he was “truly sorry” after a detailed complaint of sexual misconduct led to his firing.

Lauer said that not all of the allegations that have followed are correct, but he admitted that “there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.” “Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie read the statement.

“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC,” wrote Lauer, a married father of three.

“Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.

“Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job,” he added. “The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”

That’s unusually direct and seems to take responsibility and sounds properly apologetic, but it’s unlikely to be the end of Lauer’s problems, after already being dumped from a very highly paid career with limited prospects of another similar job.

Police “not tolerating bad behaviour any more” (sexual assaults)

RNZ reports in ‘They’re not tolerating bad behaviour any more’:

A decade of independent scrutiny of how police treat sexual assault victims and how they investigate their own officers is about to end.

Ten years ago today a Commission of Inquiry led by Dame Margaret Bazley released a scathing report describing disgraceful conduct by officers over 25 years and a wall of silence protecting the men that women complained about.

The inquiry investigated historic sexual assault claims and misconduct from 1979 to 2004.

In 2007, Dame Margaret released her findings which pointed to systemic issues, evidence of disgraceful misconduct and a culture of scepticism around reported sexual assaults.

The case of Louise Nicholas prompted the Commission of Inquiry to be established in 2004.

Louise Nicholas vividly remembers how fearful she was, the day her story was made public on 1 January 2004.

“In talking with [journalist] Phil Kitchin, in putting the story out there publicly, ‘what am I going to get out of it?’

“And he said, ‘What do you want?’ And I said, ‘I need for the police to acknowledge, to stand up and say, ‘yeah, we’ve got a really, really bad culture and we need to do something about this.’ And Phil said, ‘Well, let’s call for a Commission of Inquiry’ … and that’s how it all got started.

“And then, as fate has it, police decided to investigate my allegations that came through the media.”

She said the investigation was important in enabling victims to come forward.

“The results were of course, acquittals. But, did I get my justice? As I sit here today, abso-bloody-lutely I did.

Mrs Nicholas said how police dealt with sexual assault survivors was the biggest change she wanted to see happen.

She said if her case had happened today, it would have been handled so much better by police.

“I’ve actually seen the change in how police are investigating their own. They’re not tolerating bad behaviour any more. We’ve got coppers out there on the front line actually stepping up and saying, ‘I’m not going to tolerate your behaviour’, and actually are speaking out. That’s huge.”

She said in recent years, she had dealt with a number of women who had been alleged victims of rape by police staff.

Many of those women got the justice they wanted, with their offenders being convicted and jailed, Mrs Nicholas said.

The inquiry investigated quite a few allegations.

The inquiry reviewed 313 complaints of sexual assaults against 222 police officers between 1979 and 2005.

Charges were laid in relation to 141 of those complaints.

As a result, 10 police officers or former officers were convicted of sexual assault, 20 accused were cleared and two officers took their own lives before their cases could be heard.

This shook things up in the Police force, as it should have.

Mike Bush, the third Police Commissioner since 2007, said the inquiry acted as a catalyst for reform.

“We’re now a very, very victim-focused organisation. We’re focused on being very high performing and we have excellent values that sit as the foundation of the New Zealand Police.”

He said the public could have confidence that complaints would be dealt with appropriately.

“If there are any complaints made, in regards to sexual complaints, whether it’s involving our staff or others, we act with absolute urgency, absolute transparency and absolute professionalism with the victim at the heart of everything we do.”

Making complaints of sexual assault is still not easy, but at least now the Police will take them seriously and deal with them much more appropriately.

Independent Police Conduct Authority chair Judge Sir David Carruthers said in a statement that it appeared the police had taken the recommendations very seriously.

“There is no doubt the genuine efforts that have been made to achieve the progress which has been reported.”

Dame Margaret says that since here inquiry there has been a huge cultural change in the Police Force.

“The Commissioner wasn’t always aware of what was happening out in the regions and there had been a culture of tending not to deal with things. But that has all changed.”

“There’s the observing public that take note of this.. and if they were aware of this sort of thing now.. they would be blowing the whistle very smartly I believe.

“I don’t think communities would tolerate that sort of behaviour today.”

There is much less open community tolerance of sexual crime now, and there needs to be zero tolerance of sexual offending by police officers, and zero tolerance of inappropriate handling of sexual assault complaints.

DNA nails historic offender

DNA has solved a twenty year old offence. It turns out to be a repeat offender – as often seems to be the case in sexual offences.

NZ wrestler Devon Bond admits 1994 rape after DNA hit

Former New Zealand representative wrestler Devon Charles Bond has admitted the horrific 1994 rape of a Christchurch woman, after a cold case DNA match.

Bond, 49, pleaded guilty on Monday in the High Court at Christchurch, on the morning his jury trial was due to begin.

The Crown will ask the court to consider an open-ended preventive detention sentence because Bond has a 1995 conviction for abducting a woman he put into the boot of his car.

It’s good to see DNA evidence helping solve historic offences. I hope it continues to nail repeat sexual offenders.

What has become apparent with sexual offending is that there seems to be a relatively small number of men who have been usually getting away multiple offences.

Obviously this has been bad, very bad, for the mostly female victims.

It’s also been a bad look for men in general, with some claims suggesting that sexual assaults have been perpetuated by an alarming number of men.

I’d like to see analysis of statistics on this, but I suspect that a relatively small proportion of men are responsible for the majority of assaults, especially those that are at the more serious send end of the scale.

‘Prominent New Zealander’ loses name suppression

A ‘prominent New Zealander’ has lost name suppression in an indecent assault case, but as it is subject to appeal the suppression won’t be lifted until March 19.

So while names still can’t be mentioned in relation to this case most people who are aware of such things will have a pretty good idea who it’s about, so today’s news reports add some detail to what was widely known.

Note that this is not the ‘prominent New Zealander’ referred to in this morning’s post Henare fined for breaching name suppression.

NZ Herald: Prominent New Zealander charged with indecent assault loses name suppression

A prominent New Zealander charged with indecent assault lost his bid for name suppression today.

But the man’s identity will remain protected for another month to allow him the chance to lodge an appeal.

The man denies the charges against him.

Heavy suppression orders cover the case, meaning the man cannot be identified, nor can his alleged victims or their ages.

So no names or speculation in comments please.

The charges faced by the man, who elected trial by jury, can now be revealed.

He is facing 12 charges of indecent assault against two people including two representative charges.

The charges, which include allegations of touching the complainants on the breast, buttocks, groin and thigh, are punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

These are potentially serious charges.

Some things that were previously unclear have been clarified now.

  • They are multiple unproven charges that will be defended.
  • It is for indecent assault (some speculation was that it was ‘just’ assault).
  • There are two alleged victims so it is not, for example, just husband versus wife charges.

“Representative charges” suggests some sort of ongoing alleged offending rather than a one off incident.

UPDATE: a bit of different detail in ther Stuff report: Prominent New Zealander in court on indecent assault charges

A prominent New Zealander has appeared in court facing 12 charges of indecent assault against two complainants.

The man made his second appearance in a district court today to apply for continued name suppression.

Judge Roy Wade denied the application and ruled the man’s name suppression would lapse in 20 working days – at 5pm on March 19 – unless an appeal was lodged in the High Court.

Most other details of the case are suppressed to protect the identity of the victims.

The man’s lawyer indicated an appeal would be lodged.

Judge Wade also suppressed the contents of today’s hearing.

The man pleaded not guilty and elected trial by jury.

He was remanded on bail to a further appearance in April.