Consent is not a ‘romance killer’. The mistake of fact defence for rape needs to go

Jonathan Crowe

Research output: Contribution to journalOnline ResourceProfessional


In July 2005, a 13-year-old girl was asleep in her home in Queensland. A 21-year-old friend of her stepbrother was staying the night. At some point during the night, he entered the girl’s bedroom while she was asleep. He took off the covers, pulled down his pants and raped her, while she tried unsuccessfully to push him off.

After this incident, the girl started sleeping with a metal pole in her bed for protection. When the same thing happened again, she tried to grab the pole to defend herself, but couldn’t reach it, as her hands were pinned behind her. So she kneed her assailant in the gut.

Spain to introduce ‘yes means yes’ sexual consent law
Read more
After the fourth incident of this kind, the girl told a guidance counsellor. Her assailant was placed on trial for rape. His defence was that the girl had consented to have sex with him. He also argued that, even if the girl had not consented, he mistakenly believed that she had.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Guardian (Australia)
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Consent is not a ‘romance killer’. The mistake of fact defence for rape needs to go'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this