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Saturday 23 March 2019
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Adults still suffer from childhood abuse

Senator Thompson-Ahye:

Hazel Thompson-Ahye
Hazel Thompson-Ahye

A MOTHER had dutifully obeyed a court order to send her daughter to the father, only for doctors to discover the child’s vagina and anus “had become continuous” due to abuse by the man who then fled unimpeded. Independent Senator Hazel Thompson-Ahye, a family lawyer, told this shocking story to the Senate on Wednesday night in the debate on the Sex Offenders (Amendment) Bill 2019. “She reported it to the police, once, twice and would report he still has not been arrested. He is now in the US and nobody’s looking for him.”

Thompson-Ahye related two of her clients, grown women in their forties, had asked her get them counselling for childhood sexual abuse by close relatives.

She related a case of a 16-year-old twice impregnated by her father and a four-year-old with a sexually transmitted disease.

The court had ordered the file go to the police and Director of Public Prosecutions but it did not, and the man then abused the boys in the family. Thompson-Ahye said the police and prosecutors must do their jobs because the law kicked in only if you first got a conviction.

The senator did not see the bill as a panacea for all ills of sexual offences, but still agreed with it.

She suggested curbing pornography could curb sex-abuse.

“We know what happened when we had that very popular figure with all the pornographic pictures and movies and he was allowed to leave the country.

“We know the good churchman what happened there and the zoo man. We have a history of not dealing with what we should, because we believe that only certain people should be in prisons in our country.”

Thompson-Ahye said many adults still suffer from childhood trauma.

“I met a young man with a number of offences and the history was he was abused as a child by his mother’s friend but his mother did not believe him.”

Urging more education for professionals on sex abuse, she recalled the plea of a hysterical mother.

“She said ‘This child had been abused by the coach.’” When the girl was sent for counselling however, the professional was dismissive, to Thompson Ahye’s chagrin. “So here is someone in the medical field unable to understand that a girl having consensual sex is not the same as someone girl abused by someone in a position of trust. I grow weary, but I try.”

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