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Women's Refuge challenges NZ’s victim blaming culture

Women's Refuge challenges NZ’s victim blaming culture

"It is patently clear that the recent revelations around the Roast Busters group in Auckland show we have a lot of work to do to shift attitudes around women, rape, appropriate sexual relationships, violence and misogyny," says Women's Refuge Chief Executive Heather Henare.

"The past few days have shown us that many segments of our society including within the Police and even within some media insitutations have a dominant culture of victim blaming," she says.

"In this instance it is regarding sexual violence offending. However, at Women's Refuge we hear examples of women who are made to feel responsible for his acts of domestic violence.”

Ms Henare said she was appalled that she still hears people trying to excuse rape. "It doesn't matter what she wears or what she had been drinking. The issue here is about young men having sex with women who did not consent. How such a simple concept can cause such confusion staggers me."

"It is astounding that the Police knew about the Roast Busters Facebook site since 2011 and did not act to shut the site down. It is also difficult to comprehend, that despite up to four complaints, and a raft of vile and self incriminating evidence on the Roast Busters site, the Police decided that they did not have enough evidence to take the matter any further."

Claims by a young victim this week that she was belittled and treated inappropriately by the police when she complained are distressing says Ms Henare. "What does this tell victims of sexual violence? Do we want women to come forward or not?"

Ms Henare encouraged victims of sexual and domestic violence to continue to report what has happened to them and also to seek support and advocacy from organisations like Rape Crisis and Women’s Refuge.


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