The pattern last two days for me has been dominated by making sure I was listening to the radio every hour, on the hour. National radio marks the hour with their six pips, and I listen to the news, I’m waiting for a verdict. I’m not alone; there are other women listening as intently as me. During a meeting today I popped into someone else’s office to listen to the one o’clock news – another woman came in “is there a verdict?”
We’re reading entrails. I got a text message saying “Jury came out to ask judge as question – good sign i reckon’. I agree and the question they asked was a good one. Each hour the jury’s deliberations stretch on (they’ve spent 8 hours yesterday, and 12 hours today) I wonder if it’s a good sign. “At least someone believes Louise Nicholas” I say, “I hope they stay staunch” whoever I happen to be talking to at the moment replies.
We listen and wait and worry because we believe Louise Nicholas.
We believe Louise Nicholas, because we can imagine being her, because we’re terrifying of going through what she went through.
She was 18 when she moved to Rotorua, 18 and tiny. They were police officers, strong men, and there were three of them. They came and raped her. They raped her in her house. They drove her to one their houses, and raped her there. She weighed 48 kilos (106 pounds), she had no chance of fighting back agains the three of them and they gang raped her.
She wouldn’t have felt safe anywhere, she would have lived in terror. Rotorua is not a big town, she couldn’t escape. What was she supposed to do? She was being raped by the police; who was she supposed to go to? She was 18, and new to town, one of them was a friend of her brother, what supported networks was she supposed to use to stop it? Who was she supposed to turn to? What else could she have done?
Now they’re saying she didn’t act like a rape victim should. The defence lawyers say that the fact that she wore a white muslin dress again, after police officers raped her with a baton while she was wearing it, shows that she wasn’t raped. The fact that someone remembered her showing a garter to one of the rapists, shows she wasn’t raped.
We listen, wait and hope. Hope for Louise Nicholas to get the guilty verdict she’s been fighting for, but not just for Louise Nicholas. For all the other women these men might have raped. All the other women who have been gang raped, from Kaitaia to Bluff.
Also posted on my blog