A positive spin on Roast Busters saga
A SCHOOL involved with a copycat ‘‘Roast Busters’’ page is using the event as a positive learning tool.
Mt Albert Grammar headmaster Dale Burden last week alerted police to a Facebook page called ‘‘Roast Busters Mt Albert Chapter’’ that included a handful of members from the school.
Mr Burden says the page, which was quickly taken down after being reported, did not display any suggestion of sexual behaviour or negative attitudes towards girls.
‘‘It was more teenage banter between boys seeking attention from each other over school subjects such as uniforms and assignments,’’ he says.
Students from a number of schools were associated with the Facebook page.
Police advised not to approach families directly and said they were meeting with Child Protection Units from West Auckland to decide how to proceed.
A letter was sent to the parent community explaining the situation. Mr Burden says the Roast Busters scandal is a ‘‘cautionary tale’’ that the school is looking to use for good.
‘‘We will be talking to our students about the risks of aligning themselves with sites such as the one in the news, how it can leave a digital footprint that can harm their reputations and long-term prospects,’’ he says.
‘‘Teenagers live in the digital world and they can make mistakes there as they do in other areas of their lives.’’
The unfolding of the Roast Busters story has created a storm of discussion around the country.
The HELP sexual abuse support service is offering support to people who have been triggered by recent events.
Development manager Harriet Sewell says the young women affected by the group have gone through the abuse twice – the alcohol facilitated sexual assault and then having it made visible for anyone to see.
‘‘Often, survivors blame themselves for the abuse, including having thoughts similar to, ‘how could I have let this happen?’, ‘everyone is saying I must have known what I was getting into’, ‘I drank too much’, ‘it must be my fault’,’’ she says.
‘‘This type of thinking will also be influenced by commentary on different social media forums, as well as sexual sensationalism reporting in media.’’
Statistics indicate that nondisclosure is common amongst survivors, with only about 10 in 100 cases of sexual abuse or sexual assault crimes reported.
HELP trauma counsellors support survivors as they work through questions as well as providing specialist therapy. The service also supports the friends and family of people affected.