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The first rule of Rape Club? Nobody talked about Rape Club.

‘They plied them with alcohol and raped them..’

WARNING: This article deals with accounts of rape/sexual assault and may be triggering for survivors of abuse.

The first rule of rape club? Nobody talks about rape club.

The second rule of rape club? See rule number one.

No, this isn’t a Hollywood horror flick. This story actually happened and for two years now, the police have known about it but been powerless to act.

‘Rape Club’ was a group of four young New Zealand men who called themselves the ‘Roast Busters’. They sought out girls as young as thirteen, plied them with alcohol and raped them before boasting of their exploits on Facebook.

The boys thought it was just good fun. A laugh. A way to blow of steam. Something to do for kicks.

But for the girls? This horrific crime has shattered their previously happy lives; at least one victim has attempted suicide.

Unbelievably, the group has tried to recruit more men to be a part of their depraved criminal activity. They have gone online to try and recruit more teenage boys to rape alongside them.

“We take what we do seriously,” says the young man to camera in his recruitment pitch, “some of you think this is a joke, it’s not.” “You try and get with the amount of girls we do. This is hard, it’s a job, we don’t do this shit for pleasure.”

That’s right. 17 and 18-year-old men seeking out others to join them in their illegal sexual conquests.

“”A true roast is where you know you are going there intentionally to roast this female,” the boy says in the Facebook video. “We don’t choose a roast, the roast chooses us. We have girls hitting us up to ‘hang out with us’. They know what we’re like; they know what they’re in for.”

For two years the ‘Roast Busters’ have been seeking out young girls in Auckland, getting them drunk, raping them and posting evidence to Facebook.

The Roast Busters boys – image from TV NZ, via Instagram

The footage recently aired on New Zealand’s TV3’s nightly news; on camera the boys joked of their rapes, full of bombast and bravado, and were revealed to be searching for other men to join them.

One of the underage victims of the brutal rapes spoke to TV3 saying, “I just kept blacking out ’cause I had drunken too much,” she said. “You could say I got raped. I had sex with three guys at one time.”

For two years the New Zealand police have known about this, and have been powerless to act because of insufficient evidence. Many of the traumatised victims have been, understandably, reluctant to give evidence in a court.

In fact the Facebook site was only shut down a few days ago after a journalist started making inquires into the page.

Detective Inspector Scott from the New Zealand Police said it was not yet a crime for the men – mostly 18-years-old – to film the sex and put that footage online. They can only be charged with a crime when there is proof that the girls were underage or that they did not give consent.

“None of the girls have been brave enough to make formal statements to us so we can take it to a prosecution stage… clearly they’re traumatised by it,” explained the Detective.

The police have been highly criticized in New Zealand for allowing the Facebook page to stay open.  Detective Scott said the Roast Busters Facebook page had been left open for so long for “operational and tactical reasons”.

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“Whilst we acknowledge it was upsetting for the victims, it was being monitored for information or evidence that would assist our investigation,” he said.

The Roast Busters FB page – pic from TV NZ

Rape Prevention Education executive director Dr Kim McGregor said that if media reports about the Roast Busters were correct, then what they were doing was “absolutely rape”.

“Some of the girls are children, they’re only aged 13 so that’s rape. Even if you’re over 16 and having sex with people who cannot give consent because they’re stupefied by a drug, that’s rape.”

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key condemned the alleged actions of the Roast Busters gang as “extremely disturbing and disgusting behaviour”.

“I guess, as a parent, I find the issue very disturbing and abhorrent really,” he said. “I mean, you are talking about youngsters who are at a very delicate age.”

The Prime Minister did however defend the work of police. “It is very difficult to progress this issue, if someone isn’t prepared to make a formal complaint…. And it’s a very challenging situation for a young woman to put herself in that position,” he said.

The Law Society’s criminal law convener, Jonathan Krebs, told the New Zealand Herald that the police had their hands tied in not being able to lay charges against the group.

“They [Roast Busters] actually have to do something that’s against the law and bragging about something on a website, at the moment that I can see, is not against the law. Just because someone boasted on a website doesn’t mean it’s true and we don’t want to start convicting on bragging.”

‘I just kept blacking out…’

The worst thing police could do at the moment was to bring a prosecution that was a “bit loose”, Mr Krebs said.

Late yesterday further developments in the case saw one of the alleged rapists take to social media to apologise.

APNZ reports a Facebook post by the young man said, “I have tried to make some dramatic changes to myself before I was even on the news.”

“I have not been happy with who I have become and if I suffer any consequences from my past actions then I guess I deserve it but I just want people to know I am a good person at heart and I have matured and have taken this as a massive learning experience.”

He went on to say that he hoped no one else would go down a similar path. “All the girls that have been affected by this whole ridiculousness I apologise and wish the best for you.”

Twitter users were quick to question the sincerity of the apology.

@PoundCake posted: “They’ve been doing it for 3 years and that’s all he could come up with? #OhWell #Karma.”.

The publicity surrounding the rapes have forced two of the four young men involved to come forward again, and reports last night were that police were re-interviewing them.

Hopefully we haven’t yet heard the last of this, and justice will be served for the young women so publicly and brutally affected by this horrific online rape club.

Shauna Anderson spent 18 years working as a journalist, producer and Chief of Staff in television. Her career has spanned the spectrum of journalism, from Chief of Staff at Nine Network’s Today Show, reporting at Today Tonight, working for the SMH and Woman’s Day and as wide and far as snow reporting and even a writer on the game show CatchPhrase. She left TV to have three kids, now aged 2, 4 and 6. She now writes with her two year old on her lap and her two dogs chewing on her feet.

Please note if this post or any of the comments bring up any issues for you, or if you need to speak to someone please 1800-RESPECT or the NSW Rape Crisis Centre on 1800 424 017.  It does not matter where about you live in Australia, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

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