Brittany Higgins has hit back at veteran radio host Jeremy Cordeaux for saying she should ‘have her bottom smacked’ for being a ‘silly little girl who got drunk’ before allegedly being raped in Parliament House.
Ms Higgins said FIVEaa and Nova Entertainment’s decision to sack Mr Cordeaux was a win for women across the country who had been sexually assaulted.
‘I’m grateful to Nova Entertainment Australia and FiveAA and for standing up for the one in five Australian women who will experience sexual assault in their lifetime,’ she said on Twitter on Monday.
‘I politely disagree Mr Cordeaux. No, I do not deserve to have my “bottom smacked”.’
Brittany Higgins speaking at the March 4 Justice rally in Canberra on Monday afternoon
Ms Higgins said the comments would discourage other sexual assault victims from coming forward.
‘This rhetoric isn’t helpful especially given the cultural reckoning about consent that is taking place across the country,’ she said.
‘Instead of seeking to modify the behaviour of victims, let’s try to address how we can deter perpetrators of sexual crimes.’
Mr Cordeaux, Adelaide’s longest-serving radio host, stood by his controversial comments on Monday despite sparking wide-spread criticism.
‘It’s basically what I would say to my own daughter, which is … men, and even some men that you know, are predators,’ he told Adelaide Now.
‘You know, you have to live your life in such a way as to be self-protective, women in particular.’
Veteran radio presenter Jeremy Cordeaux (pictured) has been fired for taking aim at rape accuser Brittany Higgins
Mr Cordeaux, 75, had told his listeners at 6.26am on Saturday that Prime Minister Scott Morrison should publicly refute allegations Ms Higgins was raped by a colleague in Linda Reynolds’ Parliament House office after a night out in March 2019.
‘I just ask myself why the Prime Minister doesn’t call it out for what it is – a silly little girl who got drunk,’ he said.
‘If this girl has been raped, why hasn’t the guy who raped her been arrested?’
The Australian Federal Police launched a formal investigation into the alleged rape after the former Liberal staffer went public with the allegations last month.
Mr Cordeaux has made headlines in recent years due to a range of drink-driving charges
Mr Cordeaux, who has made headlines in recent years due to a range of drink-driving charges, slammed Ms Higgins for her alcohol consumption and questioned why the pair were allowed in to Ms Reynolds’ office at 2am.
‘Security, you know, should never have let these two into the minister’s office at two o’clock in the morning. Never,’ he said.
‘The Defence Minister. Can you imagine security taking someone who was obviously drunk, so drunk I think that the young lady, during the week on television, said she couldn’t get her shoes on.
Brittany Higgins, then 24, has alleged she was raped by a colleague inside Parliament House in March 2019
Nikola Anderson, the security guard who let the pair into Parliament House in 2019, told Four Corners last Monday that people with active passes to the building are allowed in at all hours, whether they are intoxicated or not.
FiveAA breakfast host David Penberthy announced on Monday that Mr Cordeaux’s contract had been ‘terminated’.
He read a statement on air apologising to Ms Higgins and immediately withdrew the comments.
‘Mr Cordeaux’s employment has been terminated and FiveAA and Nova Entertainment have immediately taken broader action to ensure this can never happen again,’ he said.
‘The views expressed by Jeremy Cordeaux do not reflect those held by FiveAA and Nova Entertainment and we unequivocally withdraw them.’
Mr Morrison (pictured) said on Tuesday that he was ‘shocked and stunned’ by Ms Higgins’ allegations
Former Labor Minister Kate Ellis said Mr Cordeaux’s comments were ‘nasty’.
‘This sort of garbage is one of the reasons so few survivors of sexual assault ever speak up and it is the kind of victim blaming that belongs in centuries past,’ she said.
‘I don’t want to hear these ignorant, incorrect and mean comments anywhere in our community, let alone broadcast on our radio stations. Frankly I don’t see how he can keep his job.’
Several women have since come forward to allege they were assaulted by the same man since Ms Higgins went public with her claims in February and has since made a a formal complaint to Australian Federal Police.
The prime minister said Senator Linda Reynolds (pictured) was frustrated over suggestions she did not give enough support to Ms Higgins at the time of the incident
The allegations prompted a former intern to share intimate details about her experiences with the man on a couch in the office of a Nationals senator at Parliament House in 2014.
While she says their encounters were consensual, she claims she felt ‘pressured’ to have sex with him on other occasions.
‘Nothing ‘rapey’ happened. But that makes me feel really ill. I feel like he wanted to [take me there] because he wanted to show off his power. He was obviously much more important than I was,’ the woman told news.com.au.