As if we needed any more evidence that victims of sexual assault and rape are often dismissed and marginalized by surrounding culture in countries all over the world, the "Roast Busters" story emerged from New Zealand this week.
Hilary Whiteman reported for CNN:
Police in New Zealand say they're powerless to arrest two boys who've caused outrage with online boasts about raping underage girls too drunk to fight back.
The alleged offenses happened two years ago but were only made public this week after local media came across a Facebook site, which named and "slut-shamed" girls the boys had allegedly attacked.
But wait, it gets worse.
After days of insisting no formal complaints had been made about a teen gang calling themselves the "Roast Busters," New Zealand police now admit a 13-year-old girl made a rape allegation two years ago.
The girl, now 15, told 3 News on Wednesday that police officers asked her to re-enact the alleged rape using dolls during a videotaped interview in 2011. "It was traumatizing," she said.
Many questions still surround this case. To what extent were the police aware of the boys' activity? How about their school, Green Bay High? Principal Morag Hutchinson told Anna Leask at the New Zealand Herald that the club, specifically the actions of one of the boys, Beraiah Hales, had been "brought to our attention" in spring of 2012. But somehow the raping and slut shaming continued for a year and a half. HOW?!
Unfortunately, the idea that a group of boys would form a slut-shaming rape club is not as surprising as it should be. But the fact that at least one victim was brave enough to come forward and the boys' school - and the police - did nothing, allowing the club to continue to claim victim after victim, is unthinkable.
This failure to act is the worst result in recent memory of the "boys will be boys" mindset that is so deeply pervasive. Our hearts are with the victims in New Zealand, but that's not enough. As it unfolds, this case must serve as an example to educators, parents, police forces, and communities on an international scale so this type of horrific tragedy doesn't happen again.