Knowledge is Power

Te Matauranga ko te Kaha


Carmen talks about being raped in prison.

Prison Rape No Joke

Bryan Bruce

"New Zealand Prime Minister , John Key , has been accused of making light of rape after participating in a radio stunt referring to sexual assault in prison" - The Guardian Dec 17th 2015. (Yes, it's gone international).

Last Wednesday Key took part in an informal interview at The Rock radio station during which he entered a cage with the interviewer, picked up a bar of soap, and went along with a joke that was a clear reference to prison rape.

Apart from demeaning the office of the Prime Minister, Key is an ambassador for the White Ribbon anti- violence against women campaign, who does not seem to understand that "No" means "No" whether you are male or female and that prison rape is no joke.

When it happens in our prisons , rape victims are often too ashamed or too afraid to speak up about what has happened to them. And it's been that way for far too long.

Here, for example, is a 1988 clip from my documentary series Passion In Paradise in which transgender Trevor Rupe ( better known as Carmen) talks about being gang raped by a dozen men during her time in Mt Crawford Prison in Wellington.

Trevor always thought of himself as a woman. To be sentenced to a male prison was cruel.

As "Carmen" , Trevor was New Zealand's best known transgender person in the 70's and 80's. She was a pioneer advocate for gay rights who openly challenging the overt discrimination and prejudice against gay and transgender people that was so prevalent at that time.

I had the privilege of interviewing Carmen about her life shortly before she died in 2011.

She was a person of great courage.



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Who is Bryan Bruce?

Bryan Bruce is an award winning documentary maker, and best selling author. Born in Scotland in 1948, his family emigrated to New Zealand in 1956. He grew up in Christchurch and attended the University of Canterbury where he graduated with an M.A.[1] in Sociology and Philosophy and Christchurch Teacher’s College where he earned a Diploma in Teaching.

Bryan is best known for his work on 'The Investigator' documentary series, 'Inside Child Poverty' and 'Mind The Gap'.