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Rape Awareness Week 1-8 May 2008

Rape Awareness Week 1-8 May 2008

This week we are raising awareness on the plight of boys and men living with us in our communities across New Zealand who are survivors of
Drug Assisted Sexual Assault (DASA)

DASA involves the use of drugs, in particular alcohol, to remove the ability of a person to give or refuse to give consent to sexual activity.

International research results indicate that sexual assault has occurred to at least 16% of men (Struckman-Johnson 1988, cited in Davies 2002), so it will have happened to at least one out of every seven New Zealand men, but isn’t their silence overwhelming?

Without a doubt, DASA can cause extreme human suffering but if male survivors raise the flag on what’s happened they then run the risk of also becoming targets of homophobia (if the perpetrator is male) and social exclusion. Thus it is presumed that a male victim is far less likely to report the crime or even disclose the assault to friends and family, instead choosing to exist and suffer within the walls of silence.

It is imperative that male victims of DASA are understood and supported by friends and family so they can report the crimes to the police and ensure justice occurs. In some case this has occurred, as evidenced by the very brave men who have reported these crimes to the Police in an effort to seek convictions of the rapists (ref: Sturm case).

The next area of high concern is the lack of co-ordinated and easily accessible male recovery programmes. There is no excuse for what is happening to male survivors in New Zealand and we are appalled at what we have observed.

In reality, the true incidence of DASA suffered by New Zealanders, male or female, is unknown and we urgently need to address this with research.

We know these crimes are definitely occurring in our communities and we call on government to:
- co-ordinate the funding of full, easily accessed, co-ordinated, expert, recovery programme for male survivors;
- fund a research programme, based on international models, to identify, across all genders, the occurrence of these crimes in New Zealand.


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