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The growing rape culture must be stopped

The recent report of a rape case involving two young men who believed that they should not be charged with rape because their victim was comatose and that they did not act violently, highlights a culture that will alarm New Zealanders and reinforce the ongoing call for action that is being ignored by the Government

Their attitude was deeply concerning. The young woman was further humiliated by others who came into the room by looking at her and touching her. The whole situation showed a culture in which attitudes, devoid of an understanding of respect and consent, are prevalent.

Like all New Zealanders, Labour takes the issue of sexual violence very seriously. The personal, social and economic costs of sexual offending are huge. In this recent case, the Judge described the ‘devastating’ effect on the young woman with long term consequences.

Comprehensive Package

Labour is working at a comprehensive and long term package aimed at making New Zealand a world leader in reducing sexual offending.

There are however changes that can and should be made immediately.

These measures are backed by hard evidence and are well overdue.

These changes include urgent attention to implementing and resourcing the recommendations of the (Dame Margaret) Bazley Report submitted in 2007 on police conduct.

The Police must also ensure that they are adequately resourced to implement any possible recommendations following the Independent Police Conduct Authority investigation into the recent Roast Busters case.

More funding should be provided for the vital support services that assist both survivors and perpetrators of sexual violence.

Funding Increase

This recent case reinforces the critical need that more funding is provided for rape prevention, including education in schools to dispel rape myths and promote respect and consent. In Auckland for example, due to funding constraints, less than 50% are reached by such programmes.

National is taking too long to act; it has merely restored some of the funding cuts it made in 2009. The Government must act to prevent sexual violence and ensure that it is dealt with rationally and compassionately.

Reducing sexual violence must be a priority. Unfortunately, the Government has failed to respond to the issue appropriately.

Carol Beaumont is a Member of Parliament on Labour List and the Party’s Spokesperson for Womens Affairs

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