Besmirching the ‘good bloke’: rape survivor speaks out
A Victorian woman who survived years of harrowing sexual violence from her husband has spoken out on the abuse she suffered, her fight to reclaim her life and the backlash she received after she came forward and reported a “good bloke”.
Her husband, well known in their community, was found guilty in June by a jury in the County Court of nine counts of rape, two charges of assault and one count of threatening to inflict serious injury.
A County Court jury found the man guilty of nine counts of rape.Credit:Wayne Taylor
His former partner, in a victim impact statement that she read to the court on Monday, spoke of the shame and isolation that was pushed on her.
“Since I dared break the code of silence that enshrouds domestic violence, [I] faced the wrath of outing the abuser and besmirching ‘the good bloke’,” she said.
“There is no excuse for the shame that has been pushed on me for so long. The shame that society often adds to … I have to remember to lay the blame at the feet of the perpetrator. The man who was meant to love me.”
She said she lost friends and family because after she left her husband and reported him to police, his supporters perpetuated a smear campaign against her.
“I feel the effects of social shame that society holds for women like me who stayed,” she said “People think ‘why didn’t she leave’?”
The woman, who showed her face and name during the online court hearing, said the abuse, rape, coercion and violence she suffered was ongoing, persistent and consistent.
She said she was so convinced by him that what she experienced was normal – and that it was her fault – that she still found herself constantly apologising, even after leaving him in 2016.
“I apologise for just existing at times,” she said.
The woman said she had to beg to finish her degree in the medical profession amid the dozens of court hearings, hours in police stations and medical appointments.
“I am proud just to have scraped through with a pass.”
She said she was still woken by nightmares and her brain played a loop of the “vile” abuse. She said little things – phone notifications, tones of voice, her children hugging her from behind, or something touching her neck – transported her back to his abuse.
“These things that in the past signified that something bad was going to happen,” she said.
The woman said she fought every day, both for herself and her children, to become a “whole person”.
“I fight every single day to prove that I am worth something,” she said. “That I am worth love and that my love for others is worth something – even if that voice in my head tells me that I’m wrong.”
Neither the woman nor her former husband can be identified in this story, despite her wishes. After a submission from the husband, the court imposed an interim suppression order over their identities.
Judge Frank Gucciardo said the order was needed to prevent the “real or substantial risk” to safety.
Support is available from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).
Most Viewed in National
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article