An open letter to Judge Rackemann

Dear Judge Rackemann

I refer to a case you presided on recently in Ipswich. In this particular case, a ‘father’ (I use this term loosely – this man surely does not deserve that title) had raped his nine year old daughter on a continual basis. These despicable acts are beyond any doubt because the man filmed the acts for the purpose of producing child exploitation material. The report in the newspaper quoted you as saying that the sentence may have been harsher had violence been involved.

Judge, I understand that you will have presided over a lot of awful cases in your work, and the Australian community appreciates the work of our judicial system. But perhaps the continual exposure to cases such as this has de-sensitized you to some degree? Or perhaps the explanation is that it is ‘legal speak’, but whatever the reason, I felt impelled to tell you how deeply offensive and indeed, horrifying it was to read the implication that there could be any possible disassociation of rape and violence.

I believe I speak for millions of Australians when I say that all rape is violent. Any child being used in a pornographic way is violent.

In fact, many sexual abuse victims turn to self-harm (violence against themselves) in order to physically feel the pain that they are experiencing inside.

The extremely dangerous message that the reporting of your words gave, however it was intended, potentially sends the message that there are times when rape is not violent.

Rape is always violating the victim. Non-violent rape is a myth.

Yours sincerely

Wendy Francis


Dear reader, the perpetrator in this case has been given 7 years jail, but is expected to be released in 2.5 years. This is despite the psychologist assessing him as having a moderate risk of reoffending. And we have subsequently established that his young daughter was 7 years old at the time of the offence. I have read the judgement on this case and the details are unspeakable.