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Drug-rapes - Taranaki Hysteria December 2006


March 22 2007; Police rule out drink spiking - the urban myth rests for a while
Police find no evidence date- rape drugs were used to stupefy and violate women in Taranaki late last year:

                Rape Crisis claimed that 23 women had reported that they had been drugged and raped

                Police say only two women complained to policeLorraine Jans

                Neither woman were found to have had drugs in their system


Lorraine Jans
for the first time: "No comment"!

Darin Haenga of Stratford police
says "It doesn't necessarily mean you have been drugged if you can't remember the night before"

The woman who started the panic, Lorraine Jans, was "unavailable for comment"

2007-0322 - Taranaki Daily News - Police rule out any drink spiking in sex complaint cases
2007-0323 - Waikato Times - No evidence of date rape drug

December 15 2006; All becomes quiet as the police seek analysis
Taranaki partyers urged to beware as Christmas approached;

Blair Burnett of Hawera police says claims from other Police officers about woman being too drunk to remember incidents are not helping people who need to come forward.

Lyn Humphreys of Taranaki Daily News reports a story from police profiler Dave Henwood. Henwood refers to one case in 2003 where a man was found guilty of spiking drinks with a sedative, and then sexually assaulting eight women.

2006-1215 - One News - Taranaki partyers urged to beware
2006-1215 - Radio New Zealand - Women who think they were drug raped need to come forward
2006-1216 - Taranaki Daily News - Profiler: Rapists drugging people for sex won't stop

December 14 2006; The media at last ask the question: Is drug rape an urban myth?
A senior policeman and a criminologist are suggesting that many of the cases we hear about are not true. Instead of women having their drinks spiked they simply drink too much alcohol engage in drunken sex and wake up with a guilty conscience

Andy King

Andy King, Head of Auckland's Adult Sexual Assault team: They
sometimes lose control either through alcohol or other means. They suffer memory loss, possibly have flashes of having sex with people or some sort of sexual contact with people they weren't aware of or cant remember doing so and believe because of that loss of control they may have been drugged

Greg Newbold

Greg Newbold., Criminologist and Professor of Sociology at Canterbury University: Random drink spiking and drug rape is an urban myth. Nearly all of the cases where there are claimed drug rape there are no drugs found in the blood. It's very rare for drugs to be found in the blood of drug rape claimants. It's normally alcohol and they blame drugs on their own stupidity

Kim McGregor

Kim McGregor of Rape Crisis disagrees: "Alcohol is a mind altering drug. They can't make decisions as easily"

2006-1214 - TV3 News - Drug Rape (Transcript)

December 14 2006 Rape Crisis report an "additional 23"!
Publicity has resulted in an additional 23 reported cases to Rape Crisis. But still only two have reported to the police

Lyn Humphreys of Taranaki Daily News runs several stories keeping alive her local "scoop". She interviews a woman who claims that she was once drug raped. She reports an email sent by an alleged victim. She makes a further report
about "unprecedented numbers of drug-rapes in Taranaki"

Lorraine JansRape Crisis spokespeople continue to express their beliefs. Lorraine Jans believes "there were many more out there who were too distressed to ask for help". "the problem may be the tip of the iceberg" Pam Bassett of Hawera Rape Crisis says the stories are very distressing "I don't doubt these women are genuine". Andrea Black, Rape Crisis national spokesperson also says the calls may be just the tip of the iceberg

Lorraine Jans
"may be the tip of the iceberg"

Blair Burnett of Hawera police says "while some reports were undoubtedly true, it is also possible some had had too much alcohol -- which can also caused memory loss -- and were looking for someone or something to blame" "Just because you can't remember two hours doesn't mean you've been drug-raped. Some of them may be looking for something to justify being in that situation. "But I'm sure there are still some legitimate concerns.".

2006-1214 - Dominion Post - 23 cases reported
2006-1214 - Newstalk ZB - Concern about drug-rape figures
2006-1214 - Radio NZ - Checkpoint - Drug Rape (Transcript)
2006-1214 - Radio New Zealand - Rape Crisis worried more victims of drug-rape
2006-1214 - Taranaki Daily News - Drug-rape: this is how it feels
2006-1214 - Taranaki Daily News - Taranaki sparks drug-rape spike
2006-1214 - Taranaki Daily News - Woman shares story of drug-rape
2006-1214 - Timaru Herald - More drug-rapes come to light
2006-1214 - Truth - Nasty Dopes Yobs use horse drug for rapes

December 12 2006; Lorraine Jans has an explanation why there are no victims
Grant Coward of New Plymouth police said "We put a media release hoping that they would come forward. No one has and we're not sure if the problem's there or not."

Lorraine Jans
Lorraine Jans provides explanations for why she thinks women are not reporting the supposed rapes to the police:
"One of the main reasons might be that the women were confused or could not remember much "but they know they've been raped

Lorraine Jans
"women may be confused"

A report from The Press places less emphasis on drink spiking with drugs. It reports Christchurch police saying that there are growing numbers of young girls "
getting drunk or being drugged and waking up the next day unable to remember if they were sexually abused". Dr Pippa MacKay, who performs abortions at Lyndhurst Hospital, said: "There is no doubt that some of the girls tell us that they got drunk one night and they don't know who they are pregnant to

A letter to the Taranaki Daily News "c
ommends these brave women for reporting these horrific offences to agencies"

2006-1212 - NZ Herald - Ninth woman says she has been drug raped
2006-1212 - Taranaki Daily News - Drug-rape
2006-1212 - The Press - Girls 'too drunk to remember abuse'

December 9-10, 2006; Problem has still not escaped the walls of Rape Crisis
"Two more women" "Few similarities between cases" "Descriptions vague" "Women unable to remember" "They have woken up in a strange place, unsure where they are but agonisingly certain they have been sexually violated."

Grant Coward of New Plymouth Police still calling for women to come forward

Bruce Robertson of Hospitality Association reminds staff to watch for unusual behaviour. Stacey Lamb, a Night Club manager is concerned about negative publicity.

Louise Carroll

Louise Carroll of Drug Rape Trust says "
incidents were probably more common than anyone suspected and the crime needed urgent study"

Lorraine Jans

Lyn Humphreys of Taranaki Daily News, continues to get comment from Lorraine Jans and Pam Bassett

Lorraine Jans
"drugs may make women appear drunk"

Lorraine Jans and Pam Bassett of Taranaki Rape Crisis Centres report "two more" women "report drug rape" "These two are so distressed. They are really, really traumatised. I don't think they will be going to police." "Drug -rape medication could also make them appear drunk."

The Southland Times editorial refers to the publicity sending "a shudder down the spine of the nation". It claims that the community is little informed about drug rape. They report that scientists at ESR studied 162 samples of possible drug rape cases in last two years
and found that not one of those had shown any trace of known date-rape drugs. The cases were thought to be probably alcohol intoxication - if the drinks were spiked, it was probably with more alcohol.

Meanwhile in Tauranga a nurse has been arrested for stealing a drug - fentanyl - which can be used recreationally, but is also linked to drug rape claims.

2006-1209 - NZ Herald - Drug-rape victims urged to speak up
2006-1209 - Stuff - More report drug-rape suspicions
2006-1209 - Taranaki Daily News - Women urged to come forward as drug-rape cases rise
2006-1209 - Timaru Herald - Two more drug-rape cases reported
2006-1209 - Waikato Times - Drug rape claims spiral
2006-1209 - Southland Times - Chemical predations
2006-1210 - NZ Herald - Nurse arrested over theft of 'date-rape' drug

December 8 2006: first to express public scepticism
Spokesperson for, Brian Robinson writes that the news media should consider some deeper investigation into what appears to be yet another scare story from Lorraine Jans of the Safer Centre. A good place to start would be Spiked OnLine for an analysis from Josie Appleton. ............The article covers the transformation of drug rape "from urban myth to official fact" and concludes with excellent advice "We will certainly have to stay vigilant about dodgy awareness-raising campaigns this Christmas." Our news media could well heed that advice.

2006-1208 - - Dodgy Awareness-raising Campaigns and News Media Gullibility

December 8 2006; Problem expanding, at least within the walls of Rape Crisis
Rape Crisis reports more and more victims. The number varies depending on who you talk to: "The number in Taranaki is now reported to be eight". "Another 12 women nationwide have "come forward" " Thirteen woman around the country". "The women woke up in unfamiliar surroundings after allegedly being subjected to often brutal attacks."

Pam Bassett of Hawera Rape Crisis speaks. "S
cary that more possible cases had been brought to light" "There could be a range of perpetrators" "These women have to be incredibly brave". Rape Crisis are concerned women are not reporting to police.

Taranaki Daily News Jayne Hulbert continues to get comment from Lorraine Jans:
Lorraine Jans: "Women are all extremely traumatised" "but helped by the fact they weren't alone"

The police have received two complaints, and ask others supposedly involved to lay complaints. Grant Coward rejects suggestions from Lorraine Jans that it is a "gang of men"; Mike Hannah urges women to take care.

Chester Borrows, National MP, urges any rape survivors to authorise Rape Crisis to release information to the police.

The Drug Rape Trust offers advice to "victims" of drink spiking

2006-1208 - Radio New Zealand - Taranaki police warn people over drug rape
2006-1208 - Taranaki Daily News - Police urge drug-rape victims to make contact
2006-1208 - Stuff - Drug rape stories still surfacing after Taranaki incidents
2006-1208 - Stuff - Drug Rape Trust offers advice to drink spiking victims
2006-1208 - Southland Times - Spate of alleged drug rapes
2006-1208 - Radio New Zealand - Police want to hear from complainants
2006-1208 - Radio New Zealand - 8 women now believed drugged and raped in Taranaki in past week
2006-1208 - Radio New Zealand - Eight Taranaki women believed drugged, raped in past week
2006-1208 - NZ Herald - Women get help after string of drug rape incidents
2006-1208 - Radio Live - Police ask drug rape victims to lay complaints
2006-1208 - Radio New Zealand - Rape Crisis urges women to report suspected drug-rapes
2006-1208 - One News - Rape victims urged to talk to police
2006-1208 - Newstalk ZB - Drug-rape complainants urged to come forward
2006-1208 - National Party - Drug rape survivors encouraged to come forward
2006-1208 - Radio New Zealand - Rape Crisis issue warning to women

December 7 2006; Lorraine Jans starts a panic
The rumour starts in Taranaki, and the "eye of the storm" appears to be centred about one woman - Lorraine Jans of the New Plymouth "Safer" (Rape Crisis) Centre. According to reports sex abuse counsellors ay that seven young women have been drugged and raped:

Lorraine Jans
Lorraine Jans
"Possible that the seven are only the tip of the iceberg"
variety of stupefying medications are in circulation"
"A gang of men could be behind the attacks"
"This is really scary stuff"
"Shocked it is happening in their community"
"It's clear ..that drugs have been used"
"Women are all extremely traumatised"

The police issue warnings and express concern, but can do little, because at this stage it's still really only claims from sex abuse counsellors :
Sue Ashton: "Considering an operation
Grant Coward: "Very concerned"

Gullible and credulous provincial journalists,
Lyn Humphreys and Jayne Hulbert, spread the rumours creating alarm. Young women are asked what they feel:
Emily Simpson (21): "feel insecure going out"
Chloe Cresswell (18): "Careful what you wear- some girls look slutty"
Esther Jury (16): "Shocked - It scares me"
Sophie Hickford: "Stunned - You don't think people are like that"

Other news media pick it up. An initial rumour that may have best been expressed "Lorraine Jans tells another story" is headlined in Taranaki as "Seven women tell of drug rape horror" . By the time it reaches the Manawatu, the headlines present the rumour as fact: "Seven Taranaki women raped". The Waikato Times does better

2006-1207 - Taranaki Daily News - Seven women tell of drug rape horror
2006-1207 - Taranaki Daily News - ItMakes.htm
2006-1207 - Stuff - Police call for Taranaki drug rape victims to come forward
2006-1207 - Manawatu Standard - Seven Taranaki women raped
2006-1207 - Waikato Times - Seven rape claims

2006-1207 - Radio NZ - Women asked to come forward
2006-1207 - Radio NZ - Seven drug rapes in one week suspected in Taranaki
2006-1207 - Newstalk ZB - Warnings over drug rapes in Taranaki
2006-1207 - Radio NZ - Two women drug-tested over rape complaints
2006-1207 - Radio NZ - Police worried about drug rape reports
2006-1207 - One News - Fears of Taranaki drug rapist
2006-1207 - Radio Live - Police Investigate Series Of Drug Rapes