One in five Australian women has been the victim of a sexual assault. For these women, there is less than a 1 percent chance that their rapist has been arrested, prosecuted and convicted of the crime. These are the bare numerical facts of system failure.

We offer rape survivors a stark choice: go to the police, or remain silent. In recent times, the public pressure on survivors to report has increased, alongside a growing focus on two other options: civil action against the perpetrator, or going public. These evolving social responses are intended to offer an alternative to the tradition of silencing. However, each of these choices, for survivors, involves a further sacrifice of what they have already lost.

The legal system’s responses to rape were designed without survivors in mind, and they do not address, in any way, the questions that survivors ask or the needs they express. Simply put, on the systemic response to rape, we are having the wrong conversation.

Join Michael Bradley, author of ‘System Failure: The Silencing of Rape Survivors’ to explore the urgent need for fundamental legal reforms.

ABOUT SYSTEM FAILURE: If a man commits rape in Australia, there is a less than 1% probability that he will be arrested, prosecuted, and convicted of the crime. That is the definition of a system that has failed and continues to fail, the people it is meant to protect – survivors of sexual violence.

ABOUT MICHAEL BRADLEY: Michael Bradley is the managing partner of Marque Lawyers in Sydney, where he practices in media and human rights law. He is Chair of the Rape and Sexual Assault Research and Advocacy Initiative and a director of The Grace Tame Foundation. Michael has worked with dozens of sexual violence survivors in recent years, helping them navigate the legal system’s ill-equipped responses to what they have suffered, observing their experiences, and listening to their feedback. His clients have included Grace Tame and “Kate”, the deceased complainant of alleged rape by former Attorney-General Christian Porter.
A widely published author, Michael has a regular column in Crikey and has been published in The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, and other media. He has had three books published: Coniston (UWA Publishing, 2019) about the last massacre of Aboriginal people in 1928; System Failure: The silencing of rape survivors (Monash University Publishing, 2021); and Freeing My Family (Allen & Unwin, 2022) about the rescue of an Uyghur family from China on which he worked. His next book, a co-authored work with Grace Tame on cancel culture, is due out in 2023.

Proudly presented by Cairns Tropical Writers’ Festival, our Breakfast & The Law event is not to be missed!

DATE: Friday 24 February
TIME: 7am – 9am
LOCATION: Pullman Cairns International
TICKETS: $65 pp including plated breakfast