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Would Bradford support an apology from CYFS to families – or does one have to be raped to be a “true” victim?

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on March 11, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Would Bradford support an apology from CYFS to families – or does one have to be raped to be a “true” victim?
Sunday, 11.03.2007, 06:51pm (GMT12)

Women protesting against the treatment of rape cases by police and the courts were met by a thin blue line of women police officers in Wellington yesterday.

The move was an attempt to defuse potential trouble by presenting the female face of modern policing, the force said.

But it appeared to anger some of the 200 marchers who later burned an effigy of a policeman outside the capital’s High Court.

The front door to the Central Police Station, just around the corner from the march’s start point in Civic Square, was protected by a line of women officers. Some marchers accused male police of hiding behind their female colleagues.

Wellington city police area commander Inspector Peter Cowan said: “What I was trying to get through to them was that the group of police officers that I had out the front of the building is the face of the New Zealand police, 2007.

“These young women are motivated, they are talented, and they are the face of policing in the 21st century – not going back 30-odd years when most of my staff were not even born … I think it defused a lot of their anger.”

 

Inspector Cowan said 30 per cent of Wellington district staff were women, and so many women would not work for police if it still had the culture the marchers were demonstrating against.

Anger flared when one of the protesters detailed her own experiences of sexual assault and rape. She then tried to present her written statement to police, and became agitated when Mr Cowan initially refused to accept it.

“That was a publicity stunt,” Mr Cowan said.

Similar marches, which coincided with International Women’s Day, were also held in Auckland and Christchurch.

In Auckland more than 250 people gathered at Aotea Square for a rally before marching down Queen St.

Although most were young to middle-aged women, plenty of men, children and the elderly showed their support.

The range of reasons for attending varied greatly. Some people felt suspended Auckland District Commander Clint Rickards should not be reappointed, despite his acquittal on sex charges. Others wanted to support rape victims in general while others called for changes to the law so juries could be told about any previous convictions for people accused of sex crimes.

One 37-year-old rape victim said she felt totally let down by the justice system when she faced her alleged rapist in court 15 years ago and he was acquitted of the charges.

“I was put on trial as a victim.” She said she was cross-examined it felt like they found her guilty.

The Green Party expressed its support for the marchers. Social services spokeswoman Sue Bradford, herself a rape survivor, said: “Some form of public apology and acceptance of guilt by the police for what has happened seems necessary.”

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