IT should have been a crime that horrified a nation, sparking outrage over how a teenage girl could be gang-raped just metres from the supposed sanctuary of her home.
Instead, the 16-year-old victim was forced to leave the NSW town where the attack took place and police are appealing against the leniency of the sentences handed down to the five offenders.
The full horror of the attack only came to light when The Daily Telegraph obtained court documents detailing the depravity of the night in February 2012.
Miranda Devine: Official heads in sand over depravity and dysfunction
The victim, a “troubled and rebellious” young girl who has spent time in refuges and living with relatives because of her volatile relationship with her mother, had asked a friend to go out drinking with her.
They arrived at her mother’s house, where they were soon joined by a group of teenagers.
Sensing things were getting out of hand, the mother ordered the males, aged between 13 and 18, to leave and her daughter to stay. The girl ignored the warning, a decision that would prove fateful.
Fearing for her daughter’s safety, and herself affected by drugs and alcohol, she rang police. Parts of the call were played to the court. “I’ve got my daughter, she’s had err, a little bit much to drink and she’s hanging with these boys and they’re, they’re taking advantage of her … (they’re) going to rape her if they get her on her own.”
Lenient Sydney courts let crims walk
Police spoke to the teen, who told them she was fine and going to a friend’s house.
A short time later, just after midnight and about 50m from her mother’s house, she was pushed to the ground in a muddy park and attacked.
As the 18-year-old raped her, the others watched before they joined in, some raping her twice, before “abandoning her like some used object” in the dirt.
In the NSW District Court last month all five were found guilty of gang rape.
The 18-year-old was jailed for six years with a non-parole period of three years.
One 14-year-old received 3½ years, another got five years with 2½ years non-parole and a third boy of the same age was jailed for 3½ years. A 13-year-old is on bail to be sentenced on October 3. Charges against a sixth boy were dismissed with his involvement being limited to “being present at the scene, watching and laughing”.
THE case of a 16-year-old Aboriginal girl gang-raped by boys as young as 13 is as predictable as it is depressing.
Only the courage of the victim and the determination of honourable police officers brought it to trial.
In doing so they have forced into the open a subject so confronting and messy that our society chooses to ignore it in the hope it will resolve itself. That subject is the Hobbesian hell too many children in Aboriginal communities are born into and endure, until the cycle repeats itself.
Raped as babies, raped as toddlers, nine-year-olds raping six-year-olds. Men raping boys and girls. Victims becoming perpetrators. Extreme pornography playing all day and night, normalising sexual violence and perversion from the earliest age. Cries in the night, children safer roaming the streets. Heroic grandmothers who lock themselves in bedrooms with children to protect them.
It is no secret. Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson, Professor Boni Robertson, Alice Springs prosecutor Nanette Rogers, all blew the whistle long ago on the depravity and dysfunction. But nothing has changed.