When your abuser walks free

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Sir -

I am a woman from Derry who made allegations to police about being sexually abused. The man was found not guilty. The truth is he did sexually abuse me from when I was around six or seven years-old.

On the stand he lied over and over again.

He said he wouldn’t lift his hand to any of his children - his son is terrified of him - and that he wouldn’t touch a child inappropriately. I know of an incident involving his daughter which couldn’t be mentioned in court because it was never formally reported to police.

My family has been torn apart by what’s happened, and my abuser has walked free. I am not writing this letter for sympathy, but to make people aware that not all the facts can be given to jury in cases like these. They don’t get information which could very much change the end result.

The justice system is stacked in the defence’s favour. The jury has to be convinced beyond reasonable doubt. I have had to re-live the abuse I suffered at the hands of this man when I made the complaint to police, and again in the witness box. He did this to me and to his daughter. I just hope he doesn’t do it again.

I now have to start on a long road to getting my life together, but I do have the support of my wonderful family, who have been by my side the whole way through this and who I want to thank. I believe I will survive.

It is my abuser’s family I feel sorry for. The children have an abuser as a father, and a mother who is willing to effectively ignore this fact, although she knows it to be the truth.

From my experience in the court I now understand why so many abuse and rapes aren’t reported to police as a lot of the time the victim will have their own life and their family’s lives turned upside down and in the end the abuser walks out a free man.

Yours,

Abuse victim.