Two recent examples show New Zealand has a very long way to go in how we treat victims of sexual assault, says PAT PILCHER.
In an age of social media, it is easy to be outraged on a near constant basis. Much of the outrage seen on social media is silly, such as the Gillette nonsense for example. This time around though, anger is spreading, and it is anything but trivial.
Two separate events have come to light that show just how backwards New Zealand is when it comes to how we treat and view victims of sexual assault.
Newshub ran an interview with one of the boys who made up the Roast Busters gang that boasted online of how they were taking advantage with drunk and often underage girls. The interview saw Joseph Parker attempting to say that he wasn’t all that bad, really.
“I’m not here to defend the Roast Busters and make the Roast Busters seem like we were saints because we weren’t, we made a lot of mistakes and did a lot of things wrong… But at the same time, we also weren’t the monsters that everybody thought that we were, and we didn’t do all the things people thought we did,” Parker told Newshub
Lame justifications for the indefensible aside, the interview looks like a thinly disguised promo for music made by Parker. Last month he released a song about the Roast Busters scandal, titled ‘Trophies’.
If you were in any doubt about how much Parker regrets the alleged rapes, check out these lyrics from the first verse of Trophies.
“Just knowin’ I’m entertaining so many people, the praises had me in a frenzy to maintain it, so I’m humiliating females just for the fame, flying the Roast Busters flag higher than a plane.”
Come on Newshub, what were you thinking? Did any of your editorial team bother to look past ratings, click through and other advertising revenues to realise just how utterly insensitive and wrong running this story was? Promoting Parker’s album while his alleged victims are still dealing with the psychological damage and other fallout is nothing short of reprehensible. Isn’t it time that the media acted a little more responsibly?
If that wasn’t bad enough, on Monday, Justice Edwards ordered Mariya Taylor to pay her alleged abuser a whopping $28,000, despite saying that it was ‘likely’ he had assaulted and imprisoned her back in the 1980s. Even though he said the actions of her alleged abuser, Robert Roper, were ‘heinous’, Taylor was ordered to pay her abuser who did not get charged with anything.
The case started when Taylor alleged Roper had abused her, even locking her up. Taylor took the Royal New Zealand Air Force to court. The case got dismissed because of a technicality (the claims were made outside the Limitations Act).
Sadly, even though Roper was tried and convicted of 20 counts of sexual offending against members of his own family and three other women between 1976 and 1988, he was not charged for any alleged abuse against Taylor.
While Taylor probably received terrible legal advice, the decision to force her to pay her attacker is sickening. Surely, the presiding judge could have employed some discretion and ordered Taylor to pay him $1, not $28,000?
Aside from the trauma and financial difficulty Taylor is likely to suffer as a result of the ruling, her case sends all the wrong signals to abuse victims. Many victims, already concerned about being treated like criminals in the courts, are wary of coming forward to report abuse. Given the treatment meted out to Taylor, there is even less incentive for coming forward.