Rape survivor 'unable to find any joy'

·2-min read

A woman who was raped by two men after they found her unconscious on Melbourne's Lygon Street has told a court she feels "unable to find any joy in her days".

The woman, who cannot be named, was picked up by Harley Palise, 30, and his friend Jarrod Thomas, 26, in the early hours of a morning in June 2018.

They both raped her before dropping her home at Mernda, in the city's northeast, with her underwear around her ankles.

"I have experienced many emotions ranging from confusion and numbness, to disbelief, fear, frustration and sadness," the woman said in a statement read out to the Victorian Supreme Court on Wednesday.

"At times I have become withdrawn from friends and family. I've felt unenthusiastic, unhappy, lacking in motivation and unable to find any joy in my days.

"My life will be impacted for the foreseeable future."

The woman, in her early 30s, also said she no longer socialises in large groups and moved house as she felt unsafe living at an address known to the pair.

Thomas pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and was in 2020 jailed for a total of six years and six months.

Palise fought the same charges and claimed from the witness box that the woman had initiated sex with him once she got inside the car.

The floor sander said he was "just going with the flow".

But a jury in August found Palise guilty of two counts of rape.

And in Wednesday's pre-sentence hearing Judge Scott Johns said he was not convinced by the 30-year-old's version of events.

"The reality is ... I would take some persuading accepting your client's account of how things were initiated," Judge Johns told Palise's barrister John Kelly.

"In terms of what Mr Palise says happened in the car - I don't accept it."

Judge Johns described the woman as a "vulnerable and helpless" person.

He also said Palise did not use protection, which would have added to her humiliation.

Prosecutor John Dickie described the rape as opportunistic but brazen given there was little planning involved but a high risk of being identified.

"The physical and emotional debasement ... was abhorrent," Mr Dickie told the court.

"The men saw (the woman) as they something they could use for their own pleasure. And it is concerning that there is a degree of victim-blaming."

Mr Kelly on Wednesday said his client's offending was "opportunistic and lacking in sophistication".

Palise has been remanded in custody and is expected to be sentenced on December 16.

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