7 November 2013
Karl Marx once said famously that the thing to learn from history is that people do not.
That certainly seems to be the case with the Police when it comes to dealing with sexual abuse matters. During 2006-07 we had the trials of former Police officers on historical rape charges, which led to the highly critical Bazley Report in 2007. As a consequence, we were led to believe that the Police had ‘turned the corner”, not just in terms of their own culture, but also in how they dealt with sexual abuse cases generally.
And we were inclined to believe that, more or less. Until early this week, at least, and the ghastly Roastbusters revelations. Now it appears that the Police had received at least four complaints about this gang as early as 2011, but had done very little about them.
How could this be? Especially after the Bazley Report? No doubt these thoughts are all racing through the Police Commissioner’s mind as he faces one of the most feared events known to humankind – a dressing down from his Minister Judith Collins!
RadioLive hosts Willie Jackson and John Tamihere provided the answers in their disgraceful interview with one of the young women involved. The ridicule and scorn they heaped upon her is symptomatic of the way the Police and wider society still deal with sexual abuse claims, particularly from women. Remember the recent comments by Sir Bob Jones on the two young German tourists?
Too many men still have a remarkably patronising attitude towards women – perhaps borne of their own insecurity and feelings of in adequacy. They still see women as wily temptresses, leading poor males on, who then complain when things go too far, or when they do not go far enough. Either way, it is their fault, and they are either making things up, or being vindictive, so their complaints are discounted accordingly. The Police and the wider community are no different in their attitudes in hat respect.
Well, it is time for those men to get a life. Until their awkward, unacceptable, ambivalent attitude towards inappropriate sexual behaviour against women is widely and consistently denounced for the degrading abuse it is, nothing much will change, sadly.
That is where we all have a responsibility to act.