151K Kiwis sign online petitions to punish Facebook ‘rape club’

roast busters protest
Image Credit: Stuff
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Forty-thousand Kiwis have a signed a petition on online activism site Care2, asking New Zealand police to apprehend and charge several teen boys who allegedly date- and gang-raped underage girls and then posted details — including their victims’ names — on Facebook.

Even more, over 111,000, have signed a similar petition on Change.org.

The issue has galvanized the entire nation, stimulating marches, protests, and loud calls for change directed at local politicians.

According to Julie Rodriguez, who created the Care2 petition, the group of three teenage boys has been active since 2011. The boys, one of who has apparently gone into hiding, allegedly drugged “dozens” of underage girls and then raped them. The boys were allegedly extremely open about their actions on Facebook, naming their victims in a manner she calls “slut-shaming.” Four victims reported the crimes to police, and one victim attempted suicide, the petitions state, but no charges have yet been filed.

The group called themselves the “Roast Busters.”

“The fact that the Auckland Police Department hasn’t taken any action in this case just goes to show that rape victims still aren’t taken seriously by law enforcement,” Rodriguez says. “If we can show the Auckland police that the world is watching, and that we refuse to see this case swept under the rug, it won’t just help the victims of the Roast Busters over the last two years — it will help raise awareness of the struggle rape victims around the world face trying to bring their cases to court every day.”

The online efforts have clearly caught the attention of police, with Kiwi police going to social media — YouTube — to ask for help from the public with their efforts to gather evidence:

Jessie Hume, the Aukland mother who created the Change.org petition, is delivering the 111,000 petitions to New Zealand prime minister John Key today.

The teenage boys allegedly responsible for these actions also bragged about their exploits on Twitter and Ask.fm, Rodriguez says.

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