Scott Morrison – Rape accusation reveals again the deeper work we all need to do
Allegations that a serving cabinet minister has been accused of raping a 16-year-old girl three decades ago are shocking. The accusation deepens the wounds of the past fortnight, in which the treatment of women in political circles made headlines but, more importantly, again highlighted how far we have to go to eliminate sexual harassment and assault against women.
The ABC revealed the historical allegation on Friday night. NSW Police released a statement saying its abuse and sex crimes squad had received a complaint from a woman in February last year and had commenced an investigation. While the woman spoke to police initially, she did not make a formal statement. She died by suicide a few months later, and the investigation was suspended.
Police point out that it is a matter for the individual to decide whether to pursue a complaint against an alleged perpetrator, but anyone with even a passing interest in the process knows that taking such a step can be incredibly difficult for many women.
This case is tragic on many levels – that the woman felt able to make a complaint only 12 months ago despite her alleged experience as a 16-year-old in 1988; that she has since died; and that the there is little if any chance that the truth or otherwise of what happened will ever be established.