Waiting

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

This entry posted in Feminism, sexism, etc, Rape, intimate violence, & related issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

26 Responses to Waiting

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  3. 3
    -AM says:

    One nit-picky issue: people wear muslin dresses, not muslim dresses.

  4. 4
    Stuart says:

    “We believe Louise Nicholas, because we can imagine being her, because we’re terrifying of going through what she went through.”

    I can sympathize with the fact that many and perhaps all women may have this fear.

    But because you can imagine being in a situation like that, is not proof of guilt on the part of the accused. It *has* happened before in rare cases that some women have lied about being raped.

    Even some children have lied about being molested. Innocent people had their lives destroyed, because children and women are thought to be pristine and honest in making these claims. It confers great power to drastically change an innocent person’s life if people don’t apply the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”.

    She could have been raped, or not. I don’t know, as I am not one of the jury hearing the evidence. We have a system of “Innocent until proven guilty”. This must be upheld. Not even the ability to imagine oneself being raped should contravene that process.

    Just my two cents.

    I hope she gets justice if she was raped. And I hope the accused get their just punishment if they did it.

  5. 5
    gengwall says:

    It’s interesting. The defendants had sex with her flat mate including times where they also had sex with Louise. I wonder why she is not crying “rape”. Indeed, wasn’t she called as a defense witness?

  6. 6
    Jake Squid says:

    gengwall,

    That is meaningless & irrelevant.

  7. 7
    Maia says:

    Thanks for that AM.

    The flatmate was called as a prosecution witness. There were very few defense witnesses, and two of the defendants did not take the stand.

    But as Jake Squid said, just because people have consensual sex with one woman, doesn’t mean they’re not raping another woman.

    Stuart this woman was raped by cops, she has been fighting for more than twenty years for some kind of justice. I do not believe she would have got to this stage if she wasn’t telling the truth.

  8. 8
    M. says:

    Don’t forget that some of the evidence has been supressed. We have to trust the jury to make the right decision, based on the case that’s been presented to them.

  9. 9
    Anna says:

    I’m not quite sure how to say this properly (or legally) but I strongly suspect that there’s some stuff from somewhere else that’s currently subject to a supression order that tilts the balance of probability towards this being a true case.

    (i.e. I think I may know what some of the suppressed stuff is and if what I suspect is true, it casts a very dim light on the character of some of the defendents…)

  10. 10
    Maia says:

    Just out of curiosity is two comments till someone mentions all the poor men accused of rape some kind of a record?

    Nothing at all on the 3pm news, this is awful

  11. 11
    jo says:

    [deleted]

  12. 12
    ross francis says:

    “Stuart this woman was raped by cops, she has been fighting for more than twenty years for some kind of justice. I do not believe she would have got to this stage if she wasn’t telling the truth”.

    Maia, you are wrong, again. Louise did not go to the police in 2004. A journalist, Phil Kitchin, approached her. If it had not been for him, the case would never have gone to court, and probably good too, because clearly there was a lack of supporting evidence. Or do you believe that we shouldn’t have trials for alleged rapes, that we should simply convict based solely on the word of a woman? Taxpayers had to fork out more than $800,000 to David Dougherty, who was wrongly convicted of rape. DNA evidence proved he didn’t rape. What happens when a guy is falsely acucsed and there is no DNA evidence?

  13. 13
    ross francis says:

    Anna,

    The guilt of an accused is not decided on the balance of probabilities. On the balance of probabilities, I think Louise was embarrassed that she had had sex with so many different men and thought that this was a way to expunge those memories.

  14. 14
    Elizabeth says:

    Ross

    And before you A.S.S.U.M.E. anything here – yes, I am a female. We have all perhaps had incidents in the past that we are not proud of. I am not innocent when it comes to having sex with more men than I perhaps ‘should’ have. But I think even you would have to admit, that NO PERSON in their right mind, would drag their families, friends and of course themselves, through the type of thing that Louise has done – to cover up being ‘embarassed that she had sex with so many different men…’. And just where do you get off by insinuating Louise of having sex ‘with so many men’??? Because the defence has painted her as a slut??? Louise is not a slut – she has been married to the same man (happily) for many years and has raised beautiful daughters (who are not men haters!!). Louise is not so stupid to believe that by standing up and having the whole country judge her that this would in any way ‘expunge those memories’ as you have stated. Would you put your life up for judgement the way that she has? Not many of us would. Louise is not on trial for being a good or a bad person. The case was never about whether she led a perfectly moral life or not. The case was about people in power abusing that power. Whether Louise has a history or not of promiscous sex should not be entered into – just as the jury were not allowed to hear anything about the accused’s past. People are angry about this because we are raised to respect and trust the police. They broke that trust with Louise. Please do not judge Louise by what you see and hear in the media. Trust me. I know this women. You would be proud to have her as a sister, mother, cousin, wife or friend. If you knew her. You don’t. I do.

  15. 15
    ross francis says:

    “Louise is not a slut – she has been married to the same man (happily) for many years and has raised beautiful daughters (who are not men haters!!)”.

    Elizabeth, I’m not sure the relevance of that comment. I never said she was a slut but she has acknowledged that she has had sex with at least 7 different cops, among others. You will no doubt be aware that Rickards, Schollum and Shipton have also been married for a considerable period of time and also have children. Why would they want to put their family through what they have been put through?

    “NO PERSON in their right mind, would drag their families, friends and of course themselves, through the type of thing that Louise has done”.

    Well, you said it – no person in their right mind would do this. But didn’t Louise also claim that she was raped by 5 Maori men wearing ski masks and riding horses? What state of mind was she in when she made this false allegation?

  16. 16
    Elizabeth says:

    Ross Francis

    There is a huge difference between what Louise has done, and what the media and the accused’s lawyers say she has done.

    You also need to check the marital history of the three accused.

    Don’t talk to me about Louise’s state of mind – you don’t even know her.

    What I do know is that you have taken all of my comments out of context.

  17. 17
    ross francis says:

    BTW,

    “Whether Louise has a history or not of promiscous sex should not be entered into – just as the jury were not allowed to hear anything about the accused’s past”.

    I agree but there are two points I could make. First, Louise wasn’t on trial. The accused were on trial and would have, if found guilty, probably spent the next 10 years in prison. The accused had far more to lose than the accuser and so, it could be argued, deserved more protection. Second, I don’t believe the jury was allowed to hear everything about Louise’s past either. Does she have any prior convictions that the jury might have deemed relevant to the case? Are there things that you know about her that might have hurt her case?

  18. 18
    ross francis says:

    14.

    Are you saying that she has never said that she was raped by 5 Maori men wearing ski masks?

    I think you’re only presenting part of the story, which is quite ironic considering you’re complaining about the legal system, which you claim presented only part of the story in regards to the accused.

  19. 19
    Elizabeth says:

    Ross

    I am trying to convince myself that you are merely misinformed rather than the alternative.

    I think you need to make yourself more aware of things before commenting on them.

    Secondly, only someone ignorant would make the comment about the accused having far more to lose than the accuser! Louise has lost half her life to this.

  20. 20
    ross francis says:

    “Louise has lost half her life to this”.

    Well, that’s your opinion. She hasn’t spent 10 years in prison for a crime that she hasn’t committed. Maybe you could talk to David Dougherty and ask him how he felt when he was wrongly convicted of raping a young girl. Did the $800,000 he was paid adequately compensate him for the years he spent in prison and the stigma attached to raping a young girl? When was the last time a false accuser was sentenced to years in prison? But that is exactly what happens when a man is falsely convicted of rape.

  21. 21
    Elizabeth says:

    Unfortunately this is what it comes down to.

    Who is innocent.
    Who is guilty.

    I think why people are so passionate about it is the fact that they feel a ‘truer’ picture could have been painted of the accused. I understand all the legal reasons for the past being supressed. But sometimes it comes down to a moral dilemma rather than one of common sense – even though that in itself is not logical. Some people are left with the image of Louise Nicholas being a liar, a slut. Supressed evidence may have changed that.

    You are right Ross. To be accused of something wrongly would be horrific. Unfair. Unjust. Stressful. Frightening.

    The accuser knows of those emotions too.

    Sadly it is not only my opinion that Louise has lost half her life to this. I know it for a fact. Along with her husband Ross, her daughters, her mother and father, her brothers, her grandmother – everyone that knows Louise.

  22. 22
    ross francis says:

    You are right that we’ll never know what really happened in this case. it may be that nobody is guilty but that Louise wanted to expunge memories of this case once and for all. Our legal system, like other Western legal systems, requires a high standard of proof in order to convict. I don’t believe that we can simply rely on the word of a woman in rape cases. If we did, there would be innocent men going to prison for the crimes they didn’t commit. Unfortunately that means that in some cases, the accused may be guilty but will be acquitted because the jury doesn’t have enough evidence to convict. This case could be such a case but we’ll never know. However, breaching suppression orders won’t change that fact.

  23. 23
    truth says:

    Re: Louise Nicolas case- So does someone actually know what is on the flyers that are being given out? I want to know why so many people think THIS info is so crucial that they would risk thier own freedom for it’s cause- are you allowed to talk about this sort of thing on this blog or will it be deleted- like other bloggers commnets?? Gimme some truth…

  24. 24
    Carl says:

    All of you should wait for all the facts both about L Nicholas and the accussed, there was supressed information on both sides.

    What we are doing is making it harder for the legal system to do its job, by all means make sure the facts become public but make sure they are the facts not emotional opinions.

    Finally as one of the families with an interest this case, We too have lost half our lives to this. I know it for a fact. Daughters, Sons mother and father, brothers, sister grandchildren – We too have felt the pain and angish about not being able to put our side of the story.

    The side that knows a different story of LN.

    interested party

  25. 25
    Elizabeth says:

    Carl – I wish you and your family well. I am sorry but you will never convince me of Louise’s guilt. But I respect your loyality.

  26. 26
    james says:

    Elizabeth, this isn’t about Louise’s guilt because Louise wasn’t charged with any crimes.