I come from a long line of die-hard Labour supporters. My sisters and I all cried for joy when Helen Clark was elected. When I was 10, I went on a hikoi with a Labour sign, and I held it up proudly for 8 hours – long past when all their MPs had all gone home.
And I can still remember the pure joy of ticking LABOUR, when I could finally vote at 18.
It’s fair to say that I’m a Labour superfan. But I am never voting Labour, ever again.
I am just SO hurt, heartbroken, APPALLED, that Willie Jackson, who blamed a 14 year old for being gang raped for the infamous Roast Busters affair, is being put forward by the Labour Party.
Roast Busters, in case you haven’t heard, was when a group of 16 and 17 year olds boasted online about raping a bunch of 12, 13 and 14 year old girls. The case was so bungled by police that charges were never pressed.
Willie, a radio presenter on a hit show listened to by hundreds of thousands of people across NZ talked to one of the girls who was raped when she was 14. He and his co-host asked her “hilarious” questions like when she’d lost her virginity, told her she shouldn’t have been drinking anyway. Tamihere, Jackson’s equally vile co-host, asked the girl he was interviewing when she lost her virginity: “How free and easy are you kids these days out there? You know, like you were 14, yeah?”
The girl said she was a friend of one of the Roast Busters’ victims. Jackson told her the girls in the case “shouldn’t be drinking anyway” and claimed that since some of the girls had consented, the boys couldn’t be considered rapists.
“No, but if they’re still raping other girls then it does make them rapists,” replied the girl. Labour’s future MP, Jackson then pondered whether rape was even possible if the boys were “good looking”, and the hosts moved on to suggest that girls who consented to sex would now “line up” to say they were raped as well.
Willie, the future representative of our people, didn’t reflect on what happened – he was FORCED to apologise when the public outcry led to his radio station losing sponsors. He didn’t even apologise to the girl he interviewed.
His fauxpology, even now, was that he took a “devil’s advocate” position. Apparently New Zealanders want Jackson’s”alternative perspective” – that 13 year olds should expect to be raped at parties.
What does it say that this man is being held us a leader to the 1 in 3 girls who may be sexually abused before their 16th birthday in NZ? To the 1 in 7 boys and the 20% of women who are raped?
It says – we don’t care about you. It say -we’ll put someone in a position of power who has belittled someone who’s been hurt just like you. We’ll ignore the past of someone who has taunted and shamed you, disbelieved and traumatised you, who has thrown you to the wolves as an object of ridicule – who’s done that, even after someone’s violated your body and hurt you in unspeakable ways.
A man who is potentially our future Prime Minister is holding this man up and saying – here is the man I want you to vote for. This is a man who represents you and will speak on your behalf.
Can I just repeat – this is a man in a position of power who’s openly taunted a girl who was sexually abused, on an incredibly popular radio station. And we’re all expected to think that this is OK.
I’m speaking out for the 1 the 3 girls, the 1 in 7 boys. For the survivors who don’t come forward to report their rapists because no one will believe them.
I won’t support a party that upholds a man who blames sexual abuse survivors for being assaulted. I won’t support Andrew Little or Labour party for nominating him into that position of power.
We deserve better. That’s not the party I support. That’s not the New Zealand I want for me, or for anyone else to grow up in.
Survivors have incredible strength – they have to deal with this sh*t every day. They shouldn’t have to. New Zealanders like you and me stand behind them and show Labour and NZ policy makers that we expect those who lead us to be people of integrity.
If you want to make a change that will actually help sexual abuse survivors, instead of blaming them for something that was 100% the offender’s fault, there are things you can do.
Write to your local Labour MP. Speak up when you hear the Willies of the world, and tell them where to go. If someone tells you they’ve been sexually abused, have their back and BELIEVE them.
And support survivors by donating to the charities that are helping the girls that are hurt in cases like Roast Busters every single day like HELP Auckland, Wellington HELP, Aviva in Christchurch, or Rape Crisis Dunedin who work 24/7 to help survivors heal and end sexual violence.