The Injustice of Intimacy

The Injustice of Intimacy: Ep. 1, Is this what I think it is?

May 01, 2019 Nundah Community Support Group Inc Episode 1
The Injustice of Intimacy
The Injustice of Intimacy: Ep. 1, Is this what I think it is?
Chapters
The Injustice of Intimacy
The Injustice of Intimacy: Ep. 1, Is this what I think it is?
May 01, 2019 Episode 1
Nundah Community Support Group Inc

Indrina tells her story of comprehending that she was subjected to sexual violence and abuse throughout her marriage.  

Lisa Berlin, a Social Worker provides an understanding of IPSV from a counselling perspective

Julie Sarkozi, a solicitor, explains the definitions of IPSV and legal options, within the context of Queensland Law– both as a criminal offence and as category within domestic violence legislation.   

Show Notes Transcript

Indrina tells her story of comprehending that she was subjected to sexual violence and abuse throughout her marriage.  

Lisa Berlin, a Social Worker provides an understanding of IPSV from a counselling perspective

Julie Sarkozi, a solicitor, explains the definitions of IPSV and legal options, within the context of Queensland Law– both as a criminal offence and as category within domestic violence legislation.   

Speaker 1:

This podcast contains information and stories relating to sexual violence and domestic violence against women and maybe triggering to survivors. I don't like it. I hated it and it was hurting me, but I just thought it was something that I didn't like and he liked. I was talking to a DV service and describing what the conflict in the relationship was. I didn't even realise at that that point that what was going on in the relationship with sexual abuse. I think that was the first time that I started to think, yes, that's actually what it is.

Speaker 1:

The DV hotline helped with the way I recognised just how bad the abuse was. Yeah, so that was the first time I talked to anyone about the sexual abuse. I told my good friend, she started crying and thought it was so crazy and so horrible and I was like, wow, this must be something I need to think about. I didn't know it was a bad thing or that it wasn't normal. Just talking it through and someone being able to recognise it was DV because I had been manipulated into thinking his way of life was normal. It was at DV group listening to the other woman. It was just the same story over and over again. You're just a possession. This podcast is part of a series which were created by women with lived experiences of intimate partner sexual violence in workers in the field of domestic violence and sexual violence, intimate partner sexual violence, also referred to as IPSV can be difficult to define and for every woman who has experienced it, it can mean something different.

Speaker 1:

For the purpose of these podcasts, we have come up with a definition that we hope is inclusive to all women and all experiences intimate partner sexual violence, IPSV is any form of sexual assault that takes place within an intimate relationship, whether the parties are married or not. It includes rape, the use of force, threats or coercion to obtain sexual acts, shaming and not respecting a person's sexual or physical privacy. All of these can be used to gain power and control over a partner within an intimate relationship. The information provided in this podcast contains no advice and gives general information. Only listeners should not act on the basis of any material in this podcast without obtaining specific expert professional advice about their own particular situation. The Nundah Community Support Group Inc expressly disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any persons with respect to any action taken in reliance to the contents of this publication. First we hear from Indrina who tells her story of how she came to recognise that what she'd been experiencing throughout her marriage was actually sexual violence and abuse.

Speaker 2:

I agreed to be part of the podcast today, to bring to people's awareness what this particular topic is all about and how it affects people to let people know that it's not normal or okay and to help women to detect earlier so that they can get out before it's too damaging or to hard. The first time I became aware of what I was experiencing, was when my son was in kindergarten and I had made friends with a lovely mum who had five children. I was telling us some of the circumstances that we were having in the marriage and it was quite difficult. And, I told her that my then husband would do specific things such as spitting on me and some other things and she burst into tears and she said I'm sorry, sorry. And I just got shocked and realised that this was actually really bad and wrong.

Speaker 2:

Cause I had been with my husband for 18 years. I have two children to him. We had travelled the world, done, you know, built property, lived together. And I didn't think that he could ever knowingly do something wrong to me. How could we be really positive and wonderful during the day together and then in the evening these different things were happening and it was like I woke up and it was a dream. From my perspective now I look back on those circumstances. I strongly encourage anyone who is experiencing anything to do with their bodies that they feel uncomfortable about, to talk to someone to go and talk to a counsellor or a trusted friend. I know they're really personal topics and they're very intimate topics, but it's your body and you have to make sure you feel comfortable with everything. Some of the other things that help to bring to my awareness that what I was going through was marital rape, was going to a counsellor at my local Neighbourhood Centre and attending a women's course about domestic violence

Speaker 2:

And I discussed some of the experiences of my intimate life and I discovered it was not the norm. I had never discussed this with anyone. So it was the first time I ever heard that anyone said it was not okay. It caused me pain and my pain didn't matter to anyone, so it continued. I was taught to believe that no matter what you do, you stayed in a marriage and supported the marriage. I grew up in a really traditional household and followed a very strict religion and I was not exposed to a lot of different ideas in my faith, marriage was everything and respect all of the family unit, of your elders, of your husband, was everything. Our culture is based on respect, so you don't question, you just follow everything.

Speaker 2:

So it's still slowly coming to my awareness of exactly what's gone on my, my love for everything that I've ever known with my culture. I love it. I love the values. I love everything about it. And yet, it is the main factor of why I was in this position in the first place. So I'm still trying to reconcile in my head what's going on with something that I deeply adore and love and cherish and want to raise my children in this culture because it's got so many positives and yet the way that they treat women is so negative. When I first realised that this was marital rape and what I'd gone through for two decades, I was numb and shocked. I felt so destabilised. I felt my whole world came crashing down. Everything that I knew and believed was false, we were considered the golden couple.

Speaker 2:

We were strong, we did everything together, we were well respected in our community. Everything just felt so untrue. I felt like I could really relate to the stories of women who were kidnapped or children who were kidnapped and grew to love their captors. Thinking that it was okay. When I was going through the process of starting to understand what had happened to me. I didn't think of the legality offered, I didn't think anything about, you know, bringing legal charges for marital rape or anything like that. It was just a chaotic time of separation, my children, you know, working out our new finances court processes, it was a very traumatic time in itself. I think it's really important for women to start to educate themselves about what it is ok for themselves in their own bodies, education, awareness and discussion, I think that this shouldn't be a taboo topic.

Speaker 2:

We should all be talking to each other and getting an understanding, women should be taught that their bodies are, their properties only and their views are to be respected. Women's perspective should become more mainstream, not competing with men's views, women should be honoured for their differences. We should have a global shift on women's perspectives. We need to empower women to embrace everything about ourselves, including our intimacy, our sexuality, our parenting. We should support one another. I think that when women are going through this chaos and trauma of separation and divorce and courts and stuff, women should stand together and really support without any judgement. I would like to tell women that it's better on the other side. My life is very different to before, but it's my own life. I now have freedom. I have self respect, and I'm able to make choices. I'm free to have kind, considerate, intimate relationships with people who have respect and respect my values. Yeah, it looks really different and some things are really challenging, but overall, I'm free. If you're questioning what's happening. If you're wondering if things are right in an intimate relationship, if you're wondering, if something's wrong, not feeling in control or if you're not feeling safe, please talk to someone. You have a right to be safe.

Speaker 2:

We now hear from Lisa, a family support worker at the Nundah Neighbourhood Center.

Speaker 3:

So it's kind of hard to define IPSV sometimes, in the broad sense it's any unwanted non consensual sexual activity between intimate partners and because it's intimate partners, it's also an aspect of domestic violence. So it's at that crossroads and because the focus of my work with IPSV survivors is in a counselling or group setting, but it's therapeutic. I'm not bound by legal definitions of IPSV. Really my definitions they come from the women that I work with and there are the ones that people will know about that are very obvious, like any type of rape, whether it's vaginal, anal, oral and other types of rape. I'm not going to list everything, but there's other things that people might not necessarily think about, like being forced to watch pornography, coerce to act out scenes from pornography, you know, being videotaped against your own will or knowledge, even things that, you know, like incessant masturbation next to you in bed every night.

Speaker 3:

There's many, many, many things that I think constitute IPSV and for each woman who has been through that sort of trauma, it is, it's their experience and they'll define it in the way that has the most meaning for them. I actually went to a training that came up, a two day training on intimate partner sexual violence and there were three workers facilitating it and one of the workers was a woman with lived experience of IPSV. At one point she started talking about the myth of intimate partner sexual violence. One of the myths being that somehow it's not as dangerous or as horrific as rape by a stranger. And when she started talking about some of the myths, it really changed how I thought about things. It really gave me so much more information and scope. So she was saying things like the act of rape or any sort of sexual violence is a trauma in and of itself.

Speaker 3:

And if this is by your partner, someone who is supposed to love you and who you love, it's a huge act of betrayal as well and destruction of trust and intimacy. And the other thing that is really different, and I'm not trying to quantify better or worse, but really different and important to take note of, is that when it's intimate partner sexual violence, it usually is something that happens more than once. They have access to this woman every night. So this is not a one off. This is something that happens over and over again and one thing that she said, I won't quote her cause I don't know the exact way she said it, but it really stuck with me. If you're a survivor of intimate partner sexual violence or going through it, you're actually sleeping in bed every night next to your rapist.

Speaker 4:

Next we hear from Julie who was a solicitor from a women's legal service who talks about the definitions of intimate partner sexual violence in a legal context in the state of Queensland.

Speaker 4:

My name is Julie Sarkozi and I am a lawyer at Women's Legal Service. My role there at the moment and has been for the last year has actually been in the very specific role of advocating for complainants or victims of sexual assault in court if they want to stop their counselling records from being made available in court proceedings and those proceedings would be either in domestic violence proceedings or in sexual assault offences. So the specific role that I currently do is opposing the production of counselling records in those sexual offense proceedings. So I've been working at Women's Legal Service for seven years. IPSV the long version of that is intimate partner sexual violence and it is very difficult to define it because I think we all know what that means, but the way that it is defined under the legislation, it depends on which legislation you're looking at.

Speaker 4:

So for example, if you're looking at domestic violence, the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act, sexual violence in that forms part of the definition of domestic violence. So in that act, when the court is looking at, has there been behaviour that they could consider to be domestic violence, there is a section of that act that includes sexual violence as what could be considered domestic violence. So the act actually outlines that if somebody's a victim in this case and aggrieved says as part of their description of the behaviour that they are saying is domestic violence and I will use gendered pronouns because it's research shows that it's gender based crime. If a woman is saying he forced me, he did things to me that I didn't want him to do of a sexual nature, then the court according to that legislation needs to see that as being domestic violence because the legislation says sexual violence between people who have a relevant relationship.

Speaker 4:

So they could be an intimate partner, that is actually domestic violence. So there's that definition of intimate partner sexual violence and then there is the Criminal Code. In the Criminal Code says that if you have been raped, it doesn't matter what your relationship is with the person who raped you. And so that is defined in our criminal code as at section 3. 349 and I can read that out. Any person who rapes another person is guilty of a crime and then they, then you refer back to the meaning of, and it is against their consent. So consent means freely and voluntarily given by a person with the cognitive capacity to give consent. So it's using a person's consent to act is not freely and voluntarily given if it's obtained by force, threats or intimidation, fear of bodily harm, exercise of authority, false or fraudulent representation or by a mistake can belief.

Speaker 4:

So there's no reason under our existing laws why intimate partner sexual violence would not be covered by our criminal code. I always start with, are you safe? Are The children safe? Always keeping in mind that my priority as a lawyer is always her safety and potentially the children's safety. And then because depending on the answer to those questions, then I, then I might be starting to think about things like a Domestic Violence Protection Order and the reason why I'd be thinking about that is because that is a civil order. So it's very important to understand that's not a criminal instrument, it's a civil order. The purpose of which is to protect her. So if she is identifying intimate partner sexual violence and she needs protection, then I would be providing her information in legal advice about applying for a domestic violence protection order.

Speaker 4:

And in that application I would be including, because the court needs to be satisfied of three things. One there is a relevant relationship and intimate partner relationships are relevant relationships. So they are married, defacto boyfriend, girlfriend couple. So if you're falling into those categories then you will be a relevant relationship to satisfy the court. And then the next thing the court needs to be satisfied of is, has domestic violence occurred? Say in that application you would need to describe the behaviour that would qualify within the definition of domestic violence. So it's fairly broad, but certainly sexual violence is in there. So if you actually put into the application, he forced me, he did not accept no for an answer. I gave in after many hours of threats of intimidation of coercion and you do need to be quite detailed, then the court could quite quickly identify that yes, that is actually domestic violence.

Speaker 4:

And then the next thing that the court would need to be satisfied of is that it is desirable or necessary to make the order. And usually that is satisfied by things like is there any chance that you will need to have anything to do with each other in the future? So clearly, if there are children between you there is a high chance, it's very likely that there will be some kind of interactions between you two into the future. You don't need to convince the court that there will be interactions in the future, but that's generally a good guide. So based on the woman's level of safety, I would be guided by which I suppose legal avenue to pursue next. Very important to remember that domestic violence orders are not criminal in nature. So if you write in a domestic violence application that you have been coerced into sex, that sex has occurred against your will then, and I know of this occurring, where women have gone to the police and they have said, you know, I need a domestic violence protection order?

Speaker 4:

And they have given an account of rape, of sexual assault to the police to ground their domestic violence application. And the police have said, what you have described to us is the criminal act of sexual assault or rape and we want you to speak to our detectives about providing a statement so that we can then charge your partner with those serious criminal offences. So that sometimes happens. It's very important to understand that if you are taking out a domestic violence order, what I would call a private application, so you are doing it yourself and the police are not doing it, then that actually doesn't, that just doesn't trigger a criminal complaint that usually you need to contact the police. Somebody needs to contact the police and say, I want to complain about a rape happening to me or a sexual assault. And it is, and the person who's done that, the accused is, my partner, I have been intimate with my boyfriend or my defacto or my husband.

Speaker 4:

And these are very, very separate and different and distinct legal avenues or courses of action. And one can happen without anything happening on the other pathway. So if a woman is saying to me, look, you know, I hold no fears. This happened a very long time ago. I have nothing to do with this person. You know, this happened. And often that is the case. Often it is the case that, um, that it, that it is a historical, rape It's a historical sexual abuse. Then I would be saying, well, okay, let's talk about the criminal avenues. Let's talk about making a complaint to the police. Okay. So women have a whole range of options around intimate partner sexual violence in relation to what they can do and I talked a little bit before about, depending on your level of safety and how close you are to the partner, then you know you can go down the down the option of taking out a domestic violence protection order that is actually a civil order.

Speaker 4:

So what that really means is, is it's a couple of different things that it means. It means that the court only needs to be satisfied of the civil threshold and that means on the balance of probabilities that domestic violence occurred, that that is good because it's not the higher threshold of a criminal complaint. So the other thing that it means is, is that a Domestic Violence Protection Order is not a criminal instrument. So if there is one against you, so you're the respondent. So domestic violence has been alleged against you. So you're the one who's doing the domestic violence. It means you don't get a criminal record from having an order against you. So that is one civil option. The criminal options are actually going to the Police and saying, I have been forced against my will.

Speaker 4:

I tried to stop him and what happened was, is that I have been raped, I have been sexually assaulted. That is a criminal complaint. And that complaint can only be progressed by the police. No one else can progress that. So the other civil options are things like personal injury claims and a personal injury claim relies on you being able to get a solicitor to take a personal injury action against the person who's hurt you, saying that you've actually caused me harm. Essentially Personal Injury Lawyer is a feature of the civil law options that you have. So there's also personal injury actions. It's very rare for that to happen. And the reason why it's rare is because you need to get a lawyer to do it and so, you know, do you have the money to do that? And then there's a whole range of quite complicated laws around duty of care, you know, damages, foreseeable risk of harm.

Speaker 4:

And it's not an area that I would usually see a woman or a a victim survivor of intimate partner sexual violence pursuing. I rarely see that more often than not, I see the criminal complaint progress and if there is a successful outcome in the criminal complaint that is, he actually gets convicted of the rape, of the sexual assault. Then I see the victim survivor feeling really brave and going, all right, I'm going to pursue a civil action a personal injury action. Okay. The reason why someone would pursue a Domestic Violence Protection Order, even though it's a civil water is because if you breach it, so if there is an order out that says he is not to come within a hundred meters of your house, it's actually a criminal breach. So for some reason the actual order is a civil order. So he doesn't get a criminal record from having one against him. But if he breaks it or if he breaches it, he actually gets a criminal charge. So there are criminal sanctions for not following the order.

Speaker 4:

I think the difference, the really key difference between taking civil action and criminal action, and this is really important is that the police are the ones who actually action a criminal complaint. You can't, you might feel like this is a total, it's a travesty. It's an injustice. You've been terribly hurt and terribly wronged. But if the police do not pursue it and charge that person, there is nothing anybody else can do about it, including you. And that I must say is very, very frustrating for a lot of victims survivors. A civil action is, is done. You know, a civil compliant is taken by individuals so the state doesn't interfere and they, and they don't take on those. So, for that, the main difference is that a civil claim you would need to action yourself.

Speaker 4:

And that includes Domestic Violence Protection Orders. So sometimes the police will take out a Domestic Violence Order on behalf of an aggrieved, which is another way of saying victim, victim survivor. Sometimes they do, particularly if they are there on the scene. So you ring and something's happening, or the neighbour's ring and something's happening and the police turn up and they see what's happening. They see, they sort of have a sense that we have turned up and it's, and there's domestic violence occurring. I think the biggest challenge for women within the legal system in respect to intimate partner violence is, consent needs to be freely and voluntarily given and that freely and voluntarily means that there doesn't, there shouldn't be forced, there shouldn't be coercion, there shouldn't be threats. Well, okay, that's what the law says. Couldn't be clearer. But the law also says there is this other thing which is an excuse or a defence and that excuse is,

Speaker 4:

The defence of mistake of fact and the way that works is, is that if a defendant, if the accused says, but I thought she was consenting but I thought she was consenting, then he will be acquitted, which means he does not get convicted of the charge. He doesn't get convicted of rape or sexual assault and in intimate partner sexual violence, this is a huge stumbling block because an accused person can very easily and quite compellingly say this is the way we always had sex, which is why I thought she was consenting. And if the jury believe that he honestly and reasonably thought or that could have been the case, that could have been the case that he mistakenly thought she was consenting, then he will be acquitted. So that is the reality of our laws as they stand in Queensland at the moment.

Speaker 4:

I hope that that hasn't been too discouraging, but that is actually what is happening in our courts at the moment. Well look, the benefits of the legal system are that ultimately you can take out a Domestic Violence Protection Order that sexual violence and intimate partner sexual violence is recognised as being domestic violence and is worthy of you seeking protection both for yourself and your children if that's a feature of your relationship. And I really encourage people to take out Domestic Violence Protection Orders even if they think that the police have not been very helpful. I can assure you that that's what the legislation provides for and people are doing it all of the time and are getting protected because there is a Protection Order in place. So I really encourage people to do that and pursue that legal avenue in relation to making a complaint of rape or sexual assault.

Speaker 4:

I think if you do that with your eyes open and if you do that understanding that making a complaint is an unpredictable process and if you have support and if you are really feeling like you're able to see this through. I am not in a position to say you shouldn't say it through, see it through you should, but I also encourage people to do that if that is actually something that they feel really strongly about. I think that the act of speaking up and actually making a complaint to the police can be a very healing process for people no matter what the police do with that complaint and no matter what the outcome. For those of you who are worried about the financial implication of pursuing legal options, firstly for domestic violence protection orders, there are many, many domestic violence services, support services.

Speaker 4:

Some of those are linked in to Legal Organisations, but ultimately the legislation is drafted in such a way that you could without any help fill in the application and actually file that in court and stand up in court and say, yes, I want this Domestic Violence Order to protect me. So I am always in court and people are actually, have done that themselves. The forms are accessible online actually just type into Google application for a Domestic and Family Violence Order so you can do that without any help. But if you want help that is available, there are free services. DV Connect is our statewide support and referral service and then there are actually services that are probably close to where you live that are domestic violence support services so and there is also duty lawyer services at a range of courts in Queensland where there are lawyers there who you've, you don't even have to have met before but they will come and talk to you.

Speaker 4:

All you need to say is I'm here, I don't have a lawyer and I've made an application. Can you talk me through this and appear for me in court? And they cost nothing. There is Legal Aid, you can make an application for Legal Aid. Again, that if you're entitled to Legal Aid, that means that there will be a lawyer there, for you to go through the whole process with you. There is also the Women's Legal Service in Brisbane and that's a free service. So there's a whole range of options. There's Community Legal Services that have lawyers that can go through the form with you if you're feeling a little bit nervous about what you're putting in the form. And if is that, is it the right information? So, that's the option in terms of a Domestic Violence Protection Order. If you can afford it, nothing stops you from going to a private lawyer and saying, can you help me with a Domestic Violence Protection Order. On the criminal, making a criminal complaint for in relation to sexual violence, sexual assault or a rape complaint.

Speaker 4:

Going to the police doesn't cost you anything. And in fact, you don't need a lawyer to go to the police and make that complaint and you will never have a lawyer throughout that process. The police actually take the matter on and then investigate it. But again, if you want some legal advice about if you're thinking about making a complaint, I encourage you to contact Women's Legal Service and they'll put you through to me, I feel like that our existing legal options for women in preventing further intimate partner sexual violence are actually good and are getting better. And the reason why I say that is because when somebody takes someone to court, they are drawing a line in the sand and they are saying this behaviour is unacceptable. You cannot do this to me and expect there to be no consequences. And I think in particular taking out a Domestic Violence Protection Order does that.

Speaker 4:

It does that. It basically says there is now, a legal instrument, a piece of paper that says if you breach this, you are committing a criminal offence. Now because of the media around domestic violence and the linkup with legislation and the law. I think that all of that, all of that media attention, all of the discussion about intimate partner sexual violence and the availability of a legal remedy in a Domestic Violence Protection Order. I think that they work very well together as well as police being able to take one out and women being able to take one out as well so that you can, you can do it or the police can do it for you or you can get a lawyer. I think that those are there. They are very good options. If you're listening to this and in your thinking, this has happened to me, this has happened to me, I want to do something about it.

Speaker 4:

I think a really good place to start is going, well, what can I do about it? And I've indicated that one of your avenues could be to speak to the police. One of your avenues could be to think about if I'm feeling unsafe now, exploring a Domestic Violence Protection Order and one of your avenues might be depending on, I guess the circumstances of the intimate partner sexual violence, It might be pursuing civil claims. So that's where ultimately you might get a personal injury claim or a compensation claim. The more likely avenues would be the Domestic Violence Protection Order or the police complaint. I don't think it hurts, particularly if it's historical for you to get a little bit of initial legal advice and you can do that by either contacting a Community Legal Center or Legal Aid or even the police.

Speaker 4:

So you can actually ring the police and say, look, I just want to talk about maybe making a complaint, don't know whether I want to pursue it. And there are actually, there are avenues, even within the police service to record a complaint and not pursue it or actually make an informal complaint. I don't think it harms you if it's a historical account for you to get some legal advice first. If it's a fresh complaint, then you need to understand that the longer you don't make a complaint to the police, the more that might harm things like evidence. I think that the legal options are good in terms of protecting women from further intimate partner sexual violence. If it's happening now and you take out a Domestic Violence Protection Order because in doing that the whole purpose of those protection orders are to actually give you protection.

Speaker 4:

So they are good if you are thinking of separating from that partner, if you are thinking of this is over, I've had enough, I need protection, I don't feel safe. I don't think the legal system is good If you are thinking, I want to just make a criminal complaint against someone who I used to be in a relationship with because you don't automatically get a charge so you can make the complaint and then the police can take a really long time to investigate and I've often had people ring me up and say, I've actually made a complaint and now I'm really scared because the police are actually going to go and interview him and I'm really scared that I'm now just sitting here and I've got no protection and you may not be entitled to a Domestic Violence Protection Order by then because this actually might be something that happened 10 years ago.

Speaker 4:

But overall the more we or as women and as victims survivors actually say this is not okay and make the complaints to the police and take out the domestic violence protection orders. I think the more likely we will get a cultural change and we will increase the awareness of the community. No means no. My final comments in relation to intimate partner sexual violence is, is that one of the very frustrating things that happens to me all of the time is as I speak to clients, victim survivors who say the relationship that I had with my partner, ex partner was full of instances where I was unwilling and reluctant to have sex, that I engaged in sexual activity that ultimately I didn't want to do. And the way that they describe behaving, which is I turned my face away, I became frozen. I didn't move at all.

Speaker 4:

As soon as it was finished, I rolled away even I was crying. A lot of those behaviours I feel very strongly, clearly indicate to me a lack of consent and I get it. I really get that that's a lack of consent. But the way that our legislation, our criminal code is drafted is that I would think that it would be very difficult to get a conviction for that behaviour under our existing rape laws. And I think that that's really wrong. And I think, that it doesn't reflect intimate partner sexual violence. Like what actually occurs between people. However, that is how legislation is drafted at the moment and I think it's a real problem with our legislation that it doesn't really ask the person who's been accused of rape or sexual assault. What steps did you take to determine she was consenting and that in other states they do have those.

Speaker 4:

They do have that in their legislation and myself and Women's Legal Service. We're trying to get Queensland to look at redrafting our legislation to incorporate those more nuanced positions in terms of consent and what does consent look like? How can we possibly move forward saying that consent, potentially look like her not moving her face turned away from me and crying. How could that possibly in anybody's understanding of consent look like consent, but unfortunately the way our legislation is currently drafted, I think that it would be a very, very, very unlikely for someone to be convicted of rape in those circumstances. Well, I think if you're listening and you're thinking that is happening to me, I think to overcome that hurdle one, I would say you need to maybe think about that relationship and you need to think about much more actively coming to terms with whether or not this is a respectful relationship and then thinking about your safety and maybe if it's right for you and if it's safe for you taking out a domestic violence order because remember different definitions of sexual violence and domestic violence, you're not talking about a criminal complaint.

Speaker 4:

And then the other thing I would be thinking is if you feel strongly enough going to the place, because I think the more complaints that they have, the more they will need to start changing their idea of what intimate partner sexual violence is. What does rape look like? And then the other thing is maybe getting involved in social media campaigns without putting yourself in danger. Um, and also actively campaigning to change the law. I would help. I would, I would welcome any encouragement.

Speaker 1:

The women who have chosen to share their experiences have done so in the hope of helping other women and better equipping workers and professionals to provide more effective responses. We thank the women for lending their voice and giving us their time. If you're listening to this podcast and would like additional support, please contact your local Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault service or for legal advice, a Community Legal Service. A transcript of this podcast can be found on our website. Please be aware that this podcast was produced in Queensland, Australia, and legal information provided is based on Queensland legislation and law. This podcast was made possible due to funding from Legal Aid Queensland Community Legal Education Collaboration Fund. If you found this podcast useful and relevant, we encourage you to listen to the other four in this series.