The Saturday Advertiser contained a comprehensive report on the trial of former political associate Lehrmann, who is accused of rape Brittany Higgins at a ministerial office in the parliament building in Canberra.
The front page splash was headlined “The Rape Divide” and immediately drew criticism from several prominent figures.
Hanson told the Senate yesterday that he had been troubled by the tone of “some media coverage” about the Lehrmann trial, which he said was “the prosecutor on trial, rather than the accused”.
“But just when I thought I couldn’t be scared anymore, we get the headline of” the advertiser in our own city, here in Adelaide,” he said.
The headline was ‘The Rape Divide’ – a pun… a pun with rape as the subject.
“Imagine you’re the kind of person who so fundamentally misunderstand the seriousness of rape that they’re willing to make a joke about it on the front page of a major newspaper. There’s a real person and, most likely, some real people who looked at that headline and thought, ‘Yeah, that’s enough.’
“This outrageous attitude stems from deep-seated misogyny and from a very simple and deeply regrettable fact: we still don’t believe victims. It is apparently more comfortable to believe that women are liars first than to confront that our culture has a problem with sexual violence. It shouldn’t matter to the public whether the alleged victim has given a truthful account of the events or not: that’s not for us to decide – we have courts for that – but it doesn’t stop parts of our media from joining in. thinking.”
He said the kind of course that passed by? the advertiser should not be tolerated.
“I don’t know which editor made the decision to do that Advertiser headline and I don’t know how many people have given it their tacit or explicit approval. I do know that we need to stop tolerating such headlines and media coverage. I won’t tolerate it, and if you’re listening now, you shouldn’t tolerate it either.
“This is an opportune moment for the Albanian Labor government to pledge in conjunction with the states and territories, all of them, to end violence against women and children within a generation. I commend my federal colleagues, in particular Secretary Rishworth and the Prime Minister, for taking the lead in this matter. It’s current. Unfortunately, it is clearly still necessary. And for the advertiserI look forward to the apology – and do better.”
The Advertisers column received some criticism immediately after publication, including from South Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and media personality and author Adam Spencer.
— ?? Sarah Hanson-Young (@sarahinthesen8) October 14, 2022
Dear damn mercy, this is a terrible headline
What part of a person thinks a “rape pun” is the right choice? pic.twitter.com/FqgsiLcF1w
— The Spence (@adambspencer) October 15, 2022
InDaily has requested a response from the advertiser.
A jury of eight women and four men is considering its verdict in the trial of Lehrmann.
He pleaded not guilty and faced a nearly three-week trial before the ACT Supreme Court.
Higgin alleges Lehrmann sexually assaulted her in 2019 in the Parliament House office of former Cabinet Secretary Linda Reynolds, for whom they worked as a staff.
If this story has troubled you, call LifeLine at 13 11 14.
If you’ve been involved in rape or sexual assault, Yarrow Place is a free and confidential service for those over the age of 16, offering advice, advocacy and medical support.
Call 1800 817 421 or 8226 8777 or visit their website.
You can also call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
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