Brittany Higgins Shares Statement On Bruce Lehrmann Trial Decision: ‘It Is Now Time To Heal’

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses rape.

Brittany Higgins has shared a statement to the public summarising her thoughts and feelings towards the historic result of Bruce Lehrmann‘s defamation trial against Network 10, where Justice Michael Lee decided that on a balance of probabilities Lehrmann had raped Higgins in 2019.

Five days after the decision from Lee, Brittany Higgins made a public statement on the result of the case on her Instagram Story. She has said she is thankful for the result, as it means she can move forward and her “time to heal” has begun.

“I was raped. No judgment was ever going to change this truth,” began Higgins’s statement.

“I lived with the shame, humiliation, and fear of what telling my story would mean for my life and career, like so many other victim survivors. I was scared I wouldn’t be believed or supported.”

Higgins went on to highlight that the poor working environment in Parliament House meant she felt she wasn’t supported, and how the decades of women being mistreated there led her to share her story with The Project and other news outlets.

She also shared her devastation at the voice that was given to Bruce Lehrmann in the wake of her allegations.

“I was devastated that a rapist was given a nationwide platform to maintain his lies about what happened,” she wrote.

In his decision, Justice Lee said Lehrmann told “deliberate lies” throughout his criminal and civil trials, as well as in interviews with Channel Seven’s Spotlight. Higgins said she hopes these media outlets “reflect” on their choice to platform Lehrmann (and also pay for his rent and other alleged things), and thanked the judge for his “trauma informed approach”.

“In doing so, I hope he has set a new precedent for how courts consider the testimonies of victim survivors of sexual assault,” Higgins stated.

However, Higgins did not agree with all of Lee’s judgement. The judge notably spent a fair chunk of time grilling Lehrmann for his behaviour in and out of court, but he also gave some criticism to Higgins and Lisa Wilkinson too.

Lee pointed out that the inconsistencies in Higgins’ story that she told Network 10 actually made it more difficult for the truth to be found, as the narrative became about how Higgins was critical of the appalling work environment in Parliament, which Higgins encouraged by telling “untruths.”

“When closely analysed, Ms Higgins’ out-of-court representations in 2019 are of a different character than those out-of-court representations from 2021 and in court thereafter,” said Lee in his decision.

In her statement on Instagram, Higgins said that: “While I do not agree with all of Justice Lee’s findings, I do respect his observations about the many people scarred and damaged in the aftermath of my rape.”

Higgins apologised to the political figures who got caught in the case, such as Senator Reynolds and Fiona Brown, and said she hoped they could settle their differences.

Finally, she thanked her family and friends for their support and gave her statement a powerful emotional conclusion.

“I was 24 when I was raped in Parliament House. It has been five years of criminal and civil trials and government inquiries for the truth to finally be heard,” she wrote.

“It is now time to heal.”

Lehrmann took Network 10 and Lisa Wilkinson to the Federal Court for defamation, after he believed he suffered damage to his reputation from an interview aired on The Project where Higgins detailed the sexual assault she was victim to in Parliament House in 2019. Lehmann alleged he was clearly identified by the segment, despite not being named, and has always denied Higgins’ allegations.

The result of the five-week-long civil lawsuit took four months for Lee to decide upon, and then another two-and-a-half hours for him to deliver in the Federal Court, due to the incredibly complex nature of the case before him. However, he ultimately made the decision that Wilkinson’s truth defence was correct, and that Higgins was raped by Lehrmann.

This result was a massive win for Wilkinson and Network 10 and was widely celebrated in the media.

However, for Brittany Higgins it created an unusual circumstance where her allegations were deemed truthful, and yet her abuser was allowed to walk free due to the case not being a criminal trial.

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