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Judge Denounces Online Victim-Blaming as ‘Emotional Rape’ in Rideshare Driver Assault Case

In a recent court case, a judge strongly condemned the online mockery and victim-blaming faced by a young woman who was sexually assaulted by a rideshare driver, equating it to a form of “emotional rape.” The 19-year-old victim was attacked by Abdouslam Alsharif, a 50-year-old father-of-five, after he offered her a supposed free Uber ride outside a Collingwood nightclub. Alsharif locked the car doors and drove to a secluded area, where he committed a calculated sexual assault and rape in the car, despite her protests and attempts to stop him.

Abdouslam Alsharif

The victim, who has since undergone extensive trauma therapy, including a psychiatric hospital stay, expressed her heartbreak over losing her former self due to the assault. Adding to her distress were the hurtful online comments and a meme that blamed her for the assault. County Court Judge Liz Gaynor, in sentencing Alsharif to seven years in prison, criticized these online actions, noting they significantly exacerbated the victim’s suffering.

The court learned of Alsharif’s background, including his migration from Libya to Australia on a scholarship for a PhD in biology, which was cut off following the collapse of the Gaddafi regime. This led to financial difficulties and rideshare driving as a means of income. Despite acknowledging Alsharif’s own past trauma and financial struggles, his lawyer admitted that these issues did not excuse his criminal behavior.

Judge Gaynor highlighted the problematic sense of entitlement some men feel, leading them to commit sexual assaults as a way of coping with their personal issues. She emphasized that the real entitlement belongs to young women and all rideshare passengers: the right to a safe journey home, free from sexual predation. Alsharif is eligible for parole after serving four-and-a-half years of his sentence.

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