In its handling of the case of the Malaysian Diplomat accused of attempted rape in NZ, the government has marginalised the concerns and sensitivities of the victim. Their own arse covering was given a higher priority. Jan Logie argued that this indicated the government was reinforcing rape culture in their choice of priorities.
Jan Logie’s speech in the urgent debate on the government’s negotiations on the waiving of diplomatic immunity today, addressed some very important, and, at that stage, some relatively marginalised issues.
Near the beginning of her speech, Logie noted (as had David Shearer in his speech), that at that point, the government had not issued an apology to the alleged victim of the robbery and attempted rape. Murray McCully made an apology to John Key first.
Get that? John Key’s senstivities were considered more important. Or is that just another bit of arse covering, by distancing Key from any of the significant decisions made?
Addressing Minister Mc Cully Logie said:
You say, you should have known but you did not know. My question is,” why did you not ask?”
“This is a once in a decade event.” They come – this is your words, Minister. that you’re now disputing, I guess. That sums up some of the confusion we are getting from you on this issue.
And you didn’t even bother to check in. to find out what happened.
If a government was putting victims at the heart of our responses. If we were putting violence prevention at the heart of our responses, that question would have been asked.
Logie was critical of the government’s claim to take issues of violence extremely seriously, for instance, in it’s latest family violence policy.
If they had been serious about stopping inter-personal violence, they wouldn’t have neglected the victim so much in the way they dealt with the Malaysian , diplomatic immunity issue. They would have put the victim at the heart of the way they responded to the alleged crime. Failing to do this was reinforcing rape culture.
Logie argued that, if the government had put the victim at the heart, they would have done everything possible to ensure that the alleged perpetrator was kept in NZ to stand trial. Now it is highly likely that the victim will need to travel to an unfamiliar country to give evidence, far from her home support network.
Some government speakers in the debate, who followed Logie, took offense at her taking a ‘holier than thou’ attitude.
Tim Groser said they take consideration of the victim extremely seriously, as they do the notion of justice for the victim. He criticised “one member” (meaning Logie) for claiming that the government is indifferent to the victim’s situation. He said this was “bordering on the insulting”. Really? They are insulted? And how does that stack up in relation to the feelings of the victim?
In the government’s defense, Groser said they will do whatever is necessary to ensure the victim gets justice. But, what Logie was arguing for, was more than getting “justice”. It was about treating the victim with sensitivity and putting her at the heart of the issue.
[Update] Diplomat to return to NZ
On Stuff, it is reported that,
The diplomat allowed to leave New Zealand after an alleged sexual assault will return to face the charges, the Malaysian Government has announced.
In a statement tonight, it said the former defence staff assistant at the High Commission in Wellington would return to New Zealand to assist in the investigation of charges of burglary and assault with intent to commit rape.
The Malaysian Government said it had informed New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully of the decision.
[Update#2] the survivor of the attempted rape, spoke to Jan Logie]. The survivor has been watching Parliament and is appalled and angry at the focus of government MPs, and the way she has not been listened to.
Ms Logie said the young woman had been watching parliamentary debates on television and was appalled by the focus of discussion about the case.
“Right at the moment she’s running on adrenaline and is angry. She’s been listening to all of these debates where she’s been reduced down to the phrase ‘the victim’. What she sees is the real issue – the fact that the system didn’t listen to her, and has effectively been setting up to deny her justice. She gets the connection to that and a lot of other people’s experience and she’s angry.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) chief executive John Allen apologised to the woman yesterday “for the turmoil that she has had to suffer”.