In which CK Stead comments on “this embarrassing delirium” about the Roastbusters. His first paragraph refers, I think, to the Mazengarb Report of 1954. I cannot claim to have read all of that report, but am pretty sure it didn’t cover 16-year-old boys getting 13-year-old girls drunk so they could rape them.
Roast Busters delirium
I have arrived back after two months overseas to find New Zealand in a state of collective hysteria similar to a time I remember in the 1950s when the nation discovered that teenagers at Hutt Valley High were engaging in sex in their lunch breaks – with the difference, however, that it is now more or less universally accepted that if sex occurs between minors and there is anything unlawful, immoral or otherwise distasteful about it, the male is entirely to blame, and the female a victim.
The police are being harried and bullied to press charges they do not believe they have sufficient evidence to sustain; and in the nation’s present state of mind, it is hard to see how any young person brought to trial could get a fair hearing or a just outcome. The press, radio and television should stop encouraging this embarrassing delirium.
We should all step back, cool down, and stop sounding off as if the bad behaviour of the young has come upon us like the revelation of something new. It is time to change the subject.
Eleanor Catton comments on Twitter:
Rape culture is: people who want to shut down conversations about rape. From a NZ writer, this is disgusting.UPDATE 2
Charlotte Grimshaw writes in the Comments below:
CK Stead’s letter sets out an incorrect definition of the issue and then calls for the argument to be closed down. The issue is not, as he describes it, a moral panic about teenagers having sex. Everyone knows teenagers have sex. It is legitimate public revulsion to men bragging on line about having sex with drunk young women without their consent. The issue is consent. Sex without consent is not simply bad teenage behaviour, it is rape.