- Ashleigh Rae Cooper is one of the first Survivors of sexual violence gagged by amendments made to the Judicial Proceedings and Reports Act to obtain a court order granting her the right to speak out under her real name
- Ashleigh’s perpetrator, Michael Johnson 33 of Kilsyth, Victoria, began grooming and raping her when she was just 13 years old
- Despite Mr. Johnson being sentenced in May 2020, he will not spend a single night in jail while Ashleigh faced penalties of up to four months imprisonment and hefty fines for speaking out under her real name
Mere months after his sentencing, Mr. Johnson was successfully exempted from the Sex Offenders Registry in Victoria under recent changes to the Sex Offender Registry Act 2017, giving certain perpetrators the means to be struck off the register, while simultaneously Ashleigh discovered she had been criminalized and silenced by the courts under amendments to the Judicial Proceedings and Reports Act.
Frustrated by the lack of transparency, accountability and responsibility through the justice system, Ashleigh turned to the #LetUsSpeak campaign lead by Nina Funnell in partnership with Marque Lawyers, RASARA, and End Rape on Campus Australia for help, and is proud to share her story with the Australian public and is calling for swift, radical changes to the way in which law and justice are structured and delivered in Victoria.
Please note: In order to publish any parts of Ashleigh’s story, written consent is legally required from Ashleigh.