Tania Billingsley – hero

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The astounding courage exhibited by Tania Billingsley last night on 3rd Degree should put the Government to shame. Her criticism of those charged with upholding her rights is to the bone and righteous

The woman at the centre of a diplomatic incident and the victim of an alleged sex attack says Foreign Minister Murray McCully should resign.

Tania Billingsley, 21, said she was deeply unhappy her alleged attacker, Malaysian warrant officer Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail, had been allowed to go back to Malaysia, after mixed messages from an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mfat).

In an interview with TV3’s Third Degree, the Wellington resident said she had yet to receive a direct apology from Mr McCully about errors made in her case. By having name suppression — automatically granted to alleged sexual attack victims — lifted and speaking out, she was putting a “face” to the alleged victim.

“I guess that I’m someone who has something to say about this assault, I mean it happened to me and throughout this whole process, especially once it’s become so public, my voice hasn’t been heard,” she said.

“I think he [McCully] should resign.”

In a culture that is so blasé towards domestic violence, Tania’s decision to put aside privacy protections to discuss and demand some justice is courageous and brave and should be applauded.

Congratulations to Paula Penfold and the 3rd Degree show for reminding us what current affairs should look like.

46 COMMENTS

    • Well done Tania.
      Very brave.

      Keep it on the table, and keep on talking, and let us all know exactly what the govt people ask of you, or offer you for your silence.

      Blessings to you.

    • There were a fair few “slag” and “hussy” type comments from the posters there which have since been moderated but it points to the general attitude on that site toward victims of sexual abuse ie, she asked for it because of her lipstick and what she chooses to wear.

      As for government supporters, they see any questioning or discussion around government policy as being politically motivated, so no change there.

    • I don’t think anyone believes she isn’t telling the truth about the incident that happened and I hope she gets justice against the accused in this that she deserves as anyone who has suffered from the unwanted attention of anther person.

      Her actions since, in choosing to attack other third parties who didn’t attempt to sexually assault her, on 3rd Degree and through Jan Logie are of course politicised, by her and at her own will. They can definitely be held up for robust debate as her motive for going beyond the realms of the horrible thing that happened to her and into the political arena are examined more objectively than 3rd Degree managed.

      • Of course the right wing will do all they can to spin it beyond recognition…. they are already in full flight, some of them attacking her mercilessly…. BUT…. anybody who actually watched her, with an open mind, will see that she was totally genuine, and NOT “politically motivated”.

        I actually find your comment of “holding her motives up for robust debate” to be quite offensive, almost like you are attempting to take sides with the right wing trash that are attacking her.

      • Oh for goodness sake!

        Kate, how would you feel if a diplomat tried to assault you and then was allowed by our government to leave NZ?

        You’d probably be pretty pissed off.

        You’d see a bunch of men on TV, politicians and bureaucrats, mouthing off bullshit while the perpetrator leaves the country and everyone is pointing the finger. And the whole dialogue is focussed on politics, not on sexual assault.

        THAT is part of rape culture Kate. Its not rocket science.

        Tania did not politicise this case, the politicians did that long before we ever knew who she was.

        I don’t see her call for McCully to resign as political, I see it as a natural course of justice. McCully didn’t do his job. He let an alleged sexual predator leave NZ. As the alleged victim I think Tania’s call for McCully to apologise and resign seem totally reasonable.

        And while I watched her interview I did notice the bright red lipstick, and I did think that it would be commented upon as a bad thing, or at least commented on even though it is totally irrelevant what she looks like and what she wears!

        • I can think of many reasons Lara that I would like from past actions for Murray McCully to resign, this isn’t one of them.

          The actual person who stuffed up in MFAT it is rumoured to be a woman. That’s right, a woman.

          You have clearly never travelled to Malaysia to see how they view western women who dress nicely and wear red lipstick so you didn’t understand what I wrote.

          Rape culture? What on earth is that? Do NZ men seriously line up at night thinking about ways to rape and beat down women? No.

          • Here’s a nice definition and description of rape culture.

            If you seriously think NZ does not have a rape culture how the hell do you explain the Louise Nichols case? Roast Busters? And how do you explain how many NZ women, including myself, have been rape victims MULTIPLE times in their lives? Are you so blind that you cannot see the casual sexism from NZ men? Have you never been sexually harassed, had unwanted sexual advances which you rebuff only to be then denigrated (usually after rebuffing an advance you’ll be called a “bitch” or “stuck up” or “frigid”), have you never been randomly shouted at by dudes in cars? Have you never been groped by a stranger in a public place? Have you never been shouted at by groups of men in public? Has no man ever exposed his genitals to you in a public space?

            All rape culture Kate. I’d be highly surprised if you’ve never experienced any of that as a woman in NZ.

            And finally, I have actually traveled to Malaysia. Way to go with an incorrect assumption there.

            And what bloody relevance does that have?

            This happened in NZ. It was NZ’s MFAT which allowed the guy to go home and it was McCully who did not question his staff to find out what was happening with this case. Probably because he didn’t deem it very important. Sexual violence is probably not an important issue to him.

            It is completely irrelevant that this case may have been handled differently in Malaysia. We don’t have to be the worst in the world before we’re allowed to demand things improve for us.

            And its not me calling for McCully’s resignation. Its Tania. And she has every right to her opinion.

      • “Beyond the realms of the horrible thing that happened”? You appear to be saying she should shut up because what happened and how it was dealt with by the government wasn’t serious enough to speak up. Is that what you’re saying?

        She decided to go into the political arena as you call it (as if that place is reserved for some sort of special elite, and not the ordinary citizen who pays for the whole shebang) because the minister in charge of MFAT dropped the ball and couldn’t seem to care less, and the prime minister attacked an individual within MFAT instead of owning the problem.

        So she hates National. So what? She belongs to a club ever increasing in numbers.

        • She doesn’t have to shut up, if she has waited until he was back in NZ she would have had her day in court to speak up. Her actions have called this now seriously into question.

          • if she has waited until he was back in NZ she would have had her day in court to speak up

            The chances of his returning to NZ are getting slimmer by the day. Clue: he’s been transferred from a military hospital to a general hospital. The writing is on the wall.

      • The action against her was political the highest level, for heaven’s sake, it was a diplomat’s actions. To take it further, every physical or sexual attack against a woman is a political act, that of an aggressor seeking to subjugate a perceived weaker victim. The fact that this victim has chosen to speak up and not succumb to the attempts of this government to push her under the carpet, should be a clarion call to all women to stand up in support of her in a revolution against tyranny

      • They can definitely be held up for robust debate as her motive for going beyond the realms of the horrible thing that happened to her and into the political arena are examined more objectively than 3rd Degree managed.

        Right. “Going beyond the realms”. Uppity women huh? How dare she speak out.

        And considering that McCully & Co did nothing about it, Kate, it’s not really surprising she sought assistance from other sources.

        If the government-of-the -day does nothing (for seven weeks!), really, what did McCully, you, and others expect?

        Does a woman have to support the incumbent government before she is taken seriously?

        Don’t forget that Bronwyn Puller spoke out – and she is (was?) a National Party supporter.

        • At least Bronwyn Pullar waited for process to take its course before going public. As stated before this Malaysian diplomat isn’t even on NZ soil yet and now may never be. A classic case of cutting ones nose off to spite their face if ever I have seen one.

          • Well, maybe she thought that McCully and Key had stuffed it up so badly that the chance of the alleged offender coming back was zero anyway.

      • Kate – From your whaleoil blogpost;

        “A good bit of public airing of New Zealand man hating won’t help Billingsley or any of the other sexual assault victims or education thereof for men. Women can go around hating on men and shouting about “rape culture” but guess what?”

        “Man hating”?!

        WTF?!

        I watched it and I didn’t hear any man-hating at all. Christ almighty, I listened to it intently; I’m a bloke; and I didn’t hear anything derogatory about my gender (even though men commit 99% of sex crimes on this planet).

        FFS, did we even watch the same programme?

        God help me, they must be putting something in the drinking water ‘cos I swear the degree of stupidity in the world is rising faster than climate-change temperature…

        • Yes you are a left wing male Frank.
          Try taking your political blinkers off and listen to how the lady called into question all NZ men.
          When it was a Malaysian man who allegedly attacked her.

          • The word ‘Lady’, is full of ridiculous connotations and cultural stereo types. I find the word ‘lady’ derogatory towards woman in 2014, it is old fashioned and puts woman in a box with the lid firmly on. What is ‘lady like’ exactly, never saying no to a man? Or god forbid being found to have emasculated one. The demure ‘little lady’, who can’t say anything out of turn or she will be deemed ‘unladylike’. Lady is a word which strips a woman of all mana. What is the word for a woman who has been the female equivalent of emasculated? I don’t think one exists, as our vocabulary in mostly derogatory towards woman’s parts (eg swear words), and old fashioned. Woman need to stand together on this it is time for this change.

            • Spare us your lecture on the word “lady”, Kate. The rest of your sexist drivel shows your attitudes a lot more clearly.

              • Are you a ‘Lady’, Priss? So am I sexist towards woman if I don’t like the word ‘Lady’? When I find ‘Lady’ a sexist word??? Maybe even up there with ‘Sheila’, do you like that word or is that sexist drivel? Or did you grow up in the 50s so you have no idea that ‘Lady’, is out of date now. Like calling people ‘Gentlemen’, how ironic. Cactus Kate said “the lady”,its a corny weak word, just thought I would stand up for WOMAN!

          • Tania Billingsley was extremely courageous, and you have taken her words out of context. Just as Cunliffe did, her brave words was a call to all men, including good men. If ‘good men’ do nothing, then it is only up to the perpetrators themselves to act responsibly when they have already proven to have failed in this.

            ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.’

            Edmund Burke

    • Government supporters don’t have many rational thoughts and of course they’ll try to write this off by talking about political stunts. They’d do better looking at Maggie Barry, who suddenly remembered that Rolf Harris groped her. Yea, right. And as for Cactus Kate – foul, full of herself, and always eager to serve the interests of powerful men. Who cares what she thinks?

      Tania did the right thing. I support her 100%. Full stop.

  1. Because of who she has criticised I worry things will get very unpleasant from here on in if they could get much worse

    Example; Its shock horror on the anaesthetising Sean Plunkett show. There is a façade of concern over McCully as his reprehensible behaviour hurts National but I think the real concern on this show is that she has dared to criticise John Key’s bored look and lack of sincerity! Oh my God, someone has finally publicly said the Emperor has no clothes!!!

    Plunkett is concerned Billingsley has gone political and has “an agenda” whilst missing the bleeding obvious that the roots of this offence has inherent political connections! Further there is a hint of Green Party connections too!

    I guess that no real Kiwi can rightly criticise this messiah, I mean we just don’t do that shit in NZ, this is John Key, he’s rich, he’s all dad like, he’s media superstar with almost 10 years of public grooming.

    Plunkett is pussy footing around trying not to sound like he’s angling public opinion against her with excuses of freedom of speech shit but its obvious where he’s going with this.

    I fear now the devils cabana boys are slowly but surely doing the hatchet job on her and that really sums up how fucked up this Key cult worshipping is.

    • Anybody who takes ANY notice of that dork Plunkett is, by definition, …. I better stop there, or my comment will not be allowed to be published on this site, but I am sure you get the message… I hold Plunkett to be about ten levels below Whaleblubber in credibility.

  2. Thank you Tania and well done on your courage, moderate and reasoned comments, integrity and fairness. You have just spoken for thousands of silent victims of violence. Rape culture is alive and well here and honesty is needed to counter it. Healthy relationships are better for both men and women, so everything to gain here. Love and good wishes to you.

  3. Look forward to your article criticizing Hone Harawira referring to the whole sexual assault furore as “bugger all” Martyn…

  4. National are cringing least sexual violence against women becomes an election issue. Why? because they haven’t just done nothing to combat it, they have actually done the reverse – cut funding to Women’s Refuge services and police who have to deal with the problem first hand. Add to this the Prime Minister’s insulting and sneering comments about David Cunliffe’s speech on the issue and you have a party that can’t see any problems though their rose tinted spectacles.

  5. When I saw Ms Billingsley’s interview last night, I had two things running through my mind…

    1. What a gutsy woman!

    2. The reaction from right wing trolls and misogynists will be predictable, loud, and nasty.

    We have a real problem in this country and if anyone thinks I’m over-stating the case – go read Whale Oil and other right wing blogs.

    And the media had the nerve to call Cunliffe’s *apology* a “gaff”.

    Jeezus wept…

    • Right wing? Hello I thought Hone Harawira was left wing?
      Hone Harawira made blurted out comments far more offensive that any right wing male politician and a week later (when someone actually bothered to watch Backbenches) he apologises but you know its all still a right wing troll/misogynist exercise?
      We all know Laila Harre made Hone apologise. It is as sincere as Hone’s love for anything about Kim Dotcom than his cash.

  6. I watched Ms Billingsley’s interview also. Yes, a gutsy woman but also a vulnerable human being and a young and disingenuous innocent.
    I can’t believe the schtick about the red lipstick .. I mean wtf.. the makeup artist obviously toned the lipstick to the set (red apples, roses in background) and we’re hearing it’s a ‘thing’ ? Her dress and demeanour is upfront and honest and notice how the interviewers pushed her into calling herself an activist..I mean, putting one foot in front of another makes one an activist these days. Heroic interview alright.

    • So, red lipstick and a dress = She was asking for it “Jane”? Is that where you’re coming from?

      The only thing worse than a misogynist is a misogynist using a female persona to justify a rape culture in this country.

      Unlike Cactus Kate who is so fucking deluded by her ideology that she’ll help crucify any woman who dares speak out against this government. In other words, if you must get raped , wait till there’s a left wing government in office before speaking out. When the Nats/Act are in power, suffer in silence.

      So says Kate, cheerleader for misogynists around the world.

      • Priss – read what Jane said about the lipstick again.

        I don’t think she’s saying what you think she’s saying about it…

  7. Tania : May The Force Be With You – full supports from Malaysia . I hope NZ judiciary impose the heaviest sentence to that asshole when he landed .

  8. From what I know of this issue, Tania Billingsley is not jeopardizing her case, in speaking out about her disappointment in a government minister, his ministry and the PM, for allowing an alleged sex offender to leave NZ, after she had laid an official complaint about his behaviour towards her.

    She is not talking publicly about the alleged offence(s).

    Contrary to some comments, I can’t see how her recent actions are likely to threaten her case or the chances of the alleged offender receiving a fair hearing, should he ever return to NZ.

    Seems to me, a rape culture is well and thriving in NZ, supported by the lackadaisical attitude and incompetency of a senior minister, the PM and a government department!

  9. There is something the matter with Cactus Kate.

    To quote the prickly one from her first post in this thread : …. “I hope she gets justice against the accused in this that she deserves as anyone who has suffered from the unwanted attention of anther person” …….

    More specifically ……” suffered from the unwanted attention of anther person”

    So Kate thinks a break in ( home invasion ? ), and assault with intent to rape is ” unwanted attention ” .

    Kates comments/euphemisms strike me as those one with zero empathy would make.

    A super creep.

  10. Remove all Malaysian diplomat’s diplomatic immunity if Malaysian government refuse to send him back to New Zealand for trial.

    From Malaysian.

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