The paper had sat on our kitchen table for a few days. The Dominion Post is given away for free at campus and one of my flatmates brings it back to do the crossword. The headline caught my eye:
I never raped anyone, former officer tells the jury
I read stories like that, but I take a breath first:
A former Rotorua police officer denied raping a 17-year-old Rotorua teen in her flat 21 years ago but could not rule out a brief sexual encounter, a court has been told. Iosefa Fiaola told a jury in Tauranga District Court yesterday that he did not know the woman who alleged she was raped in her flat in 1989.
Then today I searched Stuff for 'Rotorua' 'Police' 'Rape'. There were lots of hits.
The jury had come back on Thursday. They had found him not guilty.
Another woman had gone to the police about being raped by Iosefa Fiaola, this article strongly implies this was the reason he left the police force.
The article I read was on page 5 or 6. When Rotorua cops stand trial for rape in the 1980s, it's barely news anymore.
I keep looking for the words, but I have so many jumbled things I could say to that. And I've said them all before, more than once.
How many people knew? Obviously lots of women knew, women who were raped, women who structured their lives around avoiding cops, women who had been warned. But none of them had the power to stop these rapists. How many police officers knew? How many lawyers? How about other men who could have stopped it? Or just men who could draw a line and say "I'm against raping women, even when my buddies do it?"
It's too big for me to comprehend, even now, even after thinking about it for years.
So I'm just going to say, again, that I believe this woman.