Mother speaks of teenage daughter's rape trauma

The mother of a 15-year-old rape victim says there are no great days for the family anymore.
STUFF

The mother of a 15-year-old rape victim says there are no great days for the family anymore.

When Emily* thinks about the night two men raped her she sobs until her throat burns.

She vomits at the thought of seeing someone who knows them and is crippled with anxiety.

The now 17-year-old has tried to end her life four times.  She overdosed on prescription pills and was once hospitalised after she drank a bottle of bleach, her mother, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, says.

Brandon James Roche, of Papanui, left, and Brooke Christie Rolleston, of Cashmere, were found guilty of raping a ...
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/STUFF

Brandon James Roche, of Papanui, left, and Brooke Christie Rolleston, of Cashmere, were found guilty of raping a 15-year-old girl at her home near Christchurch.

Even going to the toilet, showering and sleeping alone is a struggle. Emily's mother sometimes shares a bed with her to soothe her to sleep. There have been nights her daughter has scratched her during nightmares.

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There were no good days, some were just "less terrible" than others, her mother said. Her "motocross-loving, bright, bubbly, caring little girl" with "a sparkle in her eye" was gone.

At the party, her daughter was raped by two men and her son was beaten "black and blue".
STUFF

At the party, her daughter was raped by two men and her son was beaten "black and blue".

In January last year, Emily, then 15, and her brother, Chris*, were having "a few drinks" in the spa at their rural Canterbury farm with a handful of friends, as arranged with their parents who were overseas, when one friend posted a party invitation online.

Emily asked for it to be removed, but the friend left and people were already arriving. Among them were 20-year-olds Brooke Christie Rolleston and Brandon James Roche.

Roche pulled Emily into a bear hug before they danced and mingled with mutual friends. They knew of each other through Facebook messages months earlier, but were not close.

There was a six-pack of beers in the fridge and wine was passed around, but the alcohol cupboard was padlocked shut and a family friend down the road was "keeping an eye on them", the mother said.

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Emily became drunk, so her boyfriend – a "sensible lad" – got her out of the spa, dressed her in exercise leggings with baggy track pants over the top, a T-shirt and a hoodie, and made her drink water.

Music was blaring and partygoers unscrewed a cupboard door to get to the spirits. One of the boys offered Emily's boyfriend cash to have sex with her.

About midnight, Emily was struggling to walk and slurring her words. Her boyfriend put her to bed in her parents' bedroom as someone had earlier snapped the lock off her bedroom door. The boyfriend left about midnight when his mother picked him up, leaving Emily asleep with two of her friends.

Some partygoers attacked Chris in his bed after he went to his room to play playstation. He woke up with a "throbbing black eye", a smashed phone and his aftershaves stolen.

Police could not establish who was responsible, but the mother suspects Roche and Rolleston were involved. 

Roche and Rolleston went inside the room where Emily slept, put one of her "ragdoll" arms over each of their shoulders and carried her into an empty bedroom the family was renovating. A painting drop-sheet was scrunched on the floor and photo frames on the window ledge were found flipped upside down.

Rolleston left a half-eaten piece of bread on the bedside dresser after the pair took turns raping her.

Emily emerged from the room naked from the waist down struggling to walk or talk. She was sobbing and groaning. She vomited and was showered by her friends. She was left covered in "horrendous bruises" – deep red and purple welts around her neck, hips, bottom and inside her thighs. She was hazy and had a concussion, the mother said. 

The boys high-fived and laughed in the lounge afterwards. They celebrated their "threesome" on their ride home in a truck.

For weeks rumours spread. An adult family friend, who heard what happened, came to their home and asked Emily about it. She could not remember anything. The woman never relayed her concerns to Emily's mother.

Emily did not tell her parents, but her mother "smelled a rat". On the way to high school one morning, she pulled over and "just shook her".

"I put my hands on her shoulders and just said 'you are going to tell me what's happened to you right now'.

"I remember the shock. I felt sick, I wanted to throw up. She cried and cried and cried and cried. I wanted to kill them. I told her we had to tell the police or I didn't know what I would do."

Her mother knew the men's parents and occasionally socialised with one of their mothers.

"I hate seeing [Emily] so scared all the time and crying, she just cries all the time, sometimes you just look at her and she just bursts into tears . . . she's a f...... mess."

After several deaths in the family, life was "hell". 

After a two-week trial, Roche and Rolleston were found guilty of Emily's rape. Rolleston, who his friends described as a role model with dreams of travelling to Israel to be baptised in the Jordan River, was sentenced to 11 years and two months' jail in the Christchurch District Court on August 2.

Roche, who wanted to start a business, was sentenced to 10 years and nine months' jail. They will be eligible to be considered for parole at a third of their sentences. 

*Names have been changed to protect the victim's identity. 

 - Stuff

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