My name is Kathy Sherriff.
I was raped by Bill Shorten in 1986 at a Labor Youth Camp at Portarlington, Victoria, when I was a 16-year-old minor and he was my senior, an adult.
For many years I have tried to have my voice heard. I have reported my assault to police and to Members of Parliament.
The response from those in the legal and political system has been to silence me, to protect one of Australia’s most powerful men, while he made his political ascent to alternative Prime Minister of the country.
I first reported the assault prior to Bill Shorten entering parliament.
I have come from a Labor family, I am a product of the Labor Party. When I was raped I was an unpaid teenage Labor Party volunteer.
I am not politically motivated in my pursuit of justice. I simply need to be heard and believed.
After I was assaulted, I was in shock and terrified of the consequences if I told anyone.
Up until that time, I had idealistic and political aspirations. Since the rape, I have lost faith in the Labor Party and politics in general. I am broken.
This is what rape does to a woman. You are forever damaged. Even if your assailant is charged and convicted you can never be the same.
My aspirational potential was never realised.
When I look back now, my one regret has been to not tell more people at the time. I was in shock. I felt shame. I ignored the truth, thinking if I moved on, my life might return to some sort of normality. I’ve learned rapists rely on their victims staying silent.
Many women stay silent.
I have reached out to people on ‘my side’ of politics including Anthony Albanese, Tanya Plibersek, Penny Wong and Sarah Hanson-Young.
None have helped me.
Instead they have ignored me or tried to shut me down.
Even as recently as the March4Justice rally at Parliament House, I was snarled at by the Labor Party Leader, Anthony Albanese, after I introduced myself.
He turned his back on me and walked quickly into Parliament House.
Penny Wong was with him and glared at me, also turning her back on me. I have written to Penny Wong. She does not reply.
I approached Tanya Plibersek who assured me she would come to speak to me after she stood on the rally stage to show her public ‘support’ to women victims by being photographed onstage. I watched and saw her speak to the event organiser.
When the photo opportunity ended, Tanya Plibersek turned the other way and was shown to a rear exit and dodged me.
I approached Sarah Hanson-Young, telling her I had emailed her and received no reply. She told me she received thousands of emails and was too busy to reply to them all.
These people are now framing their election prospects around ‘justice for women’. Labor is portraying itself as the party that listens to women.
I was once an idealistic adolescent, believing I could help ‘change the world’.
The rape and treatment since has left me a shattered woman. I have not been able to have a normal long term relationship.
I was once hopeful and trusting. I am now suspicious, on the defensive, with my guard up.
I have been broken by the people I looked up to.
Today, I am apolitical. I have no political affiliation. I consider myself a humanitarian.
In 2014 my case was investigated by detectives at SOCIT (Sexual Offenders and Child Abuse Investigations Team) at Victoria Police.
There are 1,700 pages in the Victoria Police files, plus audio interviews.
The file went to the Victorian Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP) to charge my rapist.
However, to my shock and dismay, Victoria Police stated at the time, “Investigating Police sought advice from the Office of Public Prosecutions, which advised there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.”
Yet, the OPP and Victoria Police pursued George Pell for an historical sex allegation with less actual evidence or witnesses.
Why am I being denied justice by the OPP and Victoria Police?
Grace Tame has been named Australian of the Year for speaking out about the sexual abuse she experienced as a minor.
Why am I being ignored?
Brittany Higgins is being lauded as a woman of courage for speaking out about being raped in Parliament House, interviewed by journalists and invited to speak at rallies.
Why am I shunned?
I have credible reason to suspect my Victoria Police file was not read, but ignored by the OPP due to political and personal affiliations with my assailant by persons in the OPP. If true, there has been a political cover up of my case, potentially amounting to a perversion of justice.
Dishonest journalists and supporters of my rapist now say Bill Shorten has been ‘cleared of rape’.
He has not.
I have applied numerous times for my file to be released to me through Freedom Of Information (FOI) laws so I can truly determine if there has been a cover up.
I have been denied my files, time and time again, as recently as the past few weeks.
This denial further confirms my belief there is a cover up. Why fight so hard to hide something if there is nothing to hide?
Times have changed since 2014 when my case was investigated.
The #MeToo movement gave me renewed hope women will be heard. But I am not heard.
Over the past few weeks, I have watched as my own (former) Labor Party has pursued a political opponent, Christian Porter, over an alleged historic rape.
The Labor Party has framed its forthcoming election platform on ‘justice for women’.
Women of the left demand a re-set for respect for women showcasing their poster girls for political advantage. Yet they ignore me.
Labor is demanding a Parliamentary Inquiry into the Christian Porter allegations. If there is to be an inquiry, it cannot be a singular political missile aimed at one political opponent, but must include all historic rape allegations by sitting MPs. Otherwise, an inquiry will be seen for what it is, weaponising rape for political advantage, rendering the inquiry a meaningless farce. That would be a wasted opportunity for real justice for women.
I will fight for my voice to be heard at any such inquiry.
Penny Wong tweeted this week: “In these last weeks we have seen extraordinary work by many women journalists, keeping a focus on issues which have too long been unspoken. Dismissing this as a “crusade” or “unapologetic activism” undermines their work and deliberately misses the point.”
These women journalists are selective in who they speak for. They will not speak out on behalf of me.
Politicians and journalists, have not helped me get justice.
I have come to the sad realisation they do not really care about women or victims of rape. They are using rape to destroy an opponent. It’s about their own political agenda.
They will not listen to me.
They have shut me down.
They try to discredit me.
I have been left abandoned and alone.
I now have no other option but to fight on my own.
I do not have the funds for justice.
Today I am a disabled pensioner with little money at the end of the week.
I do not have powerful connections.
I only have you, the people of Australia.
Please help me raise the funds to retrieve my files under Freedom Of Information laws.
I will need to hire a law firm to apply for my files and for a possible civil case against my rapist, subject to legal advice.
I need your help, Australia.
Monies raised will go only towards my legal fees. I will transparently disclose what my legal costs are as they arise.
I have no idea how much my fees will be at this point. Funds raised over and above my legal fees will be donated to a women’s shelter or rape and domestic violence support agency.
I will not profit from the funds raised.
GoFundMe, please help me.
Bill Shorten is renowned for sending out legal threats to any news organisation or media outlet that allows my voice to be heard. These threats have caused my voice to be shut down many times.
Bill Shorten is bluffing.
He is afraid of facing me in court. He does not want me or himself cross-examined.
Please do not be complicit in silencing me. Please allow me to be heard.
If you receive legal threats from Bill Shorten to shut down this funding, please call his bluff. Stay strong and help me be heard.
Tell Bill Shorten to bring it on.
I will be your prime witness.
Please support victims of rape.
To everyone else, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I appreciate your support more than you will ever know.
- Jeff Ingram
- Robert Campaign
- Colin White
- Anthony Feez
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