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We Support Louise Nicholas March

28 April 2006

Not Above Law - We Support Louise Nicholas March

Auckland University students hope there is public support for Rape Awareness Week (1-7 May). To mark the week a "We Support Louise Nicholas March" will be held on Sunday 30 April at 2.00 pm from Queen Elizabeth Square. The march will proceed up Queen Street to Aotea Square.

There will be speakers from Rape Crisis and Auckland Sexual Abuse Help Foundation and others. The march is a way to give those unhappy with the outcome of the Louise Nicholas case a platform to express their concerns.

Auckland University Students' Association (AUSA) President Dan Bidois says that AUSA has had a long and valued history in support of raising the general awareness of rape violence in our community.

"AUSA recognises that rape is a tool through which men keep women in a state of fear and that the fear of rape and the act of rape seriously affects women's freedom and control of their lives," Mr Bidois commented.

New Zealand has some of the most stringent suppression laws in the common law world. There is a perception that suppression orders are being used to protect the rich, famous or powerful while others must battle for name suppression. Rape complainants must have enough confidence in the justice system to come forward.

"Only about 27% of all rapes reported to the Auckland Rape Crisis centre in 1999 were reported to the police. AUSA hopes the awareness week will help to lift the negative stigma surrounding rape and sexual assault in an effort to encourage rape victims to step forward," Mr Bidois added.

"AUSA supports the principle behind the March as it aims also to raise the awareness of it," Mr Bidois said.

ENDS

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