June, thank you for sharing.
Sat on a jury for a trial like your last year, and I can at least report a guilty verdict.
You speak the truth, and the truth is awful.
Love, strength and hope.
Thank you. That was hard to read but must have been much harder to live.
You have my deepest sympathy.
But you made me angry as well, angry at every single lawyer in New Zealand.
Our legal profession have a lot to answer for, they are so self righteous and arrogant about their system. That system is amoral. It is utterly broken, yet getting a lawyer to admit that their precious legal system is not perfect is as likely as getting a rape conviction. A pox on their houses.
It's good that you tried to get him convicted, and ghastly that it was so terrible for you. While reading this piece made me angry, it also left me admiring your courage and determined to try to change things if I get the chance.
Thanks for speaking the truth.
Arohanui June, and hugs. Thank you so much for writing about your experience. It's incredibly valuable for us to get a powerful inside glimpse of the dreadful process you've been through.
It's interesting that that this post is getting plenty of views (and 50-plus retweets on Twitter) but only a few comments. Because it's hard to know what to say. I could have posted this yesterday when June sent it to me, but I felt like I needed time to process it myself before I could do that.
It's taking me a while to think this post through . Some of things I want to say are quite political, so I don't actually want to say them here. Because that seems wrong to me.
But you made me realise that I need to acknowledge this post, and to offer my thanks to June for writing it.
Some of things I want to say are quite political, so I don’t actually want to say them here. Because that seems wrong to me.
Thats a pity, because not doing anything is also wrong.
Russel, I'm pretty sure you've published people's pieces on this subject before. I remember reading one before I made a submission to a select committee on this subject. IIRC that report has been put in the "things for the next review to consider" pile. I'd love to be wrong and hear that it's being implemented. But, you know.
And thanks June for writing that.
Given the numbers I keep finding, it seems the problem will usually be the jury has an unacknowledged abuser on it. It's their personal ability to dominate the feelings of others toward blaming the victims, something they get a lot of practice at, which either hangs or sways the jury to not guilty.
The trials are just a fig leaf over that. Maybe you get a clean jury, but probably not. Judge-only trials make a lot of sense, regardless of the atmosphere they end up with, though hopefully disparagement of the victims could occur out of sight after their testimony.
I firmly believe that pressing charges and going to court affected me more, in the long term, than the abuse itself.
My experience is different, I thought that I was a criminal, because what was going on was illegal ( gender). The real damage began when I should have been old enough to understand what was really going on. I was so dissociative, that those compartments of my life simply didn’t exist. To have those events discovered could well have been a death sentence for me, even with out the harassment you experienced in the court rooms. Ironically thou, I was pretty much dead already. But still breathing. And here I am now, openly mentioning it on the internet. But at my own pace.
Like others have said, It’s hard to know what to say. But it’s better to get it wrong than not even try.
June thank you for this-I can only guess how wretchedly awful and plain eviscerating the whole experience/s must have been. Like a number of others I find myself angry-almost shakingly so. I'm still uncomfortable at some incoherent level, (and I think it has much to do with my concerns about whether judges are necessarily better) about non-jury trials, but I do accept that there are far too many problems with the present jury system and the unacknowledged/built-in prejudices for comfort. May you get the peace of mind you deserve June.
Thanks June. That was so brave – and so horrible for you. And must be for many many women. We have to change this mangled way of attempting to find ‘justice’. Judge-only trials would be a start. A judge could ask questions without accusations and shouting. Far too often it feels like the wrong person is put on trial.
It's interesting that that this post is getting plenty of views (and 50-plus retweets on Twitter) but only a few comments. Because it's hard to know what to say.
Thank you for doing this, June. If you ever asked yourself - 'Will writing this make any difference?" ... well, it has.
Thank you for writing this June. I just hope that writing such as yours, and the bravery of all the other women who have told their stories, such as Louise Nicholas, helps people understand the injustice of it all a bit more. Judge-only trials might be an improvement. But a deeper societal shift needs to happen to eradicate the power and control issues behind this crime,
Thank you for doing this, June. If you ever asked yourself – ’Will writing this make any difference?” … well, it has.
Oh June, I'm so so sorry you had this experience. The childhood abuse, the rape, and the dreadful court process. You are very very brave. Much braver than me. I can see why the police discouraged me from laying a complaint.
I hope you did make a difference to his access to other victims. In my experience, offenders seem to get a lot of enablers on their side even if convicted. Maybe they're in denial.
It’s interesting that that this post is getting plenty of views (and 50-plus retweets on Twitter) but only a few comments.
What can we say except we are sorry the system has failed so badly?
Our sympathy and tears are real.
But what changes?
I can see why the police discouraged me from laying a complaint.
Oh Heather, that made me cry even more.
And must be for many many women.
Just to let you know, again, this sort of thing also happens to boys. And the feelings are just as painful.
Thank you for writing this June. I just hope that writing such as yours, and the bravery of all the other women who have told their stories…
Yes i agree. Thank you June, it takes courage to talk about sexual abuse.
But what changes?
The fact that we are having discussions about this is promising.
thank you june
I wasn't going to comment on here but really wanted to acknowledge the amazing comments that have been posted – Thank you – Having a truly supportive community to play host to material like this make writing and publishing it a lot easier.
I'm also sorry to all those that have shared similar stories in the comments. My heart breaks for you and I think these are those moments where it's not so much comforting to know that you're not alone – it's gut-wrenching knowing how many people are subjected to similar abuse – something that nobody should ever have to experience – But all too many people do.
Somebody mentioned that it seems like the victim is on trial in these types of cases and that's true – It comes down to the 'innocent until proven guilty' and 'proven beyond reasonable doubt' concepts. Both of which I think are also important when it comes to our justice system. Unfortunately, in cases like these, it means that the procesuction has to provide the proof, and to do so the victim is essentially the one on trial. And it's an awful position.
What I do know is that, while the court process itself was truly awful, the entire prosecution team, from the police to the legal team, were absolutely amazing, supportive and probably more attached to the case than they should have been. I heard rumours that the detective in charge didn't stick around in the force for long, and that it was largely because of this case. I don't know if that's true. I tried my hardest to escape that part of my life and everyone in it. I almost wish I hadn't now though, I'd love to actually thank them as an adult, in person.
As I wrote in the post – Things aren't right with the way the system works for cases like this. But I don't have the answers for how to change that :/
I wish we did have the answers right now victims have 2 choices
say nothing, keep it quiet to yourself and the world and know it might happen to someone else and feel unresolved forever
say something and have it happen to you over and over again
no matter what you path you take it feels like you live with the what if.
But I don’t have the answers for how to change that
It’s a human rights issue, that requires changes to a judicial process.
It’s political – everyone gets angry and discourse is limited. Repealing section 59 was not well received, because it was a bit icky. Its going to take a renegade politician, to get the ball rolling.
What I appreciate most about your blog post, is not just that it shows how inhumane the court process can be – you also mention some of the post trauma that’s aggravated by our own communities. The judicial system is like the flagship of pathological ignorance.