Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the NZME. News Service office in Wellington.

Roast Busters scandal: Misogynistic attitudes 'endemic' in NZ

Joseph Parker (left) and Beraiah Hales are members of the Roast Busters
Joseph Parker (left) and Beraiah Hales are members of the Roast Busters

Sexual abuse support groups, anti-violence campaigners and health practitioners have spoken out in support of victims and to condemn violence against females, in the wake of the Roast Busters revelations.

Women's Refuge chief executive Heather Henare said it was "patently clear" a lot of work needed to be done to shift attitudes around women, rape, appropriate sexual relationships, violence and misogyny.

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

Do you have more information about the Roast Busters group? Email us here.

Ms Henare said she was appalled that she still heard 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."

The development manager for sexual violence survivor counselling organisation Help, Harriet Sewell, said the young women who were allegedly victims of the Roast Busters group had gone through the abuse twice, "both the alcohol facilitated sexual assault and then having it made visible for anyone to see".

Judge Peter Boshier, who chairs the anti-violence campaign White Ribbon said the misogynistic attitudes of the group of young men were "endemic" in New Zealand.

"They result in the 3500 convictions against men for assaults on women and the ultimately cost the lives of 14 women a year who are killed by their partners or ex-partners.''

While most men were not violent, most violence was perpetrated by men, Judge Boshier said.

"We know that one of the best ways to change behaviour is to change social norms. Right now, far too many people still think that violence is acceptable. And in too many cases, their friends and colleagues don't speak up.

"It is that silence that leads men to believe violence is okay. The Roast Buster group is an example of behaviour that was allowed to continue, drawing in other young men and encouraging further repugnant behaviour."

Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care deputy chairwoman Cathy Stephenson said about one in four New Zealand women would experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.

It was estimated that only 10 per cent of those affected would seek help.

"We would encourage anyone who has been sexually assaulted, young or old, male or female, to approach someone for help, regardless of whether they want the police involved or not," Dr Stephenson said.

Meanwhile, last night 3 News reported on a website created to entrap adult men attempting to contact young girls for sexual reasons.

The website identified 39 New Zealand men who attempted to contact underage girls.

Founder of the Stop Demand Foundation, Denise Ritchie said it was particularly concerning was that within many of those chats was a clearly stated intention for a meeting to take place.

Police have been "spoon-fed" details, including contact details, about those men, Ms Ritchie said.

"The obvious question is: what steps have the police taken to investigate these men?"

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 01 Nov 2014 01:56:38 Processing Time: 501ms