— With AAP.
Warning: This article deals with an account of rape/sexual assault and may be triggering for survivors of abuse.
1. Two young Victorian men ‘smiled’ and gave ‘thumbs up’ after being sentenced for ‘selfish, shameful’ rape.
Two young Victorian men have been jailed for raping a woman in a caravan, where one of the attackers told his co-offender “she’s all yours now”.
Shaun Bloomfield and Luke Merryfull, both 24, previously denied they raped the woman and claimed the sex was consensual.
But a jury found Bloomfield guilty of two counts of rape and one count of sexual assault and Merryfull guilty of rape, following the attack at Balmoral in western Victoria in April 2016.
The woman had intended to sleep in the caravan after a 21st birthday party, but the two rapists – both then 21 – climbed in bed on either side of her.
Merryfull suggested a threesome, but the woman “immediately and clearly” rejected it or “any sex of any kind” with either of the men.
After Merryfull raped her, he got up and said words to the effect of: “she’s all yours now” to Bloomfield.
Merryfull claimed he was talking about the caravan, but that claim was rejected by County Court Judge Gerard Mullaly.
“These words are troubling as they are revealing, in my view, of a concerning attitude towards the victim as merely an object for each of you – one after the other – to violate at your will,” he said on Wednesday.
He added Bloomfield only stopped his assault when the victim pushed him in the chest, “forcing you to wake up to yourself”.
After the attack, Merryfull and Bloomfield left the property where their distressed victim tried to contact friends for help. She reported the rapes to police the next morning.
Judge Mullaly said after the attack, the victim was in “considerable distress”.
“She was entitled to feel safe in that environment,” he said.
Judge Mullaly said the victim felt ostracised from the local community.
“She has moved interstate and finds it difficult to return to her family in the small town in which she lived.”
He said courts were aware of the ongoing effects of sexual assaults upon victims.
“These were opportunistic crimes but they were serious and selfish where you put your sexual gratification above the ordinary human dignity and feelings of your (victim). That is shameful and the devastating impact on her is still resonating.”
The ABC reported the court heard the victim suffers from serious mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.