‘Time to heal’: Higgins breaks silence on Lehrmann case

"I was raped - no judgement was ever going to change this truth," Brittany Higgins says.

"I was raped - no judgement was ever going to change this truth," Brittany Higgins says. Photo: AAP

Brittany Higgins has released her first statement since Bruce Lehrmann lost his defamation trial, saying it was “time to heal” and extending an olive branch to her former boss Senator Linda Reynolds.

Posting to social media on Saturday, Higgins thanked Justice Lee for his “trauma-informed approach” to the civil case, although she did not agree with all of his findings.

In her statement, Higgins said: “I was 24 when I was raped in Parliament House.

“It has been five years of criminal and civil trials and government inquiries for the truth to be finally heard.

“It is now time to heal.”

Justice Michael Lee found on the balance of probabilities Lehrmann raped her in then-defence minister Reynolds’ office in March 2019.

In his findings last week, Justice Lee found Lehrmann was so “hell-bent” on having sex with Higgins that he was indifferent to her consent.

Justice Lee told the Federal Court “Mr Lehrmann raped Ms Higgins”.


In her statement, Higgins said: “I was raped. No judgment was ever going to change this truth.

“I lived with the shame, humiliation, and fear of what telling my story would mean for my life and career, like so many other victim survivors.

“I was scared I wouldn’t be believed or supported.”

Higgins said there had been a “toxic culture” in Parliament House and for decades women had not been heard.

“There was no safe space for them to speak up or raise serious complaints,” she said.

“I felt compelled to tell my story.”

Brittany Higgins released a statement on social media.

Higgins ‘sorry’

Higgins also expressed sympathy towards her former boss Reynolds and former chief of staff Fiona Brown.

Reynolds has launched defamation proceedings against Higgins and her fiancé David Sharaz over social media comments made about her.

“Senator Reynolds and Fiona Brown have also been hurt and for that I am also sorry,” said Higgins.

“My perceptions and feelings about what happened in the days and weeks after my rape are different from theirs. I deeply regret we have not yet found common ground.

“I hope we can resolve our differences with a better understanding of each other’s experience.”

Higgins called out Channel Seven for giving her rapist a “nationwide platform to maintain his lies” on the Spotlight program, and said she was “devastated” by that decision.

“I trust that those who contributed in any way to the program will reflect on their decision,” she stated.

The former political staffer thanked her family, friends and supporters.

“I want to particularly point out my family, who have been such an incredible support.,” said Higgins.

“They’ve been so strong, faced a seemingly unrelenting barrage of hate and have consistently held me together at times when I thought I would fall apart.”

Lehrmann sued Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson for defamation over a February 2021 interview with Higgins that aired on The Project and contained the rape allegations.

But Justice Lee ruled against Lehrmann and in favour of Ten and Ms Wilkinson after the broadcaster succeeded in its truth defence that the rape most likely did take place.

A criminal trial against Lehrmann was abandoned in 2022 with no findings made against him.

“Having escaped the lions’ den, Lehrmann made the mistake of going back for his hat,” Justice Lee said.

The case will soon be back before the courts to determine the issue of legal costs.

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beyondblue 1300 22 4636

-with AAP

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