Raped on tape then blackmailed into marrying their attacker – the deeply disturbing trend affecting Australian women

University students from overseas are among the most susceptible

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Rapists are increasingly blackmailing their victims with horrifying videos of their sexual assaults, before coercing them into returning or even marrying their attacker, a special report has revealed.

In one of the interviews, a 21-year-old woman describes how she witnessed her own alleged attack via footage sent to her on Facebook - an experience that made her physically sick. The perpetrator then demanded she return to him or he would show the images to her friends and family.

"I saw flailing limbs," she said. "I saw me telling him to get off and then having my arms pinned down. I played the first 30 seconds and knew exactly what it was, and turned it off and went and vomited in the backyard."

The harrowing interviews have been recorded by journalist Naomi Selvaratnam for SBS News, who set out to investigate a disturbing, growing number of rapists using mental torture and blackmail to further taunt their victims in Australia.

She found that far from being isolated incidents, more and more cases of this kind were being reported - with foreign students most at risk.

One woman from Hong Kong paid her blackmailer thousands of dollars to prevent him from releasing the video.

Others - such as a young Indian woman who passed out at a party after one drink, only to awake eight hours later with no memory of her assault - was sent a video accompanied by a threat to marry the rapist, or he would show her entire family.

Read more: Rapists could be caught in the future by analysis of their pubic microbes
Read more: The sexism that lurks in dark recesses of Aussie sport explored
Read more: Meet the Ugly Girls Club: The new face of student feminism

The rapist was eventually charged, but the victim's conservative mother blamed her daughter and turned her back.

"Many are women from migrant and refugee backgrounds - most targeted deliberately," Ms Selvaratnam said.

In the report, one of the victims said that in the back of her mind she was "constantly wondering if this is ever going to resurface".

"And even if it resurfaced 10 years down the track, it’s like reliving it all over again," she added.