The challenges teens face was brought home to me by the recent Roast Busters’ case.

As many of you know I’m settled in New Zealand – one of the safest countries to live in, right? I’ll leave you with the facts of the case and let you decide. The fb page was started in 2011. Two years later, in November 2013, an outraged and revulsed NZ public discovered it. They wondered why nothing had been done by the police for two whole years. According to the initial reports the police said their hands were tied because none of the girls had made a formal complaint. The news hit the headlines when one of the victims went to a television station with the fact that, in fact, she had. In 2011. The girl, aged 13 at the time of the rape says the police indicated that she went out in clothes that were pretty much “asking for it.” Sound familiar? She also said the police indicated there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed with laying charges. More facts started coming out. Not only did that young girl make a formal complaint on video in 2011, three more girls had come forward since then. Then, another jolt. One of those boys was a policeman’s son. What is slightly reassuring in NZ is that the actions of the police have had consequences thanks to the media, top politicians and the public. This is perhaps the silver lining that gives a glimmer of hope that the system still works. Here’s how the news media have been grilling the police for not registering the case earlier. This particular interview is by the brilliant Kathryn Ryan of Radio NZ National and worth a listen. She asks the questions you know you would like answers to and you can’t help but appreciate the way she isn’t easily deflected or confused by the answers of the police representative. The second part of Kathryn’s interview is with Dr. Cathy Stevenson who works in the sexual assault service in Wellington. One clarification Cathy makes is worth noting. She says that knowledge and understanding of “consent” or “the ethical consensual sexual experience” is hugely varied. Sexual experience you don’t want to happen or you are unable to consent to because you are incapacitated, intoxicated, drunk or have mental illness – is considered sexual assault in NZ. The way the “trained” police handled this case made a few people wonder if, in future, other victims might hesitate to come forward. The police made assuring noises but in this case their actions spoke far louder than their words. Here’s a damning article on the number of laws that they could have used against the Roast Busters. Last, there are scores of marches, protests and petitions by the public. As in India, the public won’t let the matter disappear off their radar screen. They have the media on their side and top politicians are eager to be seen to do the right thing. This is what the police are facing The Police Minister has summoned Peter Martial , the Police commissioner, to demand an explanation as to why a formal complaint wasn’t lodged and, the IPCA - Independent Police Conduct Authority of New Zealand – has been asked to look into the interview with the victim. There already is training for police sensitivity while dealing with a rape case and why that mechanism failed in this case is being probed. why formal charges weren’t laid and most damning of all whether the father of one of the accused was part of the initial investigation in 2011. It would be a huge problem for the police if he had.

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