'There's a new level of anger': the women fighting to end the 'rough sex' defence
In the first 48 hours after the guilty verdict in the Grace Millane murder case, Fiona Mackenzie received 50 interview requests from the media in the UK, US and New Zealand. In the previous week, as Millane’s killer claimed she had died in a “sex game gone wrong”, Mackenzie, founder of We Can’t Consent to This, which campaigns against the “rough sex” defence, had managed to recruit a voluntary press officer to help with the deluge. Between them, they had juggled BBC Breakfast, ITN, Sky, Channel 5, local TV and radio stations, with Mackenzie also covering her full-time corporate job as an actuary.
It wasn’t just the murder that has sparked rage – though the details are horrifying. Millane was a British graduate who arrived in New Zealand on a round-the-world trip; she agreed to a date with someone she matched with on the dating app Tinder, then was strangled. Later she was contorted into a suitcase and buried in the woods – though not before her killer had photographed her naked body, watched some porn and gone on another date. Despite these horrifying facts, the trial focused on Millane herself, her sexual history and use of dating apps like Tinder and Whiplr, shifting responsibility away from the murderer and on to the victim.