A pos­i­tive spin on Roast Busters saga

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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.

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