Content warning: This story mentions sexual assault.
In April, brothers Danny Jaz and Roberto Jaz were found guilty of drink spiking 17 women and sexually assaulting the same number at Mama Hooch bar and Venuti, a nearby restaurant in Christchurch.
They admitted or were found guilty on 68 of the 113 charges they faced.
In this story, Alice, which isn’t her real name, says she suspects her drink was spiked at Mama Hooch, and that a wider culture of slut-shaming meant she didn’t feel like she could go to the police with her allegation.
Her experience has not been taken to the police or proven in court.
At the trial, there were allegations from 32 women but not all of these were proven.
The judge convicted the men on most of the drugging related to sexual offending, but indicated he did not accept a second Crown theory that drugs had also been dispersed into drinks more widely to increase the general party atmosphere of the bar. He is yet to issue a full written judgement explaining his decisions.
Police say there is “every chance” there could be more Mama Hooch victims.
Alice only had one drink at dinner.
It was 2018 and she was 28. She had small kids, and it was her first night out in ages, so after dinner she and a friend decided to go to Mama Hooch for another drink, and she texted her husband to meet her there later.
Alice ordered a gin and soda, and halfway through drinking it, her husband arrived at the bar.
“As he arrived he asked if I was high. And I said, ‘No, this is my second drink.’”
Her husband was worried - she was talking fast and her eyes were “hyper”, and then she started to slur.
She asked him to come to the bathroom with her, then started falling over and trying to take off his clothes.
“He was like, ‘Whoa, this is not right.’ I felt really cloudy and spacey.”
It felt like being underwater, she says, a phrase also used by women in the court case.
Her husband decided she needed to go home, and as they walked towards the door her legs collapsed and he had to carry her to the taxi.
“He carried me inside to where we were staying and I was asleep through to the morning. That’s less than two drinks in.”
The next day she wondered - was she just really wasted? But she’d only had one and a half drinks across the whole night.
“I've done drugs and I've been drunk,” she says. “I don’t pass out drinking like that. To go completely floppy, to be carried out of a bar, that's never happened to me.”
She didn’t go to the police, which she now regrets. “I wasn't really programmed to think I could do something.”
How years of slut shaming kept Alice quiet
Alice says growing up in Christchurch, it was widely accepted that “if you were drunk and slept with someone, you were a slut. So if something happens like this you think it's your fault”.
She thinks a lot of women her age wouldn’t want to speak up because they’ve been shut down in the past.
“That whole slut shaming thing is a massive thing why people don't say anything.”
Alice says she has her own experience of being shamed for being the victim of a sexual assault.
When she was younger, she went to a party with her then-boyfriend.
“I was really really drunk. I was kind of embarrassed about how drunk I was so I passed out in the bedroom. He came up and had sex with me and his friend did also.”
“Now I know - that’s rape.”
She says there was no sympathy among her peers for what happened.
Instead, she says, she was teased and called derogatory nicknames.
“Even girls teased me about it for years.”
The fact she was “very openly teased is so alarming”, she says, and contributed to why she didn’t go to police with her drink spiking allegation.
She says given the wider culture of slut shaming “it makes a lot of sense” why the Mama Hooch perpetrators could get away with it for so long.
But she’s hopeful the tide is turning around open discussions of consent.
“All the girls that have gone forward are super brave.”
To get in touch with the author of this article, email email@example.com
Where to get help:
- 24 hour nationwide helpline Safe2Talk: 0800 044 334
- 24/7 helpline Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP: 04 801 6655
- RapeCrisis directory to services across the country: www.rapecrisisnz.org.nz
- (Not for crisis support): For education programs around preventing sexual violence: RespectEd
- Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Aotearoa: www.malesurvivor.nz
- To report your experience to the police, call 111 or the non-emergency line 105
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