NZ woman sexually assaulted by Malaysian aide speaks out

This article is more than 12 months old

The New Zealand woman who was sexually assaulted by a Malaysian diplomatic aide has spoken out in public for the first time.

Warrant Officer 2 Muhammad Rizalman Ismail had allegedly followed Tania Billingsley, 21, back to her home on May 9 and is said to have assaulted her with the intent to rape.

Billingsley had worked with her lawyer to lift the court-ordered name suppression so she could openly help address the problem of sexual violence in the country, she told New Zealand media.

She said: "I'm hoping that in revealing who I am and having a face to put to this alleged victim that I'll be able to help address some of the issues around sexual violence in this country."

Rizalman has since left Wellington for Malaysia, which deeply upset Billingsley.


On July 2, Malaysia decided to send the accused back to New Zealand although the no concrete details of his departure have been confirmed.

She said: "I found out that he was going to leave the day that he left.

"Obviously, I was frustrated and I was angry because I had, from the very beginning, said that I wanted him to stay in New Zealand and be held accountable here."

She did not know until two days after the attack that he was a diplomatic aide. 

New Zealand officials mishandled the case

Billingsley also expressed her deep discontent with New Zealand officials for mishandling the case - particularly Foreign Affairs minister Murray McCully

She has called for his resignation after claiming that he failed to take proper action after hearing about the case.

"He obviously doesn't take sexual assault as a serious thing to consider," said Billingsley.

Sources: 3 News, New Zealand Herald, The Star