Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

The judge tells me

It took me until I was aged 24 to go to the police and give a statement about abuse I'd suffered aged 10 and 11. It took me 13 years of guilt and shame to realise it wasn't me who should be feeling either. It should have been him.

When I bundled myself in clothes each day for school, scared that someone may notice my body in the same way that he had, he was building a new life. A new life that would later protect him from facing a custodial sentence for the crimes he committed. My eldest sisters now ex fiancé had been part of our family for 6 years and was loved by all of us. I trusted him - so when he restrained me by holding me so tight I couldn't break free (no matter how hard I tried) I believed him when he told me he had just wanted a hug. I believed him when he told me I was the one being "mean" for fighting back as he forced me to maturbate him. I believed him when he told me my parents would be annoyed with me if they found out.

When he woke me up, aged 11, in the middle of the night and asked to come into my bed for a "hug" I said no. Saying no didn't stop him. He plead guilty the day of the trial to coming into my room on this occasion. He plead guilty to chasing me between two rooms as I tried to escape him by pushing a toy chest against my door. He plead guilty to grinding his penis against me whilst touching my vagina and nipples. He plead guilty to once again holding me down and forcing me to maturbate him. He plead guilty.

Tonight he walks free - with a mere £500 fine and some community service. Because he has a family the judge tells me, a mortgage, a company, a life. The judge tells me that the stigma of being a convicted paedophile and the stress of awaiting trial is punishment enough. The judge tells me he is otherwise a man of "good character".

For years if I felt someone's hand when it was slightly moist (from heat or having washed them) it would trigger panic attacks. Flash backs of the feeling of his sweating hands all over my body. I self harmed through my teenage years to cope and have been left scarred. I always felt too ashamed and guilty to really talk about what had happened. The shame and guilt that I have lived with for years certainly felt like a punishment. The shame and guilt he has to feel now as a convicted paedophile is punishment enough the judge tells me.

I feel utterly broken.


We do NOT give permission for posts published as personal experiences to be reproduced, translated or otherwise published elsewhere. We will not contact people who submit their personal experiences on behalf of journalists, bloggers or other third sector organisations. These testimonies remain the intellectual copyright of their authors and must be treated with the ethical guidelines used by academics for research involving human subjects. Our full guidelines can be read here.

Comments are currently closed.

6 thoughts on “The judge tells me

  • Admin says:

    I’m so very sorry the judge failed to recognise the serious of the sexual assault you experienced.

    If you are in the UK, there is a way to challenge a sentence as “unduly lenient”. If you would like to do this, we can fill in all the paperwork for you and report it to the Attorney General for review. We can also report the judge to the Judicial Review board on your behalf. If you would like to discuss the process, please email us at [email protected].

  • Tracy says:

    I am so sorry you had to go through this abuse as a child and that your abuser has gotten off so lightly.
    None of this was or is your fault & I am so sorry the courts have failed you. It angers me that despite a guilty plea, your abuser’s quality of life is apparently more important to the court than yours.

    I wish you strength, love & healing for the future.

  • H says:

    I am utterly outraged for you. Our judicial system is in need of a serious overhaul as currently, it is endorsing crimes of this nature and protecting the wrong people. I too about 18 months ago brought a paedophile to court only to have him leave with a not-guilty verdict. Free to harm another life if not already doing so. Slightly different situation but nonetheless a catastrophic verdict so I empathise with you. I have not heard of this ‘unduly lenient’ process but would explore this if you have the energy right now. Wishing you much love xxx

  • Anon says:

    This is outrageous. You can make a formal complaint against the judge by requesting the transcript if I his summing up and asking for a judicial review. He should not be allowed to sit on these cases. My thoughts are with you. Xxx

  • Carly says:

    Thank you for the support and kind words. You are right there is a major problem with our justice system. I’m so disgusted that there is ever a circumstance in which a grown man can sexually assault and force himself on a child without receiving atleast some kind of custodial sentence. How can you ever sexually abuse a child and not go to prison? What message does that send about how seriously this crime is taken? It felt as if they wanted to excuse his actions. Saying things like “oh the incident would only have lasted around 40 minutes to an hour tops” . Like keeping the trauma under an hour makes it okay somehow.

    I would be so grateful for any advise or help you can offer Louise. I want things to change,I want the law to change, I feel like people need to know how we are letting these abusers continue to win. I wish I knew how to help change it.

  • Emily says:

    Please sign this petition and share it to introduce a mandatory custodial sentence for sexual abuse of a minor.