Content warning: This article discusses sexual assault in a way that may be distressing to some readers
On Thursday, sexual assault survivor and consent education advocate Chanel Contos asked her over 17,000 Instagram followers, "What does your rapist do now?". Unsurprisingly, the question sparked many devastating responses that highlighted the lack of accountability for perpetrators.
"Since we're talking about 0 accountability being held for our sexual assaults – what does your rapist do now?" she wrote on her Instagram story. "Has their life been affected? Are they in positions of power? Happily married? Own a house? Has their reputation been damaged?"
Contos reposted many of the responses to her Instagram story, some of which are pictured below.
The 23-year-old Teach Us Consent initiative founder put the question to survivors after she, like many Australians, expressed outrage at the government's decision to promote Christian Porter to the role of acting leader of the House of Representatives for the week, despite previous allegations of rape – which he has denied – being levelled against him.
She said the news sends "a loud signal" to Australians that "victims will not be believed and rapists will have no accountability for their actions", a similar point made by Grace Tame a day earlier.
"Christian Porter will never be held accountable for his actions because our legal system doesn't account for the Entitled Opportunistic type of rapists," the Teach Us Consent initiative founder wrote on an Instagram story. Along with the message, Contos shared a photo of women protesting with the captions, "March 2021" and "We asked for: An inquiry", and another image of Porter with the captions "August 2021" and "He got: A promotion."
Contos said it's not only the politician's promotion that is outrageous, but the fact the government has not launched an investigation into historical rape allegations or to see if Porter is fit to be holding a ministerial position.
In a subsequent Instagram story, she wrote: "Thanks Australia for letting us know one more time there will never ever be any consequences for the boys who raped us when we and they were teenagers. Not that we need reminding."
Former Sydney private high school student Contos created the initiative Teach Us Consent, which has led the fight for consent conversations to be included in Australian schools earlier.
Her social media posts came after sexual assault survivor and Australian of the Year Grace Tame penned a powerful piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday, in which she labelled Porter's promotion as a "proverbial slap in the face of our entire nation" at a time when women's rights and sexual abuse are at the forefront of discussion.
In March, Porter was asked to step down as attorney-general after the ABC published a report into an alleged rape of a minor in 1998 by a serving cabinet minister. Porter wasn't named in the report, however, he identified himself as the alleged person and denied the claims. He then sued the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan for defamation but discontinued legal action in May. Refinery29 Australia does not suggest the allegations are true, simply that they were made.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison dismissed calls in March for an inquiry into the historical rape allegation, as well as an independent inquiry into seeing if Porter "is a fit and proper person to hold any Ministerial position”. On Tuesday it was announced Porter would be filling in as leader of the House of Representatives this week while Peter Dutton is in quarantine for two weeks after his sons were involved in Queensland's COVID-19 outbreak.
If you or anyone you know has experienced sexual or domestic violence and is in need of support, please call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), the National Sexual Assault Domestic Family Violence Service