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Rape is rape no matter what gender the victim is

14 April 2005

Rape is rape no matter what gender the victim is

Rape is no less traumatic for a man than a woman and it is time the law recognised this, Green MP Sue Bradford told Parliament today.

At the second reading of the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 2), Ms Bradford proposed changes to the way rape was defined, to include rapes by men on men, women on women, women on men, the use of objects, and anal and oral rape.

The Bill says only women can be raped. Men are not considered to be victims of rape, no matter how brutal the attack - and women cannot rape. It does not accept that rape can happen orally or through penetration with an object, she said.

"Many people who have been raped with an object will say in fact that the experience of this is even worse than rape with a penis.

"And the idea that oral rape isn't rape is equally incomprehensible, but I can assure them that it is a reality, and its impact is physically and psychologically profound."

In putting the Bill forward, the Government stated that its purpose in making reforms in this area is to ensure that 'the law relating to sexual offences reflects ... changes in social attitudes'... that the law should be streamlined as much as possible - and that 'offences provide for all victims of sexual abuse regardless of their sex, and the sex of the offender', Ms Bradford said.

"Despite this, and despite a number of submissions on the matter, the old definition of 'rape' has been retained in this Bill.

"I know this is a viscerally difficult topic to talk about. Most of us do not find it easy to discuss these matters around the dinner table at home much less in caucus rooms or at a public arena like Parliament.

"However, given that the Government has the opportunity to update the rape laws, we should have the courage to deal with this, and not run away from it because it's too hard to talk about."


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