Citizens in New Zealand are outraged by the handling of the case involving a group known as “Roast Busters,” whose members allegedly gang-raped drunk and underage girls and then bragged about it online.
A petition demanding justice for the young women who have been victimized in the case of the so-called “rape club” was signed by more than 100,000 people and was handed to the New Zealand parliament on Thursday, reported Al Jazeera, which also noted that according to 3 News, a police spokesman initially claimed they were aware of the group, but had not begun prosecution because no alleged victims had made formal statements.
However, it was later reported that at least two victims had gone to the police in 2011. One of them was quoted as saying the police “asked a lot of questions about what I was wearing, and I went out in a skirt.” The police later confirmed that four girls had come forward in 2011 and 2012.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Peter Marshall initially defended the police’s treatment of the victims and its handling of the case, but later acknowledged that the police could have done a better job dealing with the publicity around the case, and a veteran detective has since been appointed to lead a multi-agency probe into the case.
The Roast Busters are a group of West Auckland youths, understood to be aged 17 and 18, who allegedly had group sex with drunk teenage girls and bragged about it online, according to stuff.co.nz.
Auckland mother Jessie Hume, who delivered the petition, said that the government had not taken the Roast Busters case seriously enough.
“One in four women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime,” Hume stated. “John Key was elected promising to give victims of crime ‘the support they deserve’ and yet a third of sexual violence victims services have been forced to cut support and staff due to government funding cuts.”
Police now say they are “making steady progress” in the investigation into the Roast Busters case and are speaking with a number of girls.
TVNZ also reported that thousands of protesters concerned about sexual violence took to the streets last week to vent their anger in the wake of the Roast Busters scandal.