A man tied up in a false rape claim has backed a call for a men’s refuge after he was kicked out of his flat and left homeless for a week.
Brett, who has asked for his last name to be kept secret, says he had nowhere to go after his ex-girlfriend reported a rape that never happened, and rumours began to spread.
Since speaking about how the allegation “destroyed” his life, Brett has thrown his support behind a call for an agency to support men, similar to Women’s Refuge.
Published in Stuff
Another Marlborough man mooted the idea of a men’s refuge earlier this month when he was left homeless after leaving an abusive relationship.
There was no homeless shelter in Blenheim, though people could apply for emergency accommodation through Work and Income.
Brett said his two female flatmates kicked him out of his Blenheim rental when they heard rumours about his former girlfriend Dannielle Weir, who was convicted of making a false statement at the Blenheim District Court on Tuesday.
Weir said she was raped by a stranger while walking home alone last February, but actually spent the night with Brett, and police said she must have known the evidence would point to Brett.
Brett slept in his car for a week, and fielded abuse from people shouting “rapist” in the street, before his friend Jack Feavers offered him a place to stay.
“There should be somewhere to help people going through this, because we end up having mental illnesses and post-traumatic stress and et cetera, but there’s not really any help available,” Brett said.
Feavers, a property manager, said it was not the first time he had helped young men with nowhere else to turn.
Having been through Family Court to gain custody of his 4-year-old son, he found himself helping others through the court process and was now fielding a few messages each week through word-of-mouth.
“When women come to me I’m able to say, ‘go to Women’s Refuge’. They are fantastic in there. You get an advocate to walk you through the Work and Income process, who knows about the different agencies … they will help you with housing, court, finances, food packages, the lot,” Feavers said.
“But when men come to see me I don’t know where to refer them. There is nothing like that for men.”
Young men were often reluctant to walk into social services such as Community Law or Work and Income, because of the “stigma” associated with seeking help, Feavers said.
“We might think it’s common sense to walk into somewhere like that, but when they’re in that sort of despair, common sense is out the window.”
The proposal was also supported by Peter Joyce, who wrote a book called Dry Ice about being accused of rape in 2015, by a friend’s daughter he never met. No charges were ever laid against him.
Joyce agreed young men needed a better way to access social services and legal advice, especially male victims of domestic abuse.
“You’re supposed to macho it out … It’s not considered acceptable to admit that your wife knocks you around. Even if a guy doesn’t worry about what his male friends think of him, the real fear is that the abuser, the woman, will say what he’s saying is not true, and that he abuses her. And the police are more likely to believe that,” Joyce said.
“It’s a small but fatal step from the reasonable ‘listen to the complainant’ to the outrageous ‘believe the victim’.”
Joyce said he was pleased the police prosecuted Weir. People who made false rape claims were not always charged, he said.
“Full credit to the police for pursuing it, and full credit to the judge for saying some sensible things. It’s just a pity it doesn’t happen that often.
“But I think the real people whose lives are ruined are the ones who actually go to trial and end up going to jail. Unfortunately, this doesn’t do anything for the cases of the real victims here.”
By Jennifer Eder
Published in Stuff
22 February 2019