They threaten their victims with exposure.

Here is yet another example in an expanding list of young males who act like sociopathic predators because they know they will be supported in their actions. We have the Roast Busters of Auckland, New Zealand. I’m at work and don’t have the spare hours to do a lot of analysis, so I’ll quote the salient parts here and encourage you to follow the link to read the rest:

Last month sketchy details were reported that two 18 year old young men were charged with the rape of a 17 year old young woman in New Plymouth. And that one of these young men along with a third man was charged with filming it.

This week we know that was not an isolated case. A group of Auckland boys who call themselves ‘roast busters’ have been busted themselves for their sexual exploits with young girls. TV3 News showed video footage (from the group’s Facebook) of Beraiah Hales and Joseph Parker promoting ‘roasting’ – form of sexual conquest that is juvenile in design and likely devastating in impact for the girls involved. The boys describe intentionally targeting young girls for something that involves two of them penetrating the girl orally and vaginally at the same time: “two or more guys.. one dick in pussy one mouth and if there’s more then two guys then you use your hands too [sic]” (as Hales explains it on ask.fm).

TV3 reports that on their Facebook page they apparently posted videos naming the girls they ‘roasted’. The page was operating for five months until a complaint from TV3. Many girls are also named and discussed in intimate detail on ask.fm. Parker’s site was disabled today. Hopefully Hales’ will be soon – not only does it contain copious potentially harmful revelations about girls he knows, but it is incriminating. Rape comes up a lot on Hales’ site – in places he jokes about raping, in places he says they don’t rape (“I don’t need to”). They describe having sex with girls who are too intoxicated to consent. Hales repeatedly admits to having sex with girls as young as 13. The boys also talk about ‘gang banging’ girls. Someone asked Hales: “how many dudes have you done a gang bang with at one time”. Answer: “like 7 hahahahahh” (4 months ago, ask.fm). Another question: “how many girls have you banged”. Answer: “4”.

Commentators in the sexual violence and sexuality fields like Kim McGregor from Rape Prevention Education and Francis Bird from Family Planning, have talked about the importance of the concept of consent. It’s not really a very radical or complicated idea, the idea that if two (or more) people have sex, everyone should be into it. Yet the boys don’t seem to get this, and have an archaic idea of consent. To the question “how would u get a girl? into bed [sic]”, Hales jokes (presumably?) “Chloroform” (4 months ago, ask.fm). Asked “How do you manage to a [sic] girl into roasting, coming from a wannabe roaster. ;p”, Parker offers detailed guidelines:

99% of girls that we roast say “ew I would never roast I think its yuck”

what you need to know is girls dont mean what they say half the tiem.

you just have to get them in the rame of mind that roasting is nothing major and they will love it blah blah, or you can just take the Down low route and just have 1 get with her normally an once they are doing they thang the other just creeps on over and trys to roast (keeping in mind you both MUST flirt an hit on her prior to all this going down) [sic] (4 months ago, 5 people like it, ask.fm)

On the similar theme of the challenge of getting a girl to do something they might reasonably be expected to resist, someone asked Hales “how did the gang bang come about? please just explain haha like did she ask, did you suggest it..were you all in the room and all were horny like how did it start [sic]”, to which he responded “just got her drunk ;) ” (4 months ago, ask.fm). Kim McGregor from Rape Prevention Education, like other commentators, have already said this sounds like rape.

Mainstream and social media have been full of condemnation of these boys. Also widely criticized has been the lack of effective police action in stopping them. Police have known about the group since 2011, but Detective Inspector Bruce Scott claims the police have been impotent to stop it: “without actual evidence my hands are tied”. The boys have been spoken to and warned, he says, “and been told their behaviour is verging on criminal, if not criminal”. Scott’s constant reference to the need for a “brave girl” to be willing to make a formal complaint before they can act is irritating, at best. Girls who have been abused by these boys are probably facing every day with courage. Reading what Hales and Parker write on ask.fm and the questions put to them builds a picture of a toxic culture for girls in those peer networks. The boys give an impression (probably a false facade) of Teflon coated masculinities – powerful, wilful and invulnerable. They set themselves up with a platform to pronounce some girls as mates, some as desirable (to “fuck” or to be in a relationship with), and others as roast-worthy. “We don’t roast girls that we think of as friends” (4 months ago, ask.fm) (Hales). Questions are asked of Hales about intimate details of particular girls’ bodies and what they’ve done sexually and how it was judged to have been. Sometimes he doesn’t tell, many times he does. This degree of public surveillance and judgement couldn’t help but create an intimidating social environment for girls.

Reading their arrogant misogynist bravado and knowing what it is claimed they have done to girls, it is difficult not to find them despicable. It would be comforting if we could believe that they were mad or bad individuals, because it is more manageable to think about how we can fix that. At the same time, it’s clear that they are part of a community in which they are not universally seen as ‘beyond the pale’. On ask.fm there are as many, maybe more, lovers than there are haters. And, from what you can tell, as many girls as boys warm to or admire them. In response to the question “What is a saying you say a lot?” Hales replies “Go ahead, Call the cops. They can’t un-rape you” (7 months ago). 19 people ‘liked’ that.

Making a plea for a brave girl to make a formal complaint seems out of step with the reality of what it must be like to be a girl who has been abused by these boys living in that situation. Going to school with their friends, and friends of friends, and already having too much of the hurtful personal details of your intimate life unwillingly opened up for other people’s eyes and opinions. Surely the justice system response needs to be more proactive and creative. Might it make a difference if some police and community joint initiative worked to provide a deeply supportive and connected structure in which girls (plural) could be given the opportunity to stand together to collectively claim back more power in the situation? (Whether that means making a formal complaint or not.) Isolated as individuals they are incredibly vulnerable. Already there is victim-blaming chatter on teenage social networking sites which naively casts responsibility on the girls for ‘knowing what they were getting into’. But if joined together in a sort of ‘class action’, standing alongside respected community and school leaders, there surely must be ways of turning around the sluggishness of the justice system’s response to this case. While always respecting the decision of any girl already hurt by these boys to protect herself in whatever way possible from further harassment and scrutiny.

Russell Brown points out on Twitter that there has been plenty of evidence of criminal wrong-doing by the group – much of it posted online by the boys themselves. Enough surely to have warranted some kind of further investigation into the boys’ activities – with or without a complainant’s formal report. Phones and computers could have been searched, he suggests. The boys themselves could have been questioned according to Kim McGregor. Some of them may have been bystanders who are witnesses to crimes. Police have been aware of the group since 2011. They knew about their Facebook page, but didn’t take action to shut it down, despite acknowledging the suffering it has likely caused girls that are abused and named. The boys themselves have projected a cocky imperviousness to calls for justice. Someone challenged Hales about statutory rape and having sex with an underage girl. His response: “I’ve already been to the police about that haha and im not going to jail sooo idk what you’re on about” (4 months ago, ask.fm). It will be a challenge, and it may be painful for the girls who have survived this abuse, but it does seem unlikely that he will not end up facing charges.

Note: Now I know what “roasting” means in a sexual context. It’s called “roasting” because it looks like the girl’s turning on a spit, get it?

Please read the rest at the link. I’m not quite on board with the anti-porn angle, but I do agree that the problem is bigger than a handful of guys who like to prey on younger girls. This is a cultural issue. These guys knew they could find younger girls to isolate and coerce into humiliating sex acts because they knew their behavior would go unpunished. They put their roasts on video and uploaded their exploits to social media, where they named their victims, because they knew those revelations would be more socially devastating to the victims than to themselves. We should be asking why that is. We should be asking why the social climate (and I am not picking on Auckland or NZ here, as we’ve already seen similar incidents in Ohio, Missouri, Nova Scotia and California) is such that if a girl is known to have been involved in a “roast,” she is ostracized and shamed, but nothing bad happens to the boys.

Why is it that so many societies are so ready to punish girls and women for allowing their faces to come so close to men’s fists?