Bettina Arndt Politicom 14th April 2023
While our country recovers from the lockdown years, across Australia there are thousands of families who look back to 2021 as the start of a very different nightmare – the year their sons were accused of sexual assault. In the past few weeks I have spoken to three mothers whose sons faced rape accusations that year. Luckily in all three cases, the false allegations didn’t end up with the young men in jail. We rarely hear about women exploiting the “believe all women” mantra now prevailing in our justice system to manufacture stories to destroy men. Their reasons are many, including revenge sex.
In one case the charges ended up being dropped, the other two guys were found not guilty by juries.
For one family it took nearly two years of hell to have the young woman’s lies exposed in court.
Their barrister asked the accuser in court to confirm her allegation that she’d been raped, beaten black and blue and left unconscious.
“Maybe,” the girl replied. The barrister pressed the point. “No, but I could have been,” suggested the girl.
After a four-week trial costing the family over $300,000, the jury took less than an hour to acquit the young man and throw the case out.
This is the legacy of Brittany Higgins – the flood of Higgins copycat cases working their way through our justice system, demanding massive police and judicial resources often for dubious cases which should never have ended up in court.
There was a huge wave of women who came forward in early 2021 claiming to be victims of sexual assault. The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics, which produces the most detailed statistics, reported that in March 2021 NSW police recorded the highest ever spike in sexual assaults, an astonishing 59 per cent increase from the monthly average in the previous year.
That was just over a month after Brittany Higgins appeared on national television with Lisa Wilkinson who celebrated her bravery in accusing Bruce Lehrmann of rape.
It was a few weeks after Higgins spoke in front of applauding crowds at the “Women’s March 4 Justice” and Chanel Cantos started her Instagram petition gathering anonymous claims of sexual assault from Australian schoolgirls.
Within a few months the managers of the Brisbane-based 1800 RESPECT sexual assault phone line were thrilled at the huge national response their hotline was receiving: “It’s like the floodgates have been opened. Things are changing and it feels positive,” said Melonie Sheehan, reporting over 20,000 calls in February – and 5000 more calls in the first week of March.
Two years later the chickens are coming home to roost. All those eager “survivors” are seeing their cases finally winding their way through the courts, joined by a steady stream of other young women keen to have their Higgins moment.
No doubt these include many genuine cases where victims deserve justice. Given how badly rape victims were treated in the past, many of the changes to our justice system encouraging these women to come forward are to be applauded.
Anyone who doubts the need for continued vigilance about the sexual exploitation of women should watch Mark Steyn’s recent expose of the shameful history of gang-rape of English girls by Pakistani gangs. Women do remain at risk, particularly in certain communities.
Yet, what we rarely hear about are women exploiting the “believe women” mantra now prevailing in our justice system to manufacture stories to destroy men.
Their reasons are many, including revenge sex against lovers who have let them down, or a cover up for cringe moments where they get caught out having sex with the wrong man.
Women have learnt from the Brittany Higgins case which proved an alleged rape survivor can get away with extraordinary behaviour – and indeed, be rewarded with millions of taxpayers’ dollars for her efforts.
Janet Albrechtsen in The Weekend Australian newspaper last week revealed Bruce Lehrmann’s lawyer, Steven Whybrow SC, had written to Federal Police just before the case fell apart, asking for an investigation into Higgins’ conduct during the trial, including allegations she falsified and destroyed evidence, fabricated a photo of a bruise on her leg and publicly called into question the evidence of a witness while the trial was still under way.
It is hardly surprising that young women have been encouraged to come forward with rape accusations based on the flimsiest, most contradictory of evidence.
An absolute classic has been playing out in the ACT Supreme Court in the past week; a case which has received remarkably little reporting, when you consider that Alexander Matters, the accused, like Bruce Lehrmann worked in Canberra politics.
The difference is that here the young man was an electoral officer for a Labor MP, which may explain the disinterest from much of our media only keen on exposing conservatives in trouble.
Alex Matters has just been found not guilty in a unanimous decision by a Canberra jury – one of the wokest parts of Australia.
That’s a miracle, given that it would only take one true believer to result in a hung jury. Here a decision was reached after only 5-6 hours of jury deliberation.
And the reason? The accuser was revealed, in the words of Alex’s barrister as “unreliable and unresponsive”, her evidence full of “lies and inconsistencies” which were exposed in court. This Brittany Higgins wannabe didn’t further the feminist cause at all – hence the stony silence from most of our media.
When the alleged rape happened, Alexander Matters was an ANU law student who started a “f#ck-buddy” relationship with a student activist, a young woman who had an official role advocating for rape victims, and who had taken part in the Canberra women’s march alongside Higgins.
The couple had been having occasional hook-ups for months before the alleged rape took place in a college dorm room in May 2021.
Their first hook-up happened after Ms Advocate told friends that she wanted to have “revenge sex” to punish a guy she’d been seeing who’d annoyed her by leaving town for reserve army training.
Her text to friends suggested she’d “have sex with Alex Matters to get back at him”. But that experience clearly proved pleasing and she came back for many repeat performances.
The “friends with benefits” relationship proceeded for four months. Then in September she discovered Matters had been charged with sexual assault following an accusation by another woman – a case which would ultimately be dropped by the well-known DPP Shane Drumgold SC.
Ms Advocate faced a dilemma. As Matter’s barrister Steven Whybrow SC suggested in court, it “wasn’t a good look” for a student women’s advocate to be known to be “sleeping with someone alleged to be a rapist”.
Sure enough, within days she was reporting a rape to police. She alleged that, back in May, on one occasion when they had sex Matters hadn’t stopped exactly when she asked him to – he thrust three more times.
She claimed she didn’t give consent for him to ejaculate on her breasts and that it was rough sex that left her bloody and bruised for days.
Mind you, before actually fronting up to the police, the woman had been discussing via text with friends whether this amounted to sexual assault. “I think I might have been raped too. I don’t know,” she told her godmother.
As the judge pointed out in his summing up, the accuser was an “over-sharer” and it was her text messages which ultimately brought her undone. It was revealed in court that within 24 hours of the alleged rape, she’d sent Matters an audio message saying, “F#ck me, Daddy?” and another saying, “I want you to f#ck me so hard”.
For months she continued having sex with him, complaining to her friends that she couldn’t help herself. “Bro, I keep sleeping with Alex, what the f#ck is wrong with me,” she asked one friend. Her response to another who suggested she should cease the hook-ups with Matters. “No, no, I like it”.
Despite the prosecutors’ best efforts to play up the rough, forceful sex inflicted on her, the forensic evidence of a bloody blanket proved unconvincing, given that the blanket was examined four months after the event, making it impossible to distinguish between stains from that early encounter and other participants in Ms Advocate’s love life.
Her claim to police that after the alleged rape she had cried, had a shower and gone to sleep was proved in court to be a lie. She’d been busily texting friends for hours about other relationships. And within hours, despite grumbling to Matters via text that, “It still hurts. You really went for it”, by that evening she was suggesting: “Surely we f#ck again?”
She told police that she didn’t give permission for him to ejaculate on her breasts but was forced to admit in court that she had lied in that police interview. Matters had asked if he could do this and she had said yes.
There’s a lesson here for all the good folks convinced that the new sexual consent training will keep men out of trouble. They seem to believe that by being required to seek affirmative consent, men will protect themselves from claims of imposing their will on a woman. Oh, yeh?
That assumes women won’t turn around and lie about what happened. Here we have Alexander Matters, who was at the time a law student, and like all ANU students a graduate of the university’s compulsory sexual consent training. He was having sex with a woman whose job it was to encourage that training.
He was the very model of woke manhood. The very first time they had sex she became upset, he stopped, he comforted her, they did not continue. Party line perfect.
On the night in question, he wanted a blow job, she said no, he heard her and moved on. He asked to go down on her, she agreed and so he did that. They then started to have intercourse, it was painful, she told him to slow down, and he did so. Exemplary behaviour.
Then, she claimed, he slipped up. He allegedly failed to stop immediately which he claimed was because he was close to coming and overly excited, and continued for three more thrusts before stopping. But soon he was back to model behaviour. “Can I finish in your mouth?” he asked.
She said no, he accepted that. “Can I finish on your tits?” and she said, “Sure, sure” (and later lied about this to police)
The simple fact is that even if men do the right thing every step of the way, women can lie about what happened. In this culture, simply because they are women they may well be believed.
After the case was dismissed, Steven Whybrow SC issued a statement saying he had written to the DPP before the trial “pointing out all the problems in this case with a view to avoiding these two young people having to go through this traumatic experience unnecessarily”. He added: “This was a case that did not need to proceed to trial.”
That’s likely be true of many Higgins copycat cases now winding their way through our court system but our public prosecutors appear to be too worried about the feminist mob to knock them back.
Alexander Matters is a lucky man. So far we are not seeing any surge in men being found guilty of sexual assault in our courts, despite an overall 13 per cent national increase in reports in 2021, with a 53 per cent bump in Tasmania and 35 per cent in Queensland.
Our juries are doing their job, looking at the evidence and judging the cases accordingly.
But as the increasing number of Higgins wannabes really hits our courts, we’ll see whether hung juries become more common as juries become ideological battlegrounds between feminist warriors and ordinary folk.
1/ Image Brittany Higgins. (courtesy SBS/Bettina Arndt)