Here’s a report from news.com.au about the legal system brutalising a woman for seven years because two men raped her.
According to the headline, however, they didn’t rape her. They raped a party. Or maybe the rape was the party? Hard to know – and beside the point.
The two rapists have been found guilty *twice*. They served 19 months in jail and after seven years all they have to do now is some community service and go back to the town that filled the courtroom with their supporters.
The woman they raped was forced to move interstate by her community’s furious defence of the men who raped her.
She also had to survive four trials, a successful appeal, and a sentencing hearing, to finally be told that the rapists have suffered enough and don’t deserve any further punishment. Then, because she hasn’t already had enough to deal with, she has to see this headline, erasing her from the story and calling the revolting crime committed against her a “party rape”.
I can’t imagine how much strength it must take for this woman to just keep breathing in an out, let alone try to rebuild her life as this tortuous process dragged on for seven years.
Dame Vera Baird called this the “decriminalisation of rape“. It’s not only that almost none of the men who commit rape are are convicted. It’s also that the price rape victims pay for seeking justice is far greater than the price men pay for committing rape – on the rare occasions they pay any price at all.
Women and feminists have been protesting about this for more than fifty years. Decades of parliamentary reports, inquiries, law reforms, and investigations have proven the legal system has no justice for people who are raped.
Plus ça change
Timeline of the trials*
April 2016: Two men raped a woman
April 2019: First trial – guilty verdict
September 2020: Conviction overturned on appeal
2022: Second trial – abandoned due to Covid
2022: Third trial – abandoned due to juror misconduct
August 2022: Fourth trial – guilty verdict
April 2023: Sentencing hearing – Two men sentenced to community service and time served for rape
*This is just the list of the trials, documented as much as I could via court reports. There would also have been many other hearings involved in this process.
If you’re reading this on social media, links to all the articles are on the post on my website: JaneGilmore.com
FixedIt is an ongoing project to push back against the media’s constant erasure of violent men and blaming of innocent victims. If you would like to help fund it – even $5 a month makes a big difference – please consider becoming a Patron
Sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and support.
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Ph: 1800 737 732
Men’s Referral Service
Support for men who use violence and abuse.
7 days a week
Ph: 1300 766 491