FR Kevin Ryan reveals his ignorance of the cost of rape for the victim and her family in his article ‘Counting the cost of prison system’ (CL 22/9/02).
If Fr Ryan was the father of a daughter who had been raped he might have some understanding of how she had been traumatised by the rapists when they abused her body and terrified her mind.
I am the mother of a young woman who was gang raped. My daughter was 12 years young when she was abducted, tortured, raped and left for dead in a ditch. The rapists severed the nerves in her left arm. Now she cannot hold her violin. Because the criminals degraded and terrorised her, my daughter’s life has changed radically emotionally, spiritually, physically, educationally, financially.
My daughter has been to hell and back to rebuild her life, regain her confidence and self-esteem. She has battled with fear, anxiety and self-loathing. She was a high achieving scholar and musician at a Church girl’s school and could have been dux of her school and chosen any career path. Fifteen years after surviving the actions of rapist criminals, my daughter is recovering her ability to concentrate and is bravely resuming her studies. Her peers have graduated and entered high-paying positions in professions.
Fr Kevin Ryan’s article should read, ‘Counting the cost of the crime – make the criminals pay’. He has ignored the horrendous emotion and economic costs to the victim and her family.
Years of living with the affects of rape on my daughter have exhausted me. I have not been able to focus on full-time work in my profession. We have subsisted on government relief. We have lost earnings far in excess of the $20,000 per annum that the government spends to educate, feed, clothe, and house a rapist in prison.
Rebuilding our lives will take forever. Our family life has been fractured. My daughter’s father couldn’t accept that some men attack and rape females. He became physically violent and we had to escape his anger and abuse.
Rape is not about sex. Rape is a crime of power over another whom rapists believe are inferior to them. Men rape to degrade and humiliate women and girls. I felt like killing the men who raped my daughter. We all have choices in life and I made a choice not to act on my violent feelings towards the rapists.
Fortunately many men choose not to attack and rape women. Some men have established programs to educate other men against committing these crimes. However, men do not have healthy role models when Church leaders like Fr Kevin Ryan write insensitive, ignorant, biased articles that downplay the hideous costs of this crime to women and girls.
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