The Government’s Contempt for Women

Why are we surprised to see them turn their backs on rape?

Sharon Alger
Mar 3 · 9 min read
Image sourced from Twitter

In case you didn’t know, there is a growing fury among the women and many men of Australia, right now. But not all men. And definitely, not our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison of the Liberal Party. For non-Australians, I’d like to point out that the Liberal Party represents right-wing, conservative Australians.

A few weeks ago, a brave ex-Liberal staffer came forward with rape allegations against a co-worker. Her name is Brittany Higgins, and after she went public, a surge of complainants emerged, having been either raped or treated inappropriately by the same man. Our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has handled the entire thing appallingly, so our patience with him was already hanging by a thread.

He has assured Australians that his wife, Jen, reminded him he has daughters and to think about how he would respond if this happened to them. He was proud of this discovery, oblivious to how he’d put his buffoonery on full blast to the nation. Since then, he’s denied knowledge of Brittany’s rape until a week before she went public, despite evidence that suggests otherwise.

One of Scott Morrison’s cabinet ministers, Attorney-General Christian Porter, has recently been accused of the anal rape of a 16-year-old girl in 1988. Of course, Scotty has played the same game of acting like the whole thing is out of his hands.

The alleged victim, who we will call Jane Doe, contacted the NSW police in February 2020, to report the rape. The police began setting up an investigation, and Jane hired a lawyer. Jane Doe planned to provide a formal statement to the police, but the process was stalled, with COVID-19 given as the reason. She had told her friends about the rape, too. In June 2020, her dead body was found at home, and the media reported her death as a suicide. Allegedly, hours before her death, Jane Doe contacted the police to close the investigation.

About a week ago, an anonymous letter was sent to Senator Penny Wong, Senator Sarah Hansen-Young, and Scott Morrison. Senator Hansen-Young had this to say to Four Corners:

This morning I received information regarding a disturbing and a very serious allegation of a criminal nature against a senior member of the government.

Senators Wong and Hansen-Young immediately notified police of the letter. Penny Wong took the extra step of writing to the Prime Minister about it.

Scott Morrison’s way of dealing with the situation was to ask Christian Porter about the accusation. Porter said he didn’t do it. Shocker. In the video below, you can see Morrison seems satisfied with this answer. I’m just glad Scotty doesn’t run our court system:

‘Did you do it?’

‘Nope.’

‘Fair enough, mate.’

Video from YouTube

In this video, Scotty conveniently palms his responsibility off onto the police. And you might think, ‘well, that’s fair. The police should be involved.’ But, the next day, NSW police made a public statement that the investigation would be dropped, due to, ‘insufficient evidence.’ Is this how you’d deal with it if it were your own daughters, Scotty? Is this what your wife Jen, told you to do?

What’s the point of an investigation? To look for evidence. Jane Doe’s friend, Dhanya Mani, had this to say of the evidence available:

She kept records of everything, photographs of everything that would prove where she was that night, that the perpetrator was also there. There were diary entries from the time. [Source]

While we’re talking about evidence, what about Christian Porter’s Wikipedia page? When these accusations became public, and before he made a public statement, information was deleted about him being in Sydney in 1988 for a world debating competition. The competition was held at the University of Sydney. The rape was reported to Redfern police station, the closest station to this university. It’s almost as if someone scrubbed it clean, huh?

Now is a good time to share one of Porter’s tweets. Thoughts, anyone?

Image sourced from Twitter

Text: Last year, 28% of child sex offenders convicted of federal offences did not spend one day in jail — that has to change. That’s why we’re introducing mandatory jail sentences for offenders when Parliament resumes next week. The safety of our children should always be put first. September 3rd, 2019.

Well, that aged like milk, didn’t it? What a fantastic tweet, Christian. I’m sure 99% of Australians would agree with you.

Turnbull has stated that 6 months before Jane Doe’s death, she contacted Turnbull and his wife. She told them about her rape and sought advice from them on how to move forward. They told her she was taking the correct course and encouraged her to continue with it.

When I learned about six months later that she’d taken her own life, I contacted the South Australian Police Commissioner and forwarded to him her email to us and our response.

I assumed there would be a coronial inquest. [Source]

Yesterday, Turnbull called for the man accused of rape to ‘front up.’ That if he could deny these allegations to the Prime Minister, then he can deny them to the whole of Australia. He pointed out that this would remove the cloud hanging over his colleagues also suffering this speculation.

He also had this to say:

We don’t know for sure that she took her own life. We know for sure that she’s dead, and there needs to be an inquest. [Source]

The timing definitely feels fishy. Why would she close down the investigation when she was so close to getting justice, then kill herself? If so, what led her to feel that way? It doesn’t make sense.

Image sourced from Twitter.

Text: New: The minister at the centre of the allegation of rape in 1988 has engaged the services of defamation lawyer Peter Bartlett, and there is a strong prospect he will make a statement tomorrow. #auspol

Is it just me, or does this sound like a threat? Perhaps he’s worried that other complainants will come forward, as they did after Brittany Higgins went public? He’s already made noises about suing Four Corners after their explosive Canberra Bubble story which painted him in a concerning light. Amazingly, he thought making his statement one the same day as Grace Tame’s Press Club Address on behalf of survivors was a good idea.

Image sourced from Twitter

Text: The Minister will not stand down. His statement is still being worked on and he’s expected to take questions from journalists. Government sources are hopeful his public appearance will be ‘the end of the matter.’

And so the #NotMovingOn hashtag was born.

Porter acted like his greatest concern was what the media attention was doing to the family of Jane Doe. That he didn’t want to ‘impose on her family’s grief,’ which was why he’d stayed silent for so long. I’m sure her family is devastated, but which is more likely? They’re upset that the media is reporting it, or at the idea that their daughter might’ve been raped?

This man can say anything right now, and because Jane Doe is dead, she has no way of replying. It’s his word against a dead woman. He stated that he was 17 and she was 16, and that they only knew each other for a brief time. As expected, he claims the incident never happened. That he never had any type of sex with Jane Doe. He alludes to the idea that this was a ‘whispering campaign.’ That he must’ve offended someone 33 years ago. Is this a fresh take on the, ‘she couldn’t handle my rejection, so she retaliated’ excuse?

Porter claims he stayed silent on this matter because he was ‘following the rules and doing the right thing,’ to help the investigation. He says this was a difficult decision, and that his silence on the matter made him a victim of the accusations.

Tearfully, he asserted that this was a case of ‘trial by media,’ and that the process isn’t fair. I wonder how ‘fair’ Jane Doe felt the process was? It’s fair to say she probably wasn’t satisfied either, for very different reasons.

Porter didn’t say he couldn’t be a rapist because he worked with assault victims. But he did make sure to mention that before his career in politics, he worked with many women and children who were victims of sexual assault, and supported them. It’s probably just a coincidence he brought that up, today. I would like to point out though, that he did these things because it was his job to do so.

When reporters asked Porter if he would stand down from his role of Attorney-General, he refused. He felt that if he did this, then anyone’s lives could be ‘destroyed by media accusations.’ Meanwhile, the rest of Australia has to wonder if we can trust our own Attorney-General.

He mentioned that his friends have been asking if he’s okay. He said he’s not sure, but he will be seeking professional help. I can tell you who’s not okay: Jane Doe. He’s going to take a few weeks off for his ‘sanity.’ Is he hoping it’ll all blow over by then? Maybe, maybe not. But it won’t. Aussies will make sure of it.

Going back to 1988, he claimed he doesn’t remember having a formal dinner with Jane Doe (which there is a photograph of), but it probably happened. He doesn’t remember walking Jane Doe to her room, but it probably happened. Christian Porter said he clearly remembered seeing a big bowl of prawns. He remembers her teaching a group of boys, himself included, how to iron their shirts. He says he doesn’t remember, but there was probably dancing. But he definitely remembers that he did not have sex with her.

He remembers Jane Doe as a happy, bright, intelligent person. It makes me wonder why a person like that would bother making up such an elaborate story? It doesn’t sound like the behavior of a happy, intelligent person. A reporter asked him, why he wouldn’t want to have an investigation to clear his name if he’s innocent? He echoed the Prime Minister’s sentiment, saying it’s not his place, he can’t make that decision. Interestingly, he claims he wouldn’t succeed if it was investigated. I suspect he might be right. Either way, he doesn’t seem to be very passionate about justice for himself.

One reporter told Porter that in the letter, Jane Doe claimed he had forced her to perform oral sex and raped her twice. Of course, he denied it. The most interesting thing I noticed, was his comment on the accusation: ‘you’d never in a million years expect it.’

He never expected to be accused of sexual misconduct.

Never.

What’s this, then? A university yearbook page about Christian Porter, or ‘Chilla,’ as he was nicknamed?

Screenshot from Four Corners’ Documentary, ‘Inside the Canberra Bubble’, on YouTube

I guess someone saw it in him, huh? I wonder why that is?

The Australian public, and particularly Jane Doe and her loved ones, deserve a full investigation into her case. While they’re at it, her death needs to be extensively looked into.

How did she die? If she truly closed her own investigation and killed herself, what circumstances happened beforehand that led to her decision? If she didn’t commit suicide, how did she die?

Australia needs to keep the pressure up and hold the government accountable. For Jane Doe. For Brittany Higgins. For all the anonymous victims, and those who haven’t even come out, yet. If there are other victims of Christian Porter, or Brittany Higgins’ rapist, I hope they feel safe and supported enough by all of us to speak up. I hope they won’t let the threat of a ‘defamation lawyer’ put them off. As Australians, we need to keep the closing statement from Grace Tame’s speech today, at the front of our minds: ‘let’s keep making noise, Australia!’

But let’s not leave all the heavy lifting to the women. Men: if you are friends of Porter or Higgins’ rapist, don’t be shy. If you’ve heard these guys brag about sexual misconduct; come forward and speak up. If you’ve ever seen inappropriate behavior from them, say so. If you know something and you care as much as you claim you do, speak up.

Lastly, to Scott Morrison, Christian Porter, Brittany Higgins’ rapist, and anyone else who wants to protect a rapist: we are not moving on. We are mad as hell, and we’re just warming up.

Sharon Alger

Sharon’s personal publication

By Sharon Alger

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Sharon Alger

Written by

I’m an Aussie mother, carer, dog-lover and feminist. I write about feminism, humor, opinion pieces, and whatever else I feel like.

Sharon Alger

Stories written for my own enjoyment.

Sharon Alger

Written by

I’m an Aussie mother, carer, dog-lover and feminist. I write about feminism, humor, opinion pieces, and whatever else I feel like.

Sharon Alger

Stories written for my own enjoyment.

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