Dec 1 2010
The Sydney gang rapes were a series of gang rape attacks committed by a group of up to fourteen Lebanese Australian MUSLIM men led by Bilal Skaf against European Australian women and teenage girls, as young as 14.
NEWS AU– SALLY does not mince her words. Ten years after a group of 14 young males gang raped her in a horrific six-hour ordeal she still wishes they were dead.
Sally, now 29, was one of at least six victims who fell prey to the evil gang of Bilal Skaf, which terrorised western Sydney in August of the year 2000, gang raping young women in what turned out to be racist attacks.
Their victims were lured from trains, shopping centres and public places. The attacks were calculated and well planned and involved up to 14 males, aged 13 to 18 years, all of Lebanese origin. As well as being raped, Sally was subjected to racist taunts, she was called an “Aussie pig”, told she was going to get it “Leb style” and asked if “Leb c*** tasted better than Aussie c***”.
The crimes — described as ethnically motivated hate crimes by officials and commentators, saw the passing of new laws, and the sentencing of “more than 240 years” of jail time to the nine men convicted of the gang rapes. In court transcripts, Judge Michael Finnane described the rapes as events “you hear about or read about only in the context of wartime atrocities.”
August 12: A 16-year-old girl was brought to Gosling Park, Greenacre by who she believed was her friend, 17-year-old Mohammed Skaf. At the park she was raped by Mohammed’s brother Bilal Skaf, and one other man, with twelve other men present who she said were “standing around, laughing and talking in their own language”. The second man held a gun to her head and kicked her in the stomach, before she was able to escape.
August 30: Another woman was was taken to three separate locations by the men, raped 25 times by a total of fourteen men, in an ordeal that lasted six hours. After the attacks the woman was hosed down with a fire hose. The woman, who was known during the trial as ‘C’ to protect her identity, later told her story to 60 Minutes. She told of how the attackers called her an “Aussie Pig”, asked her if “Leb cock tasted better than Aussie cock” and explained to her that she would now be raped “Leb-style”.
September 4: Two women, both 16, were taken by the attackers from Beverly Hills train station to a house in another suburb, where three men repeatedly raped them over a period of five hours. One of the victims was told that “You deserve it because you’re an Australian”.
Further attempted attacks: Four of the attackers were also convicted for an attack on Friday 4 August 2000 when they approached a fourteen-year-old girl on a train where she was threatened with violence, punched twice and slapped, told that she would be forced to perform fellatio on several men and that she was going to be raped.
It has been a long road to recovery for the victims but most of them have triumphed. Of the 11 young men convicted of attacking them, all but one remain in jail. One was released on parole three years ago and another, who was released on parole in May last year, had his parole revoked in March after failing drug tests.
But, for the victims, life is best lived without giving any of the men much thought. Some would prefer not to talk about it at all. At least two are now married with young children. One of them, who spent several years living overseas, says that era has now been erased from her life and she has so much to look forward to with her family and children that she does not look backwards.
Others say they have even forgiven her attackers. Sally will never do that. She says there is “no way” she would ever forgive any of the 14 who defiled her on the evening of August 30, 2000. She is not one of those capable of such extraordinary forgiveness.
But she doesn’t need to be. After an ordeal through the courts which dragged on for seven years and which saw two of her alleged attackers granted retrials and one ultimately found not guilty, she has emerged stronger and more determined.
It wasn’t an easy road to travel. The ongoing court cases badly affected her study, she was scared to go out and she was locking herself away in the house.
She remembers the exact moment when she decided that the men who raped her would not break her spirit. It was the day she was meant to go back to court to give evidence in the retrial of one of her alleged attackers. She did not want to do it. She had been in court several times and it had been a harrowing experience. She didn’t want to go back there. It was too draining, emotionally and physically.
Sally remains tough and determined. She now has a job which she loves and she is able to catch a train again. Sally was lured from a train to her fate and for a long time found it difficult to get on a train.