Vol. 19 No 4 | Summer 2017
On 3 November 2016, after a brief relationship ended, I was almost murdered and set on fire in my own home. During the assault, I was stabbed 11 times and doused in petrol before fleeing for my life.
There is much data, research and evidence on the detrimental effects of violence against women on physical, psychological and emotional health. The impact is significant, not only on patients, but also their families, healthcare workers and the broader community. It is a complex, pervasive issue that affects women across social and cultural divides and, according to research, is increasing in Australia and New Zealand.
Sexual assault is broadly defined as any sexual act carried out against the will of a person through the use of violence, coercion or intimidation. Legally, the term sexual assault refers to those cases that involve sexual penetration of the mouth, vagina or anus. Sexual assault is very common in Australia. The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ personal safety review in 2012 estimated that one-in-six women and one-in-25 men over the age of 18 have experienced a sexual assault since age 15. Rather alarmingly, the incidence of sexual assault in Australia is currently rising, with 2016 data revealing a seven-year high.