A judge said he took into account the significant, deep and lasting impact on a victim of rape when sentencing the perpetrator of the crime.
A 47-year-old Ballarat man, who cannot be named to protect the victim's identity, was sentenced to five years' imprisonment with a minimum period of two years and six months at the County Court on Thursday.
He was found guilty of raping his partner in 2014 by continuing to have sex with her after she had told him to stop and only stopping when she hit him to the chest.
The victim report the rape to police in 2017 after her father died.
She told the court when reading her victim impact statement on Monday it took her a long-time to build the confidence to make the report as she did not feel believed when she disclosed to friends and her pastor.
The victim said she had suffered flashbacks and mental scarring and felt broken and angry. She lost friends through the court process and connection to her church.
The court heard the victim was the perpetrators first girlfriend.
Judge Michael Cahill said he had read letters from the man's family and former employees who described him as reliable, hard working, honest and caring.
He said he accepted an assessment that he was a low risk of reoffending and the offence was a low level example of rape, as there was no violence or premeditation involved.
But he said rape was always considered a serious offence.
"You ignored your partner's request while you were have sex with her to stop and stopped only when she pushed you away," Judge Cahill said.
Judge Cahill said the sentence was moderated by the lengthy delay that caused the man stress and anxiety.
He said the man had progressed in his rehabilitation and prison was onerous during COVID-19 for him as a first-time prisoner.
Judge Cahill said the man's prospects of rehabilitation were excellent, but he must denounce his conduct, punish him and deter others from committing similar crimes.
The man has already served 77 days in prison since he was found guilty.
Affected by this story? There is help available. You can phone the Ballarat Centre Against Sexual Assault, in Sebastopol, on 5320 3933, or free-call the crisis care line 24 hours on 1800 806 292. Or phone Lifeline on 13 11 14, the Blue Knot Foundation on 1300 657 380, or Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277.
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