You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand



Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape



The police have sent a strong message today. 

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In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports.

“You can literally get away with rape in this country.  If you rape someone, officials will do essentially nothing.”

If you get raped, don’t expect the police to take your attack seriously, even if you’re only 13. Expect to be quizzed about your outfit, how drunk you were and what you did to bring this upon yourself. Expect to be told there is “no evidence”, it’s just “your word against theirs”, because of our outdated justice system. Know that you might not be properly interviewed about your rape for a year by which time important details will be lost. Expect to live with a year of stress and uncertainty, unable to move on or see justice upheld, and know that you’ll probably be one of the 99 rape survivors out of 100 who never see their cases go to court. Remember it’s your responsibility to make sure you don’t get raped, because no one else is going to help prevent it, and officials don’t care.

In this case we are talking about very young girls and that is a heavy, unacceptable burden for them – especially being so young – really it’s an unacceptable burden for anyone.

If we ever needed proof we live in a rape culture we have it. By doing virtually nothing useful to prevent rape, our system essentially faciliates rape and supports rapists. The illegality of rape is pointless if nothing is done to uphold the law. The police seem to be specifically responsible for setting up a roadblock to prosecution. If so few cases see court, they are positioned as the barrier to justice.

In response to the Roast Busters scandal last year we’ve had some money into rape crisis funding and there has been a little pilot program about discussing consent in schools, yeah those things are positive, but we need radical change. The money given wasn’t enough to stop Christchurch Rape Crisis from being shut down this year, who have had to resort to volunteer-initiated support programs that don’t adequately meet the community need. Supporting rape crisis is great, but that isn’t rape prevention at its core. There have been many reviews that have outlined the glaring inadequacies of our police and justice system, but none of the changes recommended by these reviews have been implemented. Why? The government and the police simply choose to ignore us.

Even in this last year we’ve watched as members of the public and officials have shown no comprehension regarding consent, and while one rapist in particular was allowed to flee the country in order to avoid being charged.

You’ll remember the instance of Malaysian diplomat Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail who sexually assaulted Tania Billingsly and was permitted to skip town by Murray McCully and senior members of parliament. They simply didn’t take her seriously or care – at all – about what had occurred and left Tania to be publicly flamed by media. It takes a lot of courage to stand up publicly and talk about a specific attack. In this country most of us can only remember one or two women at best who have dared do so, because it’s usually the survivor who has to bear the shame.

Then we saw The Rock, ZM and other radio stations publish illegally obtained, graphic naked photographs of Jennifer Lawrence. They were immediately alerted to the fact this was an issue of consent, and that Jennifer was taking legal action but they didn’t care. The Rock – specifically – left the photographs up for days in an attempt to gain as much publicity and colaterol out of the photos before releasing a meaningless statement that said the “moment” they became aware of the problem they removed the photos – a lie. The Rock as an organisation are unashamedly embroiled a lad culture – the heart of New Zealand’s rape culture – which does not care about consent, and they are comfortable in their position because it is seen as socially acceptable and “fun”. Many listeners and many in the online community didn’t even get the point that it was a consent issue. They just thought they were having a bit of a laugh, not realising that they were participating in a public “roasting” of a woman, which is exactly what Roast Busters was about.

Then we have Cameron Slater and Jordan Williams who provide the perfect example of entrenched couldn’t-care-less misogynisitic attitudes, we saw those guys talking that casual-lad-talk about how women are only useful for sexual purposes and nothing else.

This is rape culture.

When will our government and police meet the needs of the people? Despite the fact that we marched across the country last year, and the fact that our petition was presented at parliament, and the fact that a specialist commission was created to investigate how things could be better, the requests made at our march have not been met.

We asked that:

– Rape crisis centres would be sustainably funded

– Educational programs on consent would be initiated (there has been a pilot in schools but, this is a broad public health issue that effects people other than teenagers)

– Police put measures in place to adequately support survivors – it is clear they have totally failed at that. A recent media release indicated one of the girls who was attacked was still not interviewed up until a few weeks ago. That is not OK in any instance of rape. Survivors need to be able to move on and have support, it causes so much pressure and distress for them to have such interviews pending and it results in people dropping cases. The police have failed at every point to address this situation, despite knowing about it for two years prior to the story breaking in media they did nothing to protect the public.

– Reinstate the law commission’s report into pretrial and trial support for survivors

In New Zealand people experience sexual assault and rape regularly. It is a national health crisis of epic proportions. You know the stats: 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual violence of some form. Survivors of rape live in a thick syrup of rape culture – a culture that permits rather than preventing rape – and our complaints remain unheard.

Rape can be prevented, it’s time the government did something about it. New Zealand’s laddish, couldn’t-care-less approach to rape needs to end. We all have a right to feel outraged at this response by police and at the ineptitude of this government.


  1. ” it’s time the government did something about it.”


    The system failure occurs below the creating of yet more laws, policies, regulations, etc, etc.

    For example: it becomes law that a system of enquiry and support is established in all main provincial towns at the least.

    Who trains the staff? How is it funded?

    If further and ongoing support is needed – who does the back-up? Overworked mental health and counselling?

    Which agencies are involved: schools, churches, hospitals, other public health agencies?

    And which numbers need to be captured to see what changes are happening? What are we measuring? And over what time frame?

    What can a ‘government’ do to change the carefully groomed ‘culture’ so heavily promoted through many media?

    More to the point – who is giving parents of maturing children the outline of what constitutes acceptable and civilised behaviour for themselves and their children? It certainly can’t be any agency as ephemeral as ‘parliament’ or as conformist as the public service is today.

    • Rape Crisis and other organisations have been running training and education programs for a couple of decades. Fund them to work with education specialists to teach consent and legal issues in schools. That will change the culture.

      We’ve already had a significant shift in the culture in recent years. That the term rape culture is used by the MSM is huge. Time for the govt to get on board.

    • @ Andrea . Thank God for your reasoned and common sense viewpoint . There is hope after all .

      I was caught off-guard by the candid statements of those boys on tha’ tee vee with regard to their attitudes to their fellow human beings the other night . Namely those other children who were pressured / lured by two sociopaths after those aforementioned children were deviously rendered non compos by alcohol ” By good looking guys who behaved like ass holes . ” ( Alcohol only available to those over 18 years old but displayed in full view to any wee kid shopping with their parents or guardians in most supermarkets in NZ next to the cheeses and yoghurts . Except Southland interestingly . )

      What scary creatures those boys are ? Their matter-of-fact attitude to what they were doing was absolutely scary . I shudder to think what mayhem they’ll unleash as ” good looking adults ” who gleefully behave like ‘ assholes ‘ . ( Fully aware of the American parlance that is the word ‘ asshole ‘ )

      Sociopathy takes some doing to create . First , you need institutionalised dysfunction . In this case , a well groomed egotistical narcism with just a hint of sadism . Then , you need a vile media glorifying the actions of the Sociopath and as the bodies hit the floor ( ) you can sell ’em stuff and things . Like Brawndo . Has electrolytes . ( )

      The bi-product ? Is this , perhaps .

      As for the cops ? What can they do ? They do indeed have only arcane laws when it comes to children being monsters to other children . Those now essential laws to deal with rape and youth violence were not written for the tide of sociopaths welling up out of the horrors in the wake of neo liberalism .

      Youth per se is a market . Youth has disposable income that is preyed upon by retailers . Retailers have debt to sell made available to them by the Banks who in turn bought that debt off-shore from other , larger banks or , as is the new trend , from larger off-shore Corporations who are now doing Bank Business . ( )

      Retailers will employ any advertising agency to promote/sell their product [ in order to sell off-shore debt . Like victims of a parasite . Yadda , yadda , yadda . Ed Yong . Zombie roaches etc )

      As kids / youth , they are not yet fully developed emotionally , they’re ominously vulnerable to advertising/media coercion/pressure .

      And if no one’s got the time to spend with their kids to keep them on an emotionally stable track ? ( Because they’ve been enslaved by debt sold to them by Banks and normalised by politicians who were , you guessed it , lobbied by Banksters . ) Chaos ensues .

      Peer groupings become polarised , dysfunction becomes the norm and without empathetic checks and balances , kids will do what ever takes their fancy . Add booze to that and you have Roast Busters . Roast Busters Co Ltd . Whether those boys new it or not , they’ve just created a brand name . Out of the horrors inflicted on other human beings for their visceral pleasures . I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a Roast Busters logo on sneakers and T shirts .

      How to fix this shit ?

      Well boy . It’s not gonna to be pretty .

      All foreign Banks and Corporate Giant money lenders MUST be removed from New Zealand / Aotearoa immediately .

      All foreign debt MUST be defaulted on .

      All mortgage advances MUST be written off .

      Our currency MUST be fire-walled against foreign manipulation .

      Essentially , we Kiwis have to re invent ourselves and try and fix roger douglas’ damage done and that means we might have to go it alone for a while .

      For every credit card you get , it comes drenched in the tears of children . Your children . For every ludicrous house price you pay for a damp dump in Auckland ? You’re days on this beautiful Earth are being stolen away . Days better spent enjoying the company of your kids under a Kiwi sun while keeping them safe knowing they’re loved .

      • And again Countryboy, you’re on the same track “its all the banking system, its all about mortgage debt”. You are starting to sound like a stuck record.

        No. This has nothing to do with debt and our monetary system.

        This has everything to do with gender roles and expectations, specifically our attitudes to sex as something women “give” to men, and something men aim to “get” from women.

        This has everything to do with our cultural memes around women and rape: that it’s something to do with what the women wear (skirt too short, cleavage showing, she must be asking for it!), that its some kind of inevitable natural disaster that befalls women who are not “careful” enough to avoid it, that it is strangers in dark alleys, that men cannot control their urges, that a woman who gets drunk and then is raped “had it coming to her”.

        This has everything to do with gender. Nothing to do with debt.

        At least one of the boys was from a nice middle class home (his Dad is a policeman, and that may be why there are no charges) and another is apparently from a more wealthy home.

        These boys did not do what they did because they are manipulated by media and their parents didn’t spend enough time with them. They did it because they see women as sexual objects for their consumption, they think sex is something that is owed to them, they think they are entitled to access to womens bodies. These ideas are not just perpetuated by our media, they are deeply ingrained values and ideas which our culture holds and are reflected in our media.

    • This defeatist attitude sucks. Something CAN be done. Just because you aren’t aware of options doesn’t mean that they are not there.

      Jesus christ. The alternative is the government doing nothing about the fact that rape is basically legal in New Zealand.

      Well funded education campaigns around consent have had great success elsewhere in the world- Canada, for example.

  2. One wonders , if it had been ‘The Man Hunter’ site and these ‘boys’ had been bragging about killing people, would this have been enough evidence to convict? If they asked these guy “Did you kill anyone?” and they said “No” do they just give up – nope can’t convict? And what happened to the illegality of underage sex?
    It’s just another instance where I just feel “where’s my country?”

  3. Jessie, – Help us to get a media controlled opposition voice.
    If Labour had been in Government there would have been a constant barrage from the media so relentless that this issue would force Government to make changes.

    But as we know the National Government runs the media and controls any negative press issues from attacking them.

    Only when labour and the other opposition parties get there act together and force government to split the public media TVNZ/RNZ into two distinct portions.

    One half for Government.

    And one half for opposition.

    Then you will see real issues discussed publically in the press constantly until Government is forced to change from their current do nothing to taking ownership of these and all social political issues.

    Put some pressure on Government and opposition Parties to take them to court to open up the public media to opposition control of half, and then you will see pressure to change any controversial issues here in a National controlled media operations that turn their backs on these sad lacking social problems.

  4. New Zealand is a sick, sick, society. And it’s from the top down. I don’t know what we can do about it – I gave up and left!

  5. Yes, it is appalling and a sad state of affairs, what has happened in the “roastbusters” case, and what is happening in other cases, but not just rape. In New Zealand too many get away with almost anything, and the police is either incompetent, or cannot be bothered doing all that is necessary. Sometimes they close the ranks to cover up misdeeds of their own.

    But there is ONE thing you will NOT get AWAY with in New Zealand, that is attack and critcise your “magnificent” leader Kim John Key, or his government and staff:

    The rule of law, it has been a laughing stock in this place for too long. Look also how dismally they treated the family carers for disabled, and wait, and see, how the elderly careworker and her colleagues will get shafted, eventhough they won a court case yesterday, defending their right to equal pay.

    That win will not last long, you can put a safe bet on it now, that is if the TAB would allow bets on such matters.

    • The new comissioner is the guy who, in Bruce Hutton’s eulogy, said

      “It’s a great tragedy and an irony that a man of such great character should have been subject to those accusations,” then, after getting the comissioner job said “So in hindsight it was probably inappropriate. And if I caused any offence to anyone I actually apologise for that,”.

      Can we really expect sensible judgement from a person who cannot see the scewd logic of the above situation? He shouldn’t have been in to start with.

  6. Since NZ is becoming more like the Wild West maybe someone could start up a poster campaign. With their face and wording to the effect. Wanted Justice for rape crims. Post them all over the place. Oh there is probably a law against it.

    • Perhaps these boys should have realised the long term implications of their face book confessions. Courtcase or not, what potential employer would consider them and how can any school body accept them as pupils? There are codes of conduct. However the rich and famous appear to be exempt!

      As Louise Nicholls stated this morning, this case is far from over.

  7. Unbelievable police have not prosecuted especially when they have evidence of the perpetrators on Facebook bragging about it. It is not one girls word against a boys, it is a lot of victims against boys that publicly are bragging about it. Sounds like evidence to me. Since one girl was only 13 it is statutory rape. No wonder people have no faith in police especially after the Louise Nicolas rape case. Once again people involved have got away with it by police bungling. Oh and one offender is a police mans son too.

  8. In Wellington we just had delivered from the police and their commercial partners a booklet (must have cost thousands) called ‘Stop Crime Save Lives’. It has chapters on many topics, including fire safety, water safety, earthquake safety, none of which mention crime, but no section on sexual violence.

    In the ‘Stay Safe Online’ chapter they say “Facebook do take complaints seriously”, highlighting how little they themselves do.

  9. Its all about evidence.

    We have a society where all genders (well the two main ones anyway) are supposed top be equeal. That requires that both men and women have to work with the laws that exist. (unless you want to have a legal system like Zimbabwe or China).
    One of the rules of a good legal system (yes even the french and the scandinavian) require evidence.

    the reason this mess has resulted in what it now is, is that the girls involved did not go to the police and provide evidence as soon as they could. Its no excuse to say “oh – its embarrassing or I dont like it etc”.

    There will never be any charges laid because the activity (it now turns out) was often group activity – ie – there were a group of boys and girls, they sat down and got drunk, and then with the rest of the group watching on sexual activity progressed – its going to be very hard to get evidence of rape in that situation. Thats beside the problems they will face among their peer groups.

    Now – everyone today making comments on the radio and TV wanting a change in the law are simply asking for a kangaroo court mentality – where it could back fire on everyone including the victim. These people would be best advising young people – especially girls – to go to the police as soon as possible after the event. Or better still – tell them not to go to parties where they all knew what was going to happen.

    • Or better still – tell them not to go to parties where they all knew what was going to happen.

      We’re still talking about teenagers, right? You remember what being a teenager is like?

      “Not go to parties”? You might as well try to stop the planet from spinning on it’s axis.

      Aside from looking at the law in this instances, we need to look at what kind of education we are giving young people when it comes to consent. Peer pressure, being drunk, and under-age “consent”, should be addressed for what it is: not real consent.

      I have no idea if these matters are covered in our school sex-ed curriculum – but if not, it damn well should be.

      The focus must also be put on young men, and reminded that just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean you should. It’s a very simple notion – but so hard to inculcate.

      And lastly, to hell with Individual’s demands for easy availability of booze. It’s time to change our laws on cheap pricing; easy availability; ubiquitous liquor stores, etc.

      And increase the drinking/purchasing age. (Something I’ll be voicing in the Green Party, of which I’m a member.)

      Thirty years of easy availability of liquor has shown us it has been a failed experiment.

      Above all, our society needs to grow up. As a nation, we are like young adults; all Rights with bugger all Responsibilities.

      We have to change. Or nothing will change.

    • Stop victim blaming. Kids should be able to go to parties with the expectation that they will not be assaulted.
      And there’s plenty of complainants in this case corroborating information, there is video evidence, there is online bragging by some of the perpetrators admitting the criminal activity.
      And expecting teenagers to have the courage to make complaints to police and relive their abuse again is unrealistic. In this case, some of them *did* go to police, and they were basically ignored.

    • No. At least one of the girls went to police within a very few days of being raped by those boys. Her family took her in, and they said she made a formal statement.

      Do you know what “roasting” is? I’m not going to detail it here, but look it up. It’s gang rape. And they did it to at least one 13yr old and they bragged about it on Facebook. And the police knew, because they were monitoring the boys on Facebook.

      The above points are all ascertained from media coverage: we know at least one of the girls was 13, we know the boys bragged about “roasting” them online, and at least one girl made a formal statement within days of an incident.

      When those boys sat down and provided alcohol to 13yr old girls, what followed was not just “sexual activity”. At best it was unlawful sexual connection with an underage person, a child, at worst it was gang rape.

      Your comment makes me sick.

    • “Its no excuse to say “oh – its embarrassing or I dont like it etc”.”

      I recently read the recollection of the process of investigation, from a rape victim’s point of view, and how she now suggested to anyone raped that they shouldn’t report it – the extreme and lengthy emotional hell of the process that follows just isn’t worth it. I have no evidence to suggest that she was lying, and what I read did not sound like a lie. I guess she could have been some sort of highly-trained covert “uber-feminist mole” of the NZ blogosphere, but what would she be trying to instigate? And even if she was, it was entirely conceivable that what she outlined could happen. So saying everyone should report everything immediately is probably as unconsidered a view (through a lack of contextual understanding – or lack of sympathetic function), as reaching the point where a person would say no one should bother (arrived at by over-empathising with the possible experience of the hypothetical victim) is inadequate.

      Also this perspective that “Justice shall be done and we must cede to the method!” is part of an attitude the world can do with less of, for many reasons not restricted to various political ideologies. Some groups call it “masculine” and from there the arguments get boring and contradictory, but they have point.

      As a detached observer, this Roastbusters “thing”(what is “it” exactly?) is confusing. I grew up in West Auckland and only recently returned after a few decades. My recollection of drunken, drugged-out youth parties here did not include rape, or the attitudes expressed by Roastbusters. The capacity to really go bat-shit wild/evil was there, it just never happened. Expectations (on reflection, bizarre expectations) of gender roles and attitudes were certainly in effect, and odd couplings certainly happened, but making a game of rape?? No way. That was in the nineties and I can’t figure out whether “we” were the forerunner to what is now, or if this Roastbuster thing is motivated by some other event/development/environmental change. Were we just “lucky”? I guess a guy can just miss it all entirely while still soaking in it?

      Even now, though I left that way of being long behind, I don’t recognise any suggestion like that in the youth I’ve seen round here so far – though of course I don’t go to teenage parties. You’d think there would be some sort of evidence on the surface. So I’m confused about where or in what context this kind of behaviour can exist/appear. Is it “underground”, always present and latent, or just outside my circles?

  10. The world (that’s us) has developed a culture of portraying and using women (inc’ girls/children) as sexual devices by allowing unfettered and uncensored access to internet pornography. This normalises sexualisation of women and children. That’s what “we” wanted – the freedom to do what we like as long as we believed there were no victims. And of course there are – directly and indirectly.
    When the Police ask a sexual assault complainant about her attire, it is usually done as an evidentiary requirement, and to assume that they do so solely to blame the victim for her beguiling and alluring sartorial attractiveness is facile and shows “your” anti-police prejudice. The fact that 25 of the alleged victims were unwilling to make statements demonstrates that sexual misconduct is abetted in our culture. The girls were not willing to undertake nor endure the social ostracism by their peers and families. We – through news media encourage our youth to worship and adore a shallow, exhibitionistic celebrity-culture, and they are consequentially focussing on narcissism as their prime social goal. Do we really want to normalise “nipple-slips” as an unavoidable unintentional or accidental consequence of fashion, or is it just more pornographic fuel?
    I admire and celebrate Lorde as she has patently rejected the likes of the kiddie-pornographer Miley Cyrus, who is letting-down a generation of vulnerable naïve and impressionable youth. There endeth the rant.

  11. When I was 13 my mothers partner raped me in my own home more than 5 times, He also forced me to watch him and mum have sex, I went to the police for help, They helped him get out of the country and when he left NZ the police waited a week before they went and questioned my mother. I have never recovered from the horrific actions that took place in my house and in my room and my doctor is still tying to help me and ACC want to help me and the NZ police will not give me my statement to me to give to ACC to help me get funded counselling, I have emailed the police more than 3 times and am still emailing them with no responses to help me, I get the same answer every time that it will be emailed to me in a week. I have no one to talk to, no one can help me with out that proof of statement, I am all alone now just like I was at 13 with all these awful things in my head that I do not wish to live with. The system has let me and every other victim of this down.

  12. In response to the article, this is treading some very dangerous ground surely…

    “You’ll remember the instance of Malaysian diplomat Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail who raped Tania Billingsly”

  13. The statement “You’ll remember the instance of Malaysian diplomat Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail who raped Tania Billingsly ” is untrue. The charge is not rape but sexual assault with intent to rape – and that has yet to be proven in court.

    Sub judice laws are a bit vague but basically require that material which creates a genuine risk of prejudicing a fair trial must not be published.

  14. So – several of you think that Im victim blaming – quite wrong.

    This episode happened – its not some imaginary story – its real. So the question is why did it happen?

    I think its a combination of a lot of parties that contributed to it. The parents (or caregivers), the boys, the girls, social media, the internet, television, and more. Societies attitude to alcohol comes into it also.

    So I ask myself what can be done to stop this happening again tomorrow – and Ive got to be real about the answer. An answer that involves some feel-good idea about societies attitude is not going to stop anything tomorrow – and thats what a responsible parent needs to address.

    Availabaility and attitudes to alcohol arent going to change (quickly anyway) so I cant change that.

    The use and miss-use of social media isnt going to change – and if anything will get much worse before it gets better – So thats not going to change.

    The way the internet works and is used is much the same – that wont change.

    Television of all of the technology aspects could be changed quickest – but what seems to be a demand for highly violent and highly sexualised programmes seems to be increasing – so this is something I cant do lots about.

    So this leaves the parents, the boys and the girls.

    If the boys and the girls are left to their own devices then anything might happen – any parent knows that. If anyone thinks this west Auckland affair is a one-off then you are from another planet.

    So put yourself in the position of the girls parents (caregivers). Theres a party this weekend somewhere in the suburb – so what do you say to your daughter?

    Do you say – “Hey – enjoy yourself at the party – and dont forget that if anything goes wrong its caused by societies attitude to ………….. (violence on TV, alcohol laws, sex, etc,etc).

    Or do you say – “Hey – At the first sign of anything funny you get the hell out of there. You can ring me to come pick you up. If there is a group of boys who seem to be up to no good – get out. etc, etc”

    I think that to do anything else would be dereliction of parental duty.
    Taking the approach that ‘The boys shouldn’t do such things” is – as the advert says “you’re dreaming”. It surely is a reasonable attitude to expect that they should behave in a better manner – but that’s not the immediate challenge. The immediate challenge is how to best look after your daughter this weekend.

    Personally my belief is that it would be best that she didn’t go anywhere near these parties and I would have done everything I could to get her involved in other activities so that she gets through to age 20 or even better 25 when she is probably fully developed (in the brain) when she can control her own life. And I did this for both my daughter and my sons. Yes – they did go to the odd party but I gave them the same advice that Ive listed above – which basically was “don’t take any sort of risk”

    So as Ive said above – dont go to parties where (you know before you go there that) there is likely to be trouble.

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