Some will see the early release of convicted rapist Brad Shipton as a chance to play politics three days out from the election and claim it never would have happened under National. But to my mind they're simply missing the point.
Part of me would like to see Shipton (and Schollum and Rickards) rot in jail, and I can understand those who take that view entirely. I might feel that way too if I had suffered a sexual assault myself, I don't know. I do know the powerlessness I felt when the not guilty verdicts came in on the other cases. I felt that it denied the truth not only of Louise Nicholas and the other brave women who pursued rape complaints against all the odds, but also of many women, and men, all over our country who have been raped too. Those cases were about so much more than the individual facts before the jury, although it would have been unfair to expect those jurors to take the great societal situation into account in returning their verdict. Those cases were a turning point for our tolerance of rape, I hope.
The point of our justice system, for me, is not to lock bad people in a building somewhere. It should actually be to hold people accountable for their actions. Whether they need to be inside a prison for that to happen seems to me to be pretty debateable. The absolute cornerstone of what happens after someone is convicted should be to help them to realise what they did wrong, identify why that is, and support them to find a way to never do that again.
Shipton's parole is not an issue for me because he only served X years out of Y. It's an issue because I'm not sure that he gets it, that he knows what he did was not ok. And without that first realisation full rehabilitation is unable to happen, and Shipton remains a problem for us all.