Victim blaming on air
New Zealand is a small country and often has a great sense of community when things happen. It also has a strong talkback radio tradition, where people phone in and talk with the hosts on just about any subject that you can think of.
Some of the facts in this case are startling; A facebook page where young men brag about plying young girls with alcohol and raping them, they call themselves the Roast Busters (not the same at all as the UK company, who are now getting a lot of the fall out). A police force that says they cannot do anything as there is no formal complaint.
As it turns out it was not quite the truth they told. First of all the facebook page, up for quite some time was taken down quickly due to complaints of people aware of it.
Secondly a very brave then 13-year old had made a complaint two years ago. The strong, incredibly brave young woman, now 15, that has made the formal complaint stepped forward again after the story broke. According to her the line of questioning had been along the lines of victim blaming and having to play out the scene with dolls for the police officers. She also states quite rightly that a number of rapes could have been prevented, had the police listened. Rumour has it that they did not think she was a good victim.
3 more young women had stepped forward in the past few years, but no formal complaint.
An official investigation into the police was launched. Lots of high hats are getting involved. The victims? All of a sudden they seem to be less important. The rapists? The men have not been caught yet. They have left their known addresses, somebody is hiding these rapists
And then the outcry over this had another twist.
Two men; radiohosts at RadioLIVE and both former parliamentarians, well known and leaders for some in their specific community, got involved.
A young woman called into their show. She knew the men at the centre of the case and the hosts questioned her about it.
Instead of asking her about these men and their behaviour, they asked her about the drinking and what was she doing at night away from home and how was she dressed. The well known leading victim blaming questions.
Effectively they told the whole of the country; really these girls are to blame for what happened. That the men in question raped 13-year old girls well they simply should not have been drunk, dressed provocatively etc.
But of course they did not see that they had done wrong. These two men, with an example function in their community set the worst example and when they apologized they said they had thought they had been sensitive toward the woman. Sensitive! It is infuriation how they behaved and testament to the fact that victim blaming is alive and kicking.
Did it end there? No. A number of advertisers pulled their ads from the show, strongly condemning their wording. The men had a studio guest telling them on air that they were wrong and victim blaming. People that want to help the victims and a discussion seems to have started. On the bad side the focus has shifted to the Police botch up and away from the real issue; young men raping girls and girls too afraid and scared to step forward.
But for now the reality of what is happening was written down by Wendy Nissen in a wonderful way
For this posts a number of articles from both the NZ Herald (www.nzherald.co.nz) and www.Stuff.co.nz were referenced.Download this post as PDF? Click here