A doctor in Mt Roskill took about a dozen photographs of my body…

It made me feel even more violated.

I never went to Court to testify, even though the doctor promised to support me and be my key witness, because I always felt that I played a contributing role in it all.

It was me who was the one out alone on the street, in the pouring fucking rain, that night at two o’clock in the morning, following an argument with my boyfriend, and I was the one who trusted a complete stranger, simply because she was a female, to go back to a flat and have a joint to mellow out.

It had all been a complete set-up.

These guys… Well, looking back now, they were just kids, no older than my own son, were strung out on drugs, they were all pissed, high, shooting up junk and bragging to one another about their so-called ‘prowess’, so they send this girl they know, out onto the street, to find them a ‘good time,’ someone they can fuck around with, humiliate, beat up, fuck up, spit on and piss on.

It was two o’clock in the morning. I’d had a fight with a boyfriend of mine at the time, he’d hit me, so I’d taken off from this party, out onto the street. I sat, wet, cold, trembling in the rain, smoking a cigarette in this stinking, seedy, graffiti-tagged bus shelter on Mt Albert Road, only I wasn’t crying, I was shaking from both the cold and anger.

That’s when this girl came along, saw how upset I looked, and sat down to have a smoke with me.

We get to talking…

Like girls do.

I used to be able to talk to girls back then, you know, talk about guys, clothes, make up and all of that other superficial kind of shit that girls rave on about.

But after that night… I found it hard to ever trust a female again.

So anyway, we start talking and I tell her about this asshole of a boyfriend of mine who’s in a band, and how he thinks he’s fucking Jesus or god’s gift to women or something, because he goes to church, puts out that he’s really nice and respectable, but then beats the shit out of me behind closed doors…

Somewhere during the conversation way, she asked me if I wanted to go back to ‘her place’ to share a joint, to chill out and listen to some music, she told me I could stay there for the night, that it’d be safer than staying out on the street in the dark…

So I went with her.

She leads me back to a house filled with heroin junkies and freaked out speedsters who are all higher, harder and hornier than kites.

(I don’t think specific details of what happened there are really needed here at this point… They wouldn’t serve any more purpose than to perhaps turn some sicko out there on, so I wont say anything specifically about what happened in between…)

But when all was said and done…

Just as I was leaving, staggering towards the door, holding what I could find left of my clothes in my hand, I reached out for the door handle, standing there, naked, cut, bruised and bleeding, when one of the guys who had been one of a dozen who had raped me, came up to me and said,

“Come back any time you want to…”

He said it in this weak, whisper of a pathetic, little voice, like he was kind of choking on the words, the same way that I’d been choking on his cock and cum earlier…

And I thought to myself…

What the fuck???

What kind of sick moron, rapes, beats and pisses on you – and then goes and tells you to come back for more???

Such is the way rapists intentionally confuse their victims, to make them feel like they were consenting, as they coldly premeditate possible consequences and court procedures.

Suddenly, the same guy mumbled something that sounded like “I’m Sorry, I wish I was dead” and he exploded into fits of sobs…

I can remember feeling dazed, putting my arms around him, I was all bloody, bruised, soaked in piss and broken up, I held onto him for what seemed like the longest time, we both cried.

I couldn’t understand why I found myself suddenly sympathising with one of my rapists.

The guy died of a drug overdose less than a month later.

I supposed that at least one of the rapists had a conscience.

Despite my doctors’ advice and support, I never did report the rape, I had little trust in the police or System itself to believe me, and I couldn’t handle being raped by the entire, judicial system all over again.

What also made it hard for me to report the incident, was that the rapists lived just around the corner from me, I would often see them around the Mt Albert shops on a regular basis.

All I could think about at the time is, “What if I didnt… Or hadn’t..”

Woulda coulda shoulda.

Even today, I still don’t trust the police and judicial system to do the right thing by rape victims, and to be honest, I don’t think putting young guys, such as the ones who raped me back then, into prison, will make anything any safer for potential rape victims in the long term.

Prison usually fosters angrier, more bitter and more skilled criminals.

One message I would give to any young males out there, drugs and binge drinking ISN’T cool, and rape is FAR from fucking cool, so get your shit sorted out, before a female, stronger, and more assertive than I was at the time, sorts it out for you, one way or another.

I’m not sure what the answer is insofar as resolving Rape Culture, it’s not as if it’s something new that’s just popped up over recent years, if anything, it’s simply part of a wider context of societal violence and disrespect, and not solely towards women.

I could argue that Capitalism itself, at least in part, is to blame, for it’s a system that depends on exploitation, marginalisation and oppression, and people who are marginalised, oppressed and exploited to such an extent, often try to regain power by DISempowering others and escape it all with booze and drugs.

Then we have those families, where there are no male role models for young boys, solo mums, struggling to raise their sons alone, in a society where many condemn them instead of support them, which always, invariable, starts from the ‘Top’ down.

So yes, I DO think there are aspects of Capitalism which play fundamental roles in the erosion of a dignified, respectful society, although, as complex as human behaviour and society are, I don’t think these are the sole contributors.

How realistic is it however, to tell young girls and guys not to take drugs? Not to binge drink? Not to commit acts of promiscuity or violence?

I know I didn’t listen to any of that kind of stuff when I was that age.Perhaps what’s more important is that we take care of the fundamental elements that can help restore human dignity and respect for Self and others?

Ensure that everyone has food, shelter, time to mentor and raise their children without financial pressure and stress?

Maybe the breakdown isn’t to do with a breakdown in ethics, but is more to do with a breakdown in basic living standards?

It’s hard for parents to raise their kids effectively, or sustain a marriage, under a Capitalist government that continually penalises society’s most vulnerable, instead of supports them.

I wish protecting young people from rape, or even from BEING a rapist, was as easy as saying, “Respect yourself and others”.

But it isn’t.

Because respect is something that needs to be FELT, not ‘Taught’, and is conducive to a society which fosters the essentials needed to feel safe and dignified.

I don’t know what I’d say or do differently today, than I did all of those years ago when I was a teenager, particularly when we live in a society where the pressures, both economically and politically, have become greater, not lesser.

Maybe a new Council or organisation could be formed, where rape survivors AND rapists who feel genuine remorse, come up with the solutions?

I know that at least one of  the young guys who raped me and O’D’d shortly afterwards, definitely felt remorse.

Ultimately though, I believe we need a whole new System that treats people fairly, equitably and humanely.

How do you ‘teach’ respect?

You can’t.

You create it.