Monday, October 30, 2006

For those who doubted it was a systemic problem

Another former police officer is currently standing trial for historical rape charges. In 1988 he handcuffed a woman who was giving him a lift home, took her into the police station and raped her multiple times.

I know there are many more women who have been raped by police officers. I know because they've told me. By e-mail, in comment threads, and in person. I only wish women who had been raped by police officers could count on people believing them.

I know that only the tiniest fraction of the women who were raped by police officers will ever get to tell their story. An even smaller fraction will have it believed. That women are prepared to come forward, after the way Louise Nicholas was treated, is an amazing testament for their courage, and their fight for justice.

There is one note in all this that gives me hope. It is the defence, not the prosecution, who is reminding the jury to put the trial of Bob Schollum, Brad Shipton, and Clint Rickards out of their mind. Those men were found of not guilty of the charges. The defence lawyer wants exactly the same result as their lawyers achieved, but he thinks that he will only achieve that if they

People believe that Clint Rickards, Bob Schollum and Brad Shipton are guilty; they believe Louise Nicholas. Defence lawyers think that the trial that became 'the Louise Nicholas' trial will make juries more likely to believe women and convict rapists.

That's a huge step forward.

Also published on Alas


  1. And when there's a demonstration against rape and violence , the police turn up and try and harass and arrest the participants. A friend of mine there was surrounded by police officers and shouted at, and told he would be arrested at the next demonstration the officer saw him at... They can spare 20 officers and 8 cars, yet if you are a woman in Piha being stalked and scared for your life, you'll be sent a taxi. Louise Nicholas, I believe you more than ever.

  2. Anonymous7:48 am

    i wish everyone had your crystal ball maia, it would get rid of the need of a justice system, we could just ask what you 'believe' which is apparently all thats needed.

    i'm not saying he didn;t do it, i am also not saying he did. i know as much as you do, what has been said in the media. so its up to the legal process, not internet witch hunting and handwringing to determine the outcome.

    innocent until proven guilty? only if you are one of the select group maia believes without evidence, otherwise you are guilty all ways.

    if hes guilty i hope he gets the maximum time and then some, if hes not, i hope he gets a total apology.

  3. Anonymous12:31 pm

    Unfortunately, it's not an isolated problem in the United States either. We have several cases going forward in my county for rape under the color of authority, oral copulation under the color of authority and other sexual abuse offenses committed by law enforcement officers either out in the field or in the jails.

    Keep writing about this issue and put a light on it. I think eventually that will help address the systemic problem, although obviously one of the first things that needs to be done is to educate people that these types of incidents do happen. I'm on an email list and I get at least half a dozen reports on cases each day.