Rape victim 'failed by justice system'
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I was sexually abused from when I was 9 years old to when I was 16, by my first cousin.
I was also raped in a park by two men I wasn't able to identify when I was 11. I did not report this, however I eventually reported my cousin, with encouragement from a family member.
When this came to light - I was ever so fearful, thus ever so reluctant - I was put through two years of repeating my story over and over to make sure it matched up every time, before going to court. There was no referral to victim support.
In court, I was interrogated, belittled and scolded. Nothing was in my favour. Absolutely nothing. This is why hardly any rape cases are brought forward.
What was the end result? He got 200 hours, which I believe to have been decreased, for assault. He had attacked me in front of people and this was verified by witnesses, but because the sexual violence didn't have any first hand spectators it lacked evidence and he received no punishment as such for that.
It's a rarity that the accomplice would commit such a treachery in the presence of others. Almost every rape/sexual violence victim does not have such evidence and therefore what he or she says is considered lacking credibility. It's sickening. It's not fair.
The process is very harsh. The whole two years was so draining, it's not worth it. They need to take victims into account more.
It's necessary to make people aware of exactly why they can't expect physical evidence in these cases, when people expect it to be there. Their idea of whether there's reasonable doubt differs. We need changes in the justice system and changes in social perceptions to get effective results.
The justice system failed me. It has failed a myriad of victims and needs to be taken seriously.
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