Short­land St char­ac­ter had grim time in 2012

South Waikato News - - SPORT - By STEPHANIE HOLMES

It’s been a big few months for Short­land Street’s Shavaughn Ruakere.

‘‘Man, there’s been some really sad stuff so far,’’ she told Cul­ture last week. Since her char­ac­ter, Roimata, suf­fered a ter­ri­fy­ing sex­ual as­sault at the hands of a mys­tery at­tacker, she and hus­band TK (Ben Mitchell) have been like ‘‘two lost souls splash­ing around in the ocean try­ing to find each other. Try­ing to get back to how it all was be­fore’’.

In this week’s Christ­mas cliffhanger episodes, that anony­mous as­sailant will fi­nally be re­vealed but it won’t spell the end of the heartache for Roimata and TK.

But when pressed for de­tails, Ruakere would only re­veal: ‘‘Roi doesn’t know who to trust right now.

‘‘She’s all over the show and, well, let’s just say I had to do some run­ning through a for­est in heels.’’

Ruakere says she’s proud of the hard-hit­ting sto­ry­line she’s been tack­ling and is also proud of the show for tak­ing it on.

‘‘I know there are some peo­ple who thought it was too much for a 7pm fam­ily show but here’s the thing: Sex­ual abuse, like sui­cide, is so of­ten not spo­ken about; there’s so much shame and fear at­tached to it. Putting it out there on a show as far reach­ing and as close to home as Shorty could get peo­ple talk­ing and that’s def­i­nitely got to be a good thing.’’

Pro­ducer Steven Zanoski is full of praise for the work Ruakere has been do­ing.

‘‘ I’ve really ad­mired Shav’s ded­i­ca­tion to stay­ing true to the emo­tional depths de­manded by the story.

‘‘From first­hand ex­pe­ri­ence talk­ing to vic­tims of sex­ual as­sault, Shavaughn has this week writ­ten a let­ter of protest to the prime min­is­ter re­gard­ing the government’s with­drawal of fund­ing for the sex­ual vi­o­lence helpline.

‘‘This pro­duc­tion can be proud that Shavaughn has lent her pub­lic pro­file to pro­mot­ing aware­ness around this is­sue. To me, this says this story was more than just a job for Shavaughn.’’

The Christ­mas cliff, as it’s known in the busi­ness, has be­come a tra­di­tion for the pop­u­lar soap, with the cul­mi­na­tion of some huge sto­ry­lines, as well as some big sur­prises leav­ing view­ers hang­ing over Jan­uary.

Of this year, Zanoski says: ‘‘the sur­prises keep stack­ing up through the week, not just in the last min­utes’’. Roimata’s at­tacker will be re­vealed ear­lier in the week but Zanoski says ‘‘keep watch­ing for a rev­e­la­tion on Thurs­day night that will shake up your ex­pec­ta­tions for what will hap­pen in Fri­day’s cliffhanger episode and change ev­ery­thing in 2013’’.

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