A young woman was waiting for a bus at sunset when a car pulled up next to her. The male driver warned her about wild dogs and offered her a lift. She took it because she was terrified of being mauled, but instead of taking her home, the man took her to a house and raped her.
“I went inside. Dogs came in too. Man took off all his clothes and showed me his private parts. I wet my pants and soiled my pants,” the woman, a refugee known as Amina*, later recalled.
“This is the reason I left my country – this fear of rape – I see it happen to many. Then he said I don’t care and hit my face very hard. He said dogs will kill you if you don’t suck my private part. Then I have no choice.”
No matter how hard our government may try and hide it, we know the situation for the refugees and people seeking asylum we send offshore is dire. For the unaccompanied women like Amina who are banished to Nauru, many of whom have fled sexual violence in their own countries, it’s nothing short of horrific.
According to advocates, wild dogs roam the island in packs, which is terrifying enough, but the worst threat comes from the men who know where these vulnerable women live (in demountable housing scattered throughout the bush) and pick them off one by one.
On Nauru, women aren't safe in or out of detention.
A new report, Protection Denied: Abuse Condoned, from Australian Women in Support of Women on Nauru documents Australia's deliberate policy of sending women to a place we know is unsafe, but where no-one is held accountable if they are brutalised; the Pacific island of Nauru.
Australian Women in Support of Women on Nauru is a group comprising journalists, researchers, advocates and lawyers including former WA Labor premier Carmen Lawrence.
Theirs is the first report to bring together everything we know about Nauru and the suffering of the women we've left there.
It's aim is twofold: to expose our abuse to the global community and to call for it to finally be brought to an end.
It begins with the story of "Mary", a 24-year-old woman who was found traumatised, bruised and covered in bite marks after being brutally sexually assaulted while she was visiting a friend in the Nauru community in May 2015.
Instead of being taken to hospital, she was taken to the police station and was pressed for a statement. She was mute with trauma. So the police labelled her as "non-compliant".