Double trauma: Rape survivor trolled for speaking out
A FAR NORTHERN woman who was allegedly raped in Cairns has been trolled on social media for speaking out.
The woman, who cannot be named, was allegedly violated earlier this year.
She alleged the assailant, 18, had acted on a bet.
"I did not know him, I was not flirting with him, I did not ask for it, and I am tired of feeling like I should be ashamed," the woman said.
"This is the second time in three years I have been raped or sexually assaulted by strangers in Cairns and it makes me sick."
After reporting the crime to police she was trolled on Instagram.
"You are lying to everyone … when the time comes in a court everyone is … going to realise your (sic) a nutcase," a direct message to the woman said.
But the woman said her questioning by police was also humiliating and traumatic.
"There were 15 people standing around me, not once did they ask can we call someone for you," she said.
She alleged one of the responding officers told her to "get over herself," a claim that Queensland police have denied.
"It was horrible, they did not offer to call a sexual assault support team until I insisted," the woman said.
"They asked me 'were you flirting with him?", "how many drinks did you have?", "how far were you bending over?", "what sort of underwear were you wearing?"
She has called for harsher penalties to be introduced for sexual assault and rape and for police to be retrained in treating victims of sex crimes.
"Support should be given to victims immediately," she said.
"A counsellor or support worker should be notified as soon as police receive the notification of the assault and should be present before police start questioning."
A Queensland Police Service spokesman said a man had been arrested and charged.
"The victim was offered support from the Sexual Assault Support group at Cairns Hospital," the spokesman said.
"The Queensland Police Service treats all reports of sexual offending seriously and is committed to fully investigating each matter.
"Criminal investigations relating to sexual offending are often complex in nature and we acknowledge that they can be difficult for victims.
"Our first priority will always be the wellbeing of victims of sexual crime and the QPS works closely with support agencies to ensure they are supported through the legal process."
The defendant has appeared in Cairns Magistrates Court and the matter has been adjourned until late this year.
He remains on bail.
CAIRNS A SEX CRIME HOTSPOT
The manager of the Cairns Sexual Assault Service, Ella Morter, said the FNQ city still has one of the highest per capita ratesfor sexual assaults in regional Queensland.
"Our sexual assault service gets roughly one or two calls a fortnight from the Police or Hospital to support people afterrecent sexual assaults, we know that many survivors don't attend hospital or report to the Police so we guess there are manymore," Ms Morter said.
Lydia Popham of the Reclaim the Night Organising Collective said the experience of being interviewed by police made sex crime survivors feel like they were being "interrogated".
"We've heard of survivors finding the experience of reporting to be really stressful," Ms Popham said.
"The Police do generally believe woman, but when it comes to the law- they need proof, so the questions that survivors areasked can feel a bit like an interrogation."
She called on community members to speak out against misogyny and any behaviours that tolerated sexual assaults and rape.
"Be a wonderful bystander," Ms Popham said.
"If you hear someone say something that is derogatory towards women, speak up and challenge if safe to do so. We encourage people to practice how they will give and receive consent.
"The F.R.I.E.S acronym is helpful, consent should be F- freely given, R-reversible, I-informed, E-enthusiastic and S-specific."
Originally published as Double trauma: Rape survivor trolled for speaking out