Why do so many rapes go unreported?

By -
4 comments
One woman shares her harrowing tale of being sexually assaulted on three different occasions and asks why so many cases go unreported.
File photo: Thinkstock
File photo: Thinkstock

The first time it happened he was 18 years old and my friend's boyfriend.

I was 15 years old and a naive virgin who trusted him. On the false premise of picking up his friend on the way to dropping me home he locked me in the room and raped me.

On an otherwise pleasant Sunday afternoon, no alcohol involved, the offer of ride home by a trusted person, and I didn't tell anyone.

Not my parents, not my friends and certainly not the police.

The second time it happened he was in his early 30s, a business owner, separated from his wife and a father.

I was in my mid-30s, now a divorced mother with three sons, studying extra-murally, in part-time paid work and doing part-time voluntary work too.

He was a friend of my ex-husband and my "replacement" so at the end of a great night out with a group of people, I offered him one of the kids' beds to sleep in instead of him driving, drunk.

It's what responsible people do isn't it? Except he bear-hugged me from behind, picked me up and put me on my own bed.

Talking my way out of it didn't work, inflicting pain on him didn't work either.
He said he enjoyed pain.

He eventually left, I called a girlfriend, another rape survivor, and she took care of me that day.

She got my ex-husband to come round, leaving the boys with their stepmother, and despite our divorce and turbulent history, my ex was awesome.

I did get a policeman to chase this one although he was never charged.

It was important to me that he was made to understand what he'd done was wrong.

As it turned out, he told the policeman he'd been watching me for 10 years, from when my ex and I were first together, through our marriage, the births, the divorce.

A stalker I never knew I had until he hurt me.

The third time it happened I was 52, he was in his mid-40s, father of an adult daughter whom he'd never lived with and we'd had a dozen or so years of multiple attempts at a relationship.

Things would get better, then backslide to the default of philosophical and emotional incompatibility, even though there had been some good times along the way, too.

In the space of a week his brooding thoughts and growing anger went unnoticed by me as I'd been at the hospital every day with my son, the victim of an unprovoked attack.

The day after my son was discharged I spent time with my friends in the afternoon, celebrating the huge achievement I'd had a week previously, the same day my son was hospitalised, and went to bed before sunset, exhausted from the week's events.

I was woken at 1am by him clearly saying, "I'm going to rape you" and other horrible things.

From a dead-sleep to high alert in a split-second.

My immediate thought was "WTF, why is this happening ... again?!".

So why am I wanting this horrible history published?

Because far too many people have blamed the victims.

What they're wearing (or not), what booze or drugs they've had, why they were out at all, the list is endless and cruelly misdirected.

It happened to me in three distinctly different situations, at different ages and stages of my life and by three completely different men - all known to me.

I did not seek this "baggage", it was imposed on me.

I have not sought, nor will ever receive, justice through the "injustice" system, starting with the police.

I have no faith whatsoever that in any of the three cases the matters would bring me anything other than misery and pain.

There are 1000s of "me" in New Zealand and it's time for a massive cultural shift to begin, perhaps running alongside the cultural shift that needs to happen around alcohol consumption too. They're linked but not a cause and effect.

It starts with examining the "iceberg" of sexual assaults not being reported because most aren't.

Better equipping our children and ourselves through education and awareness programmes.

It's about ages, stages and appropriate boundaries. It's a shame many of the Law Commission's recommendations, especially the switch to an inquisitorial style of court, were rejected by the current Government.

Then, just maybe, I might have wanted to use it to bring my three assailants to account for themselves.

* The writer is a Hawke's Bay community worker who has asked that her name not be used. She is known to the editor

For more articles from this region, go to

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 27 Nov 2014 18:15:18 Processing Time: 693ms