Dutton accused refugee rape victims of lying - he must apologise now or be sacked

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Last night Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton accused some of the most vulnerable women in the world of lying about being raped and lying about needing a termination as a consequence.

He said, “Some people are trying it on. Let’s be serious about this. There are people who have claimed that they’ve been raped and came to Australia to seek an abortion because they couldn’t get an abortion on Nauru. They arrived in Australia and then decided they were not going to have an abortion. They have the baby here and the moment they step off the plane their lawyers lodge papers in the federal court, which injuncts us from sending them back.”

We the undersigned believe this is an unprecedented attack on survivors of sexual abuse and an historic low for Australian politics. The Minister must apologise unreservedly or the Prime Minister must sack him.

Tragically, countless women across Australia will recognise this strategy. Women know only too well how abusers level exactly these kinds of accusations at them, as they are being assaulted, battered and abused.

This is not just a vile attack on the reputations of women who come to Australia seeking protection; it is an indirect attack on all women.

It sends a clear message that the man with arguably the most powerful portfolio in Australia, with unprecedented powers to survey, detain and question, believes women fabricate stories of sexual assault and use their own babies as a form of manipulation. It takes an axe to the campaign to create a safer community for all.

Minister Dutton has such contempt for both the women he was slandering and the broader Australian community that he couldn’t be bothered offering any evidence of his appalling accusation.

We are calling on Minister Dutton to apologise unreservedly to the women he so callously defamed. If the Minister is unwilling to do that, the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, must sack Minister Dutton.

Neither man can be taken seriously when they speak of protecting Australians or the right of women to live free from such violence and yet defame and lie about women so callously.

Accusing women of lying about rape and sexual violence is a tactic as old as time, deployed by rape apologists and perpetrators of violence against women. Peter Dutton is playing straight from their tattered old book.

On Thursday, human rights barrister and Australian Women in Support of Women on Nauru campaigner advocate, Claire O'Connor SC, spoke to the Guardian Australia on Thursday, she said, "Most of the complaints about [the government’s] failures to provide adequate health care involve the mental deterioration of children, and what is he going to say about that?”

“So [Peter Dutton] picks on women because it’s easy to say women make things up. He isn’t the first and won’t be the last to say these sorts of things about women who report sexual assault."

Minister Dutton simply cannot be allowed to get away with this. Even for him this a disgusting new low.

Minister Dutton, it's time to show some respect for women. If you don't, you can count on us to call you out.

Those wanting more detail can read the report into sexual assault on women refugees on Nauru; Protection Denied Abuse Condoned.