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Delays in reporting alleged rapes are not unusualplace – even years later



This isn’t always a barrier to justice. On Friday, an nameless letter become despatched to the top minister’s workplace alleging a present day federal cupboard minister raped a lady in 1988.

This become accompanied days later with the aid of using an e-mail alleging another “historical” sexual attack on the arms of a now-MP for Labor.

Both letters come withinside the wake of Brittany Higgins’ allegations of rape in a minister’s workplace at Parliament House. These disclosures have contributed to the dialogue across the way of life of sexual harassment and bullying in Australian politics.

The contemporary allegations have additionally raised questions on so-called “historical” instances of rape and sexual attack and the demanding situations of investigating them and pursuing justice after such a lot of years have passed.

It isn’t unusual for survivors of sexual violence to put off reporting to the police, or to own circle of relatives and friends. While there are truly barriers to bringing prices while there may be a put off in reporting and investigating an alleged attack, there are nonetheless avenues for searching for justice.

There are many valid motives why survivors of sexual violence won’t at once file to police. It may also take time to system what has occurred to them. Many survivors additionally do now no longer at once use the terms “rape” or “sexual attack” to explain their experiences.

There are regularly deep emotions of disgrace or guilt related to sexual violence. The preliminary reaction of survivors can be to keep away from reliving the enjoy and keep on with their normal lives. This is a self-safety mechanism following extreme trauma.

A in addition problem for lots survivors is whether or not they may be believed and supported. They may also worry being accused of mendacity or exaggerating. They may additionally consider they’ll face antagonistic or sceptical questions on their behaviour earlier than or at some stage in the attack.

It is not unusualplace for sufferers to enjoy a “freeze reaction” wherein they grow to be immobilised while subjected to sexual violence. Another not unusualplace response is the “fawn reaction” which entails placating the attacker to keep away from escalating the situation.

The “freeze” and “fawn” responses are well-studied physiological reactions to stressful situations. They are the body’s tries to guard itself from in addition injury. However, they’ll lead survivors to worry being judged for now no longer “combating off” an attacker.

Police responses to reviews of sexual violence additionally range widely. Some cops are supportive and in a position while coping with sexual attack reviews, however others can be disinterested, overworked or maybe brazenly antagonistic.

As one people has commented previously, survivors of sexual attack are playing “Russian roulette” once they file it to police, due to the fact they don’t recognize what form of reaction they may get. This uncertainty in addition dissuades survivors from at once reporting their experiences.

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