Bali sexual assault: Sisters explain why they didn't go to police

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When 20-year-old Bonnie was allegedly sexually assaulted on holiday, she didn’t go to local police or the Australian consulate straight away. Like other young Australian victims, she just wanted to return home.

Watch Bonnie and Cody's story above.

Earlier this year, two days into a birthday trip to Bali with her sister, 20-year-old Bonnie says she was sexually assaulted in her room by a hotel staff member.

CCTV footage provided by the 7 Rooms Seminyak hotel shows Bonnie and her sister, Cody, drinking and playing Jenga with staff members in the hotel foyer.

We’ve never seen one successful police report.

Bonnie is seen leaving the foyer and waving over an employee.  When the two disappear off camera, their recollections of what happened next are very different.

While Bonnie claims she was pinned down on her bed and sexually assaulted, the hotel owner says the encounter was entirely consensual.

“There is no clear evidence about anything that can show that the girl was forced to do something she didn’t want to do … [The sisters] didn’t even go to the police.”

Back home in Melbourne, Cody tells The Feed that she and her sister did not report the incident to the Indonesian police at the time because, “we were unsure what the system was like over there.” Bonnie adds, “Honestly, I didn’t really trust anything over there. It’s so different to Australia.”

Only once the sisters were back home did they contact Australian consular services.

Nickey Bright is a volunteer Team Leader at Red Frogs, a support service for young people attending schoolies on the Gold Coast and in Bali. “We find, generally speaking, the young person just wants to go home,” she tells The Feed.  

Over the past six years, Red Frogs has supported nine young Australians involved in sexual assault cases in Bali. These range from inappropriate touching to rape.

Bright says it can be really hard for young victims to know what to do. “We would always recommend that, as soon as possible you…call the Australian Consulate who can provide you with some really direct steps of the next things to do”.

Smart Traveller, an Australian Government website, suggests sexual assault victims seek medical assistance within 72 hours, and get legal advice, as well go to police.

Peter Johnson is an Australian lawyer based in Bali. He says that without witnesses and a medical report, it’s extremely hard to get enough evidence to prove a sexual assault has occurred in Indonesia.

“We’ve had a number of contacts over the years from people who have complained of sexual assaults, and, to date, we’ve never seen one successful police report.”

If you would like to talk to a counsellor about your experience of sexual assault, please contact 1800 RESPECT.  

For more information on how to report sexual assault that occurred overseas, please visit Smart Traveller.

If you have a tip-off about an incident you would like The Feed to investigate, please contact us via Facebook or Twitter