Woman speaks out about sexual assault in Melbourne in the 1980s

A woman who was the subject of an evil historical sexual assault in Melbourne more than 40 years ago has spoken out and called for the offenders to be brought to justice.
Victoria police has reopened the case in the hope of getting to the bottom of the “despicable” crime.

The woman spoke at a press conference today, describing the assault as “disgusting” and that she has never forgotten any of it.

“I have three people in my head that I live with, and so does my head,” she said.

Composite images of two men being searched by police in connection with a brutal sexual assault carried out in Melbourne in the 1980s. (Victoria Police)

She hopes that by talking about the assault she will have “closure” and that the men will be brought to justice.

“I’ve missed my children’s birthdays, I’ve missed their weddings, I’ve missed their lives, and I do not know who I am,” she said.

She said the attack has meant she can never have relationships.

“It’s easier for me to be alone and I hate it,” she said.

On September 25, 1982, the woman – then 19 years old – was led into an apartment in Fitzroy, Melbourne, by a man known as Chris, who said he was a friend of the woman’s neighbor.

Chris told the woman that “he knew a place they could go” to watch the AFL Grand Final that aired that day.

The woman said today that she usually participated in the grand finale in person.

“I wish I had gone to football that day,” she said.

“I can not go to football anymore.”

Upon arriving at the apartment, Chris suddenly disappeared and a group of four unknown men surrounded the woman. When someone tried to sexually assault her, she protested and tried to flee.

The group then carried the woman over to a nearby window and dangled her outside, threatening to drop her to the ground if she continued to resist the assault.

She was then brought back into the lounge and sexually assaulted individually by each of the men – which she remembers as foreign accents.

After the men finished, she was able to escape out the front door and run down the stairs.

The woman told police she believed if she did not follow their demands, she would be killed.

The woman later told police that she kept eye contact with her perpetrators throughout the trial and was subsequently able to provide detailed descriptions of them.

One of the men has been described as being southern European in appearance with a sturdy build, which at the time was wearing jeans and a green Exacto t-shirt.

Another man was Caucasian in appearance, with a thin build and green eyes. He was wearing striped pajama shorts.

The couple is believed to have been in their 20s at the time and would now be in their 60s.

A composite picture of what the then 19-year-old victim looked like at the time. (Victoria Police)

Police are asking anyone with knowledge of the crimes to report, especially those who can recognize the men in the drawings or who have information about the man known as Chris.

Detectives are also appealing to the victim’s female neighbor – who lived at the now defunct 216 Rathdowne Street in Carlton – to appear.

Officers hope she may be able to help identify the man known as Chris, who described himself as the victim’s neighbor.

Detective Inspector Tracy Johnston said she “knows someone in the community” has more information about the crime.

“The victim has been living with the physical and emotional consequences of this assault for nearly 40 years. We are determined to pursue any path of investigation so we can give her the closure she deserves,” she said.

“Historically sexually abusive cases are incredibly complex, but we know that someone in the community may still be in possession of the information that might just give the police the key to providing justice.

“People’s circumstances can change over time, and this appeal may be the quick necessity to help close a terrible chapter in a person’s life.

“If you recognize one of the two men in these pictures, please contact Crime Stoppers.

“We’re also particularly keen to talk to Chris or the young woman who lived at 216 Rathdowne Street.

“No information is too small.”

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