Woman reveals impact of child rape by father

A British woman repeatedly raped by her father in the 1970s while the family lived in the Illawarra has told a court how her life changed forever the day she was first molested.

The woman, who now lives in South Australia, wrote a lengthy letter to Wollongong District Court detailing the impact the man's actions had on her childhood and the ongoing pain she experienced as a result.

"You may think it was such a long time ago; I remember my youth as though it was yesterday," said the letter, read out by the woman's friend in court on Friday afternoon.

"I was told my life was normal, even though it was painful and it felt wrong."

The woman said in order to cope with the trauma of the abuse, she created a mental "box of sorrows" and began to fill it, saying it was the only way she could survive.

"I stored away the heartache and the pain," she said.

"Darkness consumed me. I started to welcome death. My innocence was taken."

The woman said living with the terrible reality of what had happened to her, which she called her "secret", had prevented her from living a full, normal life and left her yearning for a lost childhood.

An agreed statement of facts presented during the case say the man subjected the woman to ongoing sexual abuse from the age of 10, even putting her on the contraceptive pill when she was 13 so she didn't fall pregnant.

The first time he assaulted her was during a family holiday to Sussex Inlet, taking her on a boat ride to a nearby island before raping her.

At one stage during the offending period the daughter, who had recently been exposed to sex education classes at school, asked her father why he had sex with her "when he was only supposed to have sex with [her] mother".

The man replied: "The school has taught you wrong. I love you and that's the reason that I do it."

The abuse came to light in 1978, prompting the man and his wife to divorce.

A signed affidavit written by the victim at the time in support of the application said she had been abused by her father between 1972 and 1978.

The mother took her two daughters back to the UK in late 1978, leaving the man in Australia. The victim made a formal complaint to UK police in 1997. However, it appears NSW Police did not become involved in the matter until 2010, by which time the father had returned to the UK.

The man was extradited to Australia in June last year and later pleaded guilty to five counts of rape and one of buggery.

He will be sentenced on October 2.

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