An outrage – vicious attack on woman

Today the Nauru Government and Police stepped up their WAR on Women in Nauru. They did what would never be allowed in this country.

They released a Police Brief to every media outlet in Australia through their contracted agent Mercer PR.

They included the name and intimate details of the victim of a vicious attack in order to silence her.

This young woman was brave enough to give the evidence to the ABC 7.30 Report and allow them to show it to save others.

Nauru – airstrip, foreground right; detention centre, inland

She asked one thing – please not my name.

She wanted to keep this brutal experience separate from her name.
The Nauru Police and Government have destroyed her privacy with the aid of MERCER PR who boast

“We assist our clients to minimize adverse publicity and are called upon to deal with issues and crises when company, executive or personal reputations are at risk.”

This is evil PR at its worst.

This is what they are doing – vilifying this young woman in order to minimize the damage caused by the truth escaping from this island of dirty secrets where no journalist, no facebook, limited phone and internet, ensure that the evil that men do stays hidden.

The Nauru Government wants the money which refugee camps bring.

They are destroying their own community to keep it. The people of Nauru are the losers too.

They have no freedom of speech, their democracy is in the hands of corrupt leaders.

The women and men of Australia have been loud in their condemnation of the rapes and sexual assault of refugee women and are demanding an end to this cruelty from their elected representatives. Our cries will not be stilled. NO woman whether in Australia or Nauru should have to put up with rape and assault. Enough.

Pamela Curr
Refugee and Detention Rights Advocate
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
214 – 218 Nicholson St
Footscray Vic 3011
T: 03 9326 6066
M: 0417 517 075
F: 03 9689 1063
ASRC is on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation

12 thoughts on “An outrage – vicious attack on woman

  1. Poor Nauru is been a scape goat for you Refugee Advocates. Why would a Nauruan man want to rape a needy Refugee ?

  2. Itsimor, if you believe the multiple reports from refugees and refugee advocates are wrong in their claims of rape on Nauru, you need to encourage the Naruan government to allow foreign journalists in to report on the situation. Until that happens, we will just have to take the word of the victims and their advocates. Why aren’t journalists allowed in? What is there to hide?

  3. Union comment ... says:

    A United Voice union spokeswoman said Brisbane was the “point of hire” for Wilson Security’s offshore detention operations, with about 80 per cent of staff coming from the city.

    United Voice co-ordinator Damien Davie said a survey of members who worked on both Nauru and Manus Island found 27 per cent had either experienced or witnessed bullying by management.

    Mr Davie said it found 25 per cent believed Wilson had covered up or not acted upon incidents and 88 per cent thought they would be sacked if they spoke out.

    “We’ve had many more workers, who don’t wish to be identified publicly, speak to us about similar issues, including the lack of workers’ compensation for workers, the prevalence of bullying and sexual harassment and a culture that encourages sweeping everything under the carpet and leaving it there,” he said.

    “One of the challenges for us as a union is effectively advocating for our workers when it’s often so difficult to speak with them.

    “We’re not allowed onto the islands, phone lines are often down, emails are monitored and Facebook is banned.

    “It’s our firm belief that things in offshore detention can’t improve for workers or detainees unless something is done to break down the culture there, and its United Voice’s position that can’t happen until a new contractor takes over.”

    Mr Rose said there were times when she was on the island that she was unable to speak to her four-year-old son for weeks.

    “There were other workers who missed parents’ funerals because Wilson wouldn’t provide leave or didn’t arrange flights out in time,” she said.


  4. 'Media diversion' ... says:

    The SMH article states that:

    “Transfield (is) the private firm that runs the detention centre, to provide security at the facility.”

    The subcontractor issue harped on in the Guardian article is a diversion to absolve the responsible entity, Transfield Services, and have defenders of human rights go running in the wrong direction.

    Compare that with the Crikey article:

    A Brisbane-based former security guard at the Nauru immigration detention centre claims she was forced to work alongside a superior after she had lodged a sexual harassment claim against him.

    Chenoah Rose, who worked for Wilson Security on Nauru between February 14, 2014, and February 1, 2015, said she lost her job after lodging her sexual harassment claim and suffering a “debilitating” injury at work.

    Wilson Security is subcontracted by Transfield Services, the private firm that runs the detention centre, to provide security at the facility on Nauru.

  5. Parliament's response ... says:

    In August 2015, the parliamentary inquiry into Nauru and Manus palmed abuse of refugees and workers off onto the Ombudsman’s office making the following recommendations:

    5.37 The committee recommends that the Immigration Ombudsman undertake independent external review of all complaints involving the conduct of Australian funded staff or contractors at the Regional Processing Centre, and that the government ensure that the office of the Ombudsman is adequately resourced to do so.

    5.38 The committee further recommends that the Ombudsman report to parliament on an annual basis on the number and nature of the complaints received and the outcomes of the Ombudsman’s assessment of them.

    The Ombudsman’s power is limited to recommend, it is the minister and the executive that enter into the contracts with Transfield Services and Wilson Security.

    Ian Curr
    October 2015


  6. Australia secretly flies pregnant refugee out of country before hearing says:

    Government uses chartered flight to get Somalian woman, who asked for an abortion after being raped, out of Australia as an injunction application is made.

    The federal government has secretly flown a pregnant refugee out of Australia to escape a court injunction, chartering a jet to fly her back to Nauru and the detention centre where she was raped.

    In an extraordinary effort that appears to be an attempt escape the reach of Australian courts, the government on Friday swiftly moved the 23-year-old Somalian, who is pregnant as a result of being raped on Nauru, from Villawood detention centre in Sydney.

    The woman, known under the pseudonym Abyan, was raped by an unknown assailant in July.

    Since her pregnancy has become known, she had been pleading with Australian authorities for weeks to be brought to Australia to terminate the pregnancy.

    Because of restrictive abortion laws in Nauru and Papua New Guinea, there was nowhere in Australia’s offshore detention network where she could have the termination.

    Abyan was brought to Australia on Sunday evening, and held at Villawood detention centre. She told friends and advocates she feared being sent back to Nauru.

    “I cannot go back to where this happened to me; I cannot go to where I was raped. What happened to me there [in Nauru] is what caused me to run away from Somalia. What happened to me in Somalia is what happened to me there [in Nauru],” Abyan said.

    Abyan had a medical appointment scheduled on Thursday, which she declined to attend, sources have told the Guardian.

    The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is understood to have taken her non-attendance as refusing to have the termination.

    However, advocates assisting Abyan say this is not true. They say she was only asking for more time to decide, and had asked repeatedly to see a counsellor, a request the Guardian understands, was not granted.

    On Friday, department officials began making preparations to forcibly remove her from Australia.

    Special counsel for Shine Lawyers George Newhouse, who is acting for Abyan, wrote to senior officials at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection on Friday before Abyan was removed from the country.
    Return asylum seekers to offshore detention ‘as soon as possible’, officials urged

    “Our client has not decided to refuse a termination and you have completely misunderstood or misconstrued her position which is as set out in my letter … of 14 October 2015,” he wrote.

    “Our client has the right to counselling before a termination and to understand the procedure, that is all we have been seeking and to represent her position as a refusal is disingenuous and cruel.”

    In the letter, Newhouse requested he be allowed to speak to his client – as afforded by Australian law and the 1951 Refugees Convention – before she was removed. He was not allowed to speak with her.

    Hearing that Abyan was being moved, her lawyers sought an injunction against her removal in the federal court before Justice Jacqueline Gleeson.

    But in court, they were told that Abyan was already out of the country, and had been flown by chartered jet to the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara. The government was planning to return her to Nauru on Friday night.

    It appears the government chartered a RAAF 737 to make the flight to Nauru.

    Newhouse said the government’s strategy in forcibly removing Abyan was aimed “at avoiding due process and any scrutiny”.

    “The conduct of the Commonwealth in effectively abducting our client before we could speak to her or bring the matter to the court is astounding. I don’t think there’s been a case like it since the Petrov Affair.”

    In acting for Abyan, Shine Lawyers took advice from leading women’s psychiatrists and obstetricians, Newhouse said.

    “And our correspondence with the Commonwealth has been based on that. All we ask the Commonwealth to do, all we have been asking for is what any woman in this country would expect, and that is to be fit for the operation, to be counselled about the sexual assault and the pregnancy and to understand the operation so that she could give fully informed consent.”

    Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition with with Abyan in Villawood this week. He says he was shocked to discover she had been spirited out of the country.

    “This is staggering beyond belief that they would act so deliberately to remove her from the court’s jurisdiction: they have flown her to Honiara to ensure they could be no court decision. Having recognised their mistake in the first place, and brought her to Australia, the government has gone to extraordinary lengths to deny her fundamental rights that would been afforded to any woman in Australia.”

    Rintoul said he feared for Abyan’s physical safety on Nauru, and for her mental health.

    “At a personal level, Abyan has already suffered enormous mental anguish, over the rape, and over her situation. I have at a personal level, serious fears for her health and her mental health They have placed her back in the most extreme desperate personal circumstances, with no concern for her wellbeing on Nauru.”

    Repeated requests for information on Abyan’s case from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, and from the minister’s office, received no response.

    On Thursday, the immigration minister, Peter Dutton, said there was a “racket” among refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru seeking to come to Australia for medical care, so they could then demand their asylum claims be processed in Australia.
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    “The racket that’s been going on here is that people, at the margins, come to Australia from Nauru, the government’s then injuncted, we can’t send them back to Nauru and there are over 200 people in that category.

    “Now, as I say, we want to provide support to the Nauruans. We want to provide a safe environment, a humane environment for people, but we aren’t going to be taken for mugs.”

    Dutton cited Australian financial support for healthcare in Nauru – including $11m for a medical centre inside the detention centre, and $26m towards the refurbishment of Nauru’s hospital.

    Pamela Curr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said Abyan was being returned to danger.

    “This is extraordinary and it is appalling that she’s going back to a place where she was raped. She is being forced back into the Community, at the same risk she was at before.

    “She is now being forced to have a baby that she may not want. In a country where it is not safe, where there is a rapist that knows it is his child. She is not safe.”

    Curr said the government, and the immigration department in particular, was “waging war on women”

    “They have used force to put this person beyond the reach of Australian courts.”

    No one has been charged with Abyan’s assault. She declined to go to police, telling caseworkers she feared her attacker finding out she had lodged a complaint.

  7. Nauru pregnant women need urgent help says:

    The report carried by some News Corp papers that pregnant women on Nauru “are refusing medical attention” is incorrect.

    “The truth is simply that there is no medical attention available for them on Nauru,” said Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Coalition.

    The Australian Immigration Department has made a political decision, over-riding medical advice, to order that asylum seekers will only be offered to go to PNG or to have their babies on Nauru.

    The Immigration decision, taken in August, reversed previous best-practice for asylum seekers and their families to be taken to Australia to have their babies.

    “But it is clear that Nauru is not equipped to deal with complicated births. Infant mortality on Nauru is 30 per 1000 live births compared to 4.4 in Australia. The risk is obvious.

    “One of the asylum seeker women due to give birth has a diabetic pregnancy that Nauru cannot safely manage. It that case a letter, asking for help, was sent to IHMS four months ago – but there was no answer. There will be further risks to mother and baby if a caesarean section is necessary.

    “Increasingly, it has been Immigration policy to only act when a life-threatening situation arises. But every birth is a potentially a life-threatening situation, for mother and baby. When there are complications, the risk is even higher. The onus is on the government to provide proper medical care for a safe birth.

    “If the government acts quickly, the pregnant women can be transferred to Australia on a normal commercial flight. The longer they leave it, the greater the risk becomes.

    “Comparing Nauru to regional areas of Australia is vacuous, when emergency care is only available by medivac.”

    For more information, contact Ian Rintoul mob 0417 275 713.

  8. Sexual assault survivors deserve compassion and care. Not blame says:

    Please read attached from Professor Louise Newman Professor of Women’s Mental Health University of Melbourne

    The treatment of a 23 year old pregnant rape survivor from Nauru highlights the profound lack of understanding of the psychological impact of rape and trauma. Blaming the victim – assuming that she is misusing the system to come to Australia and is not “genuine “in her request for termination does nothing to help us understand her torment and respond in a compassionate way.

    Rape is a significant psychological trauma. Pregnancy as a result of rape is always confusing for the woman who is often unclear about how to proceed and deeply troubled. We know that this young women has been distressed and withdrawn, not eating and has been suicidal. She has been asking for a termination since around 4 week’s into the pregnancy. She has not been responded to until around 14 weeks and the question of how to proceed has become even more complicated. She is still distressed and has stated that she needs time to consider her options. She requests counselling and this has not been provided. Instead she is blamed for her indecision and seen as misusing a care system.

    This response on the part of Government sets women’s rights back 50 years to a time when rape victims were dismissed, denigrated and belittled with huge social and psychological consequences. To treat any woman in this way is wrong and this is magnified when we treat a vulnerable and powerless refugee with such contempt.

    From a mental health perspective, this young woman is in urgent need of clinical assessment and care. She needs specialist sexual assault trauma counselling and time to consider her options. The decision about whether to proceed with the pregnancy is hers alone and needs to be made with full support and awareness. Discourse of her medical details and private information on the media is inappropriate.

    The risk of not providing mental health support is significant and she has already been despairing and suicidal about her situation. Blaming and shaming by Government Ministers is something we should never sanction. The prospect of becoming a parent on Nauru and let alone the difficulties of parenting a child who is a product of rape is extremely high risk and should not be ignored for some perceived greater political need.

    Compassion for rape survivors is a core Australian value. It has been hardly fought for and needs to be protected. Respect for all women regardless of their visa status is a social responsibility and standing in opposition to any violence towards women is at the heart of this issue.

    Professor Louise Newman AM
    03 8345 2070

    Pamela Curr
    Refugee and Detention Rights Advocate
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
    214 – 218 Nicholson St
    Footscray Vic 3011
    T: 03 9326 6066
    M: 0417 517 075
    F: 03 9689 1063
    ASRC is on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation

  9. Abyan's persecution in Nauru at hands of THE AUSTRALIAN says:

    Today Abyan was subjected to further cruelty, this time at the hands of an Australian Journalist who acted in a most unprofessional way towards a vulnerable woman.

    After a 5 day horror junket through two detention centres and multiple flights with (sic) any kindness or respect, Abyan had her privacy invaded in the place she shares with another woman on Nauru. I was talking to her on the phone when she said in alarm – the police are coming. She said that she could see them outside. I advised that she did not have to speak with them but tell them to speak to her lawyer.

    The call ended. She rang back a few minutes later in great distress, saying there is a journalist here and he wont go away. She then was crying out to this person whose Australian male voice I could hear in the background – no no picture – no picture by force – go away and leave me- I am sick – go away. I called out – please give him the phone and I will talk. I heard her say – talk to my friend she speaks good English and handed him the phone.

    I said ” Is that Chris Kenny?”
    He replied “Speaking”

    I said – get out of the room immediately- leave now. Kenny said words to the effect – I am talking to Abyan, we are having a conversation.

    I replied that I could hear her asking him to leave – so go now.

    Several journalists have tried to get visas to go to Nauru with their requests either ignored or denied. This Murdoch journalist clearly had no such problems and no doubt went with the permission of the Australian Government. He knew where to find Abyan and interviewed her yesterday.

    He harrassed her to the extent that she returned the detention centre overnight to escape. One point in his favor – he wrote that she confirmed that she never said that she did not want a termination.

    Today he showed up at her hut with the Nauru police in tow. They arrived together. Clearly now any confidentiality she had is gone.

    After the way Abyan was treated in Australia, arriving in Brisbane airport and having a scarf put over her head and face so that she could not see or be seen and pushed around by guards, shoved onto successive flights, not given the counselling she requested and bullied, you would think that Dutton and BorderForce would leave her alone but no- they have despatched a Murdoch journalist to further torment her.

    The War on Women in Nauru must cease. This young woman must be given the option of coming to Australia for medical care and promised that she will be treated with respect and dignity not this unceasing cruelty.
    I dread to think what lies are being concocted to denigrate this woman

    Pamela Curr

    Pamela Curr
    Refugee and Detention Rights Advocate
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
    214 – 218 Nicholson St
    Footscray Vic 3011
    T: 03 9326 6066
    M: 0417 517 075
    F: 03 9689 1063
    ASRC is on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation

  10. Correction and Clarification on previous post concerning Chris Kenny in Nauru says:

    I would like to correct the record of events concerning my recent posting about Chris Kenny on Nauru.

    I have established through conversations with the women at Ijuwe camp that Mr Kenny was not inside the room where Abyan and her roommate lived but was at the door in the breezeway which was common space for the six rooms which opened onto it.

    The confusion arose when Mr Kenny approached Abyan a second time for an interview and she became distressed and rang me. She said to me – words to the effect – the journalist is here and he won’t go away. I heard clearly what was taking place as Abyan told him to leave, to go away and that she was sick.

    I asked Abyan to pass her phone to him and I heard her say- talk to my friend – she speaks good English.

    I asked if he was Chris Kenny – he answered – “speaking”.

    I told him to leave the room.
    He did not say that he was not in the room.
    He replied that he was talking to Abyan.

    I said that I could hear and that she was clearly asking him to leave.
    I added – If you do not leave I will tweet this to Australia so that everyone knows what you are doing here.

    He hung up.

    I had to speak at a school in minutes but was concerned at how I could protect Abyan from so far away.

    I was not lying but I accept now that Mr Kenny was not inside the room, however he was on the doorstep and within the space that Abyan was entitled to call her space and to choose who stood on her doorstep asking her questions.

    I apologise to Mr Kenny for any embarrassment he may have received, if people reading my original story, are thinking that Mr Kenny forced his way into Abyan’s hut.

    Pamela Curr

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