'I hope this never happens to another girl': Teenage rape victim speaks

Amy was 14 when she was allegedly raped in the Geelong suburb of St Albans Park. She had no idea that bringing her alleged attackers to justice would be so difficult. At her meetings with police and lawyers she was shocked to discover what lay ahead. The challenge eventually proved too much and led to her discontinuing the trial. Now 16, Amy explains why.

After the initial shock, I knew I wanted to see justice served. But being 14 at the time I was so naive about how the legal system worked. I definitely knew it wouldn't be easy, but it turned out to be one of the most horrible and traumatic times ever.

The upcoming trial consumed my life. I could think of nothing but having to recount the most disgusting and horrific memories over and over again. It was agonising. I couldn't stand the thought of been interrogated and drilled for days on end. Not to mention the sterile and serious atmosphere where everyone wore clean-cut suits and spoke in legal terms I didn't understand.

I felt so out of place, so uncomfortable. I tried to be strong in front of all these adults, but I was on the verge of tears the majority of the time. And a courtroom is no place for a child. It was just the lawyers and me, I felt so intimidated.

I had some pretty bad days where I blamed myself for everything. After about more than a year of lawyers and police meetings it became obvious this trial could continue for years. I had my future to think about. Going into year 12 during intense, traumatic trial would have affected my mental health and could have had a negative impact on my schooling. With plenty of legal advice I decided to drop the case so I could focus on recovery and moving on with my life.

If the legal system didn't make things so hard for girls like me our society would be a much safer place.

Not enough girls come forward and tell the police about their experiences because of how pointless it seems. I hope one day very soon this changes, so what happened to me never happens to another girl. More people would know they have a chance to get the justice they deserve.

Sexual Assault Crisis Line: 1800 806 292

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This story 'I hope this never happens to another girl': Teenage rape victim speaks first appeared on The Age.