ANTI-VIOLENCE groups say the gang rape of a Bendigo mother reflects a concerning rise in attacks against women.
The case concluded this week after the County Court ruled out the possibility of re-trying two men accused of taking part in the rape in Flora Hill in January 2011.
All outstanding charges against Mohammed Saeed Elnour and Mohammed Hussain Zaoli were withdrawn. Three youths were jailed in March last year for their involvement in the rape.
Speaking out on the case yesterday, No To Violence executive officer Danny Blay said the alarming reality was that there were a growing number of sexual assaults and rape.
Mr Blay said recent trends had shown a rise in brutal attacks against women.
He said the justice system was just one part of a broader approach to tackle the issue.
"In a pragmatic sense, we don’t have a system in this country where we lock people up and throw away the key.
"To increase mandatory sentencing won’t have much of an impact. That’s not how it works."
Mr Blay said the rate of men committing crimes against women was so high that there were waiting lists for offenders to enter into behavioural change programs.
Centre Against Sexual Assault Bendigo executive officer Michael Beaumont-Connop said violence against women was a societal issue.
He said sentencing may never properly reflect community expectations on crimes such as rape, that leave life-long effects on victims.
"Rape in itself is one of the most overwhelming experiences a human being can ever suffer and we cannot expect a person to “get over it” or “deal with it”," he said.
Mr Beaumont-Connop said very few cases of rape even make it to court, with less than 20 per cent reported to police.
"Many don’t report it because of fear, shame and embarrassment to themselves even though it is never the fault of the victim. The responsibility for sexual assault and rape always lies with the perpetrator."
He said it would require a coordinated effort from organisations and the wider community to reduce violence toward women.