Dave Hanna was jailed for the 2017 rape of
Dave Hanna was jailed for the 2017 rape of "Emma" after a night out in Fortitude Valley.

Hanna’s victim tells of rape ordeal for first time

THE moment she opened her eyes that morning she knew something was wrong.

There were bruises on her thighs and the outfit she'd been wearing the night before lay in tatters on the floor beside her bed.

Emma* had a lot to drink the night before, but it wasn't enough to erase the hazy memory of a man lying on top of her trying to pry her thighs apart as she begged him "I don't want to".

She didn't know then, but later discovered the man who raped her in her own home, in her own bed, was Dave Hanna, the former Queensland boss of the militant construction union, the CFMEU.

Hanna was once a kingmaker - a Labor powerbroker who posed for selfies with the Premier, dictated government policy and had even ­considered a run for the Senate.

But on that autumn night in 2017, he was a stranger Emma had never met who claimed he was valiantly trying to get her home safe after she had too much to drink at a Fortitude Valley bar and lost her keys.

 

Dave Hanna was sentenced to six years in jail with parole eligibility in February 2022, after serving three years behind bars. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt
Dave Hanna was sentenced to six years in jail with parole eligibility in February 2022, after serving three years behind bars. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt

 

But the only thing she needed saving from was him.

Moments after she sent text messages to her friends pleading "please help me" and "save me", Hanna mercilessly raped the 30-year-old woman who was half his size and more than two decades his junior, taking photos and ­videos of her naked and unconscious on the bed as he sexually assaulted her.

More than two years after the horrific attack that changed her life forever, Emma is speaking publicly for the first time about her ordeal in the hope of encouraging other victims of sexual crimes to come forward and pursue justice.

While many rapes and sexual assaults go unreported, Emma, a successful health manager, said she didn't hesitate before calling police in March 2017.

"I guess my instinct just kicked in and I rang the police and my best friend," she explained.

Just two days later, police had their man. And what's more, they had the smoking gun that would see the 54-year-old locked up for six years for the horrific attack.

Hidden in the deleted media folder of Hanna's phone, police found confronting proof of what had happened to Emma - a photo of her sprawled naked on her bed, a second close-up image of her vagina and a horrific video showing him digitally penetrating the unconscious young woman.

 

“Emma”, the woman who was raped by former CFMEU boss Dave Hanna.
“Emma”, the woman who was raped by former CFMEU boss Dave Hanna.

 

"I felt so disgusted and repulsed when I found out about the (images)," she said.

"Obviously, I felt massively violated but also in some ways I felt almost relieved because it was cold hard evidence that it happened and that I wasn't conscious."

But despite that crucial ­evidence, the ordeal was only just beginning.

Far from admitting his disgraceful and predatory crime, Hanna went on to claim the entire encounter was consensual, recounting in graphic ­detail on the witness stand how Emma had wanted what he did to her.

During his trial in February this year, the jury heard Emma had been severely intoxicated when Hanna spotted her at the bar and offered to get her home safe, claiming he just wanted to "do right" by her.

When they arrived back at Emma's house, she realised she was in trouble and sent text messages to friends begging "save me" and "please help me". But it was too late.

"She was essentially helpless and at the accused's mercy and he simply did the opposite. He treated her in a degrading and humiliating way, acting without her consent," prosecutor Michael Lehane said during the trial.

Hanna's denials meant Emma had to relive the ordeal twice in court - first at a magistrates court committal hearing and then at his trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court where she spent two days on the witness stand recounting the attack for a jury. Those incriminating and private images on Hanna's phone were shown on the court viewing screens for everyone to see.

"I had to psych myself up to get through that by reminding myself that everyone on that jury has a sister or a daughter or a cousin or a friend that's about my age and, for them, it was also probably quite traumatic to see those videos," she said.

A jury unanimously found Hanna guilty of three charges of rape and one count of ­making recordings in breach of privacy.

Emma was in court for the moment Hanna went from a kingmaker to convicted rapist.

"It was amazing to hear the word guilty," she said. "I just felt so relieved."

 

Hidden in the deleted media folder of Hanna’s phone, police found confronting proof of what had happened to Emma. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
Hidden in the deleted media folder of Hanna’s phone, police found confronting proof of what had happened to Emma. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

 

Hanna was sentenced to six years in jail with parole eligibility in February 2022, after serving three years behind bars.

"I'm sure that's enough time for him to have a pretty hard think about things," Emma said. "My thoughts are with his family because they have no control over what happened or his behaviour."

Despite the court case being over, Emma says she'll always live with the emotional scars of the attack, described by prosecutors as "merciless", "degrading" and "humiliating".

"Those two years were so stressful," she said.

"I've been diagnosed with PTSD since it happened so everything that goes along with that - the nightmares, not being able to sleep, depression and anxiety.

"Some days I survived on two hours' sleep and I was ­terrified to go to bed at night because of the nightmares."

Despite the trauma, Emma says she wants other victims of sexual crimes to know that they are not alone.

"I think my biggest message to other women is that you will be believed," she said.

"There is so much support out there for victims.

"I never really thought of not reporting it as an option. I don't think I could have lived with myself not doing everything I could.

"When you think about how many people they could have done it to before and how many it could happen to in the future, I think it's really important to speak up."

*The victim's name has been changed to protect her identity.

 



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